Hope Chile Earthquake victims find peace soon! For the record, the timing of the incident and my article are coincidence (Sure, I wish I can predict the future!). This article is the 2/3 part of Not A Complete Disaster. Click here to read the first part, Human Elements.
Wild Fires: Gradual accumulation of dead leaves, animals and waste form fuel on the forest floor. I think the thick sticky thing you feel on the ground of the rain forest is the fuel. Forest fires are actually cyclical or seasonal events if unchecked, and they burn the fuel stack ups and enrich the forest floor. On the News, they said there was a lot of fuel stacked up to burn in the recent So Cal fires, so the forests burned forever (I don’t know how fuel stacked up for long time, esp we see fires here all the time..lol). Wild fires help some type of plant seeds (example Red Woods) which germinate only at excess temperature, so that such plants do not extinct.
Hurricanes: Do you know Hurricanes help islands survive? I did not think so either. Hurricanes help widen and heighten small islands and make sure they do not disappear in the raising ocean levels. For example, Barrier Islands need hurricanes for their survival. Someone said “From a purely natural standpoint hurricanes are a blessing for islands, even though they’re a curse for people who live there”. Well, I don’t think they are a curse if hurricanes are keeping the land they live-on above the water.
Volcanoes: Volcanic eruptions are very important in providing fertiliser to the land and sea. By recycling the earth’s crust, in the longer term they maintain the quantity of it, otherwise we end up with more ocean and less land. We don’t need more Ocean, do we? The picture is from a place in Italy called Vulture (close to the town of Acerenza). Vulture area is so named after Mount Vulture Massive (1326 m.), an inactive volcano. The fertile volcanic soil is rich in minerals and allows the cultivation of excellent grapes and olives.
Flooding: Flooding can make soil more fertile and provide nutrients in which it is deficient. For example, flooding was essential for the survival of ancient communities along the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers, the Nile River, the Indus River, the Ganges and the Yellow River etc. The viability for hydrological based renewable sources of energy is higher in regions which see occasional flooding.
To sum up this section, I think natural disasters are nature’s way of recycling for its own survival.
It is important to understand that not all disasters are natural disasters. Human made disasters are as destructive, if not more than a natural disaster. I listed some of the man-made disasters below (Since human are part of nature as well, I made the title of this section self-made disasters).
|1||Wars between countries||American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost many lives and causing great suffering to many more. http://www.iraqbodycount.org reports that there are between 95,559 – 104,257 documented civilian deaths since beginning of the war. Other wars around the world also creating similar pain.|
|2||Destruction by Terrorism||The destruction caused by 9-11 WTC attacks is still in the minds of many people. Almost 3,000 people died in these attacks.|
|3||Stock Market Collapse||The Global financial meltdown, Real estate market meltdown made many jobless and homeless. Many countries went into depression.|
|4||Global Warming & Pollution||Global warming is widely agreed to be man-made (at least partly). This is causing melting of ice in north pole and raise in the ocean level. Air and water pollution is causing diseases and deaths across the globe.|
|5||Accidents||Stats from 2005 (US only) – Nearly 6.4 million accidents, 2.9 million injuries and 42,636 deaths. Financial cost – $230 Billion.|
|6||Unnecessary Killing of Wild Animals||Unnecessary killing of wild animals caused extinct of many species. This creates imbalance to the ecosystem. Fresh water dolphins (Yangtze River Dolphin) are the latest extinct animal species. These dolphins extinct due to the noise from the boats, dam construction and over fishing.|
|7||Cutting Down Forests.||Cutting down forests results in decrease in rainfall and increase in the day temperatures.|
|8||Buildings / Mines Collapse||Due to the lack of standards many buildings collapse every year, causing death, injuries and financial burden. Many people die in Mining related accidents.|
|9||Oil Spills, Chemical Agents, Radiation leaks.||Oil Spills in Oceans kill aquatic animals and can also have a long-lasting impact on the environment. Example: 58,000 gallon discharge after a freighter hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.|
|10||Smoking, Drugs, Alcohol||Around 5.4 million deaths (US alone) a year are related to tobacco usage. Addictions like these also cause diseases and financial burden.|
Are man-made disasters worse than natural disasters? Tell your opinion by posting comments.