Many of the natural events that humans consider disastrous are the same processes that gave rise to the various landscapes, oceans, and even the Earth’s atmosphere. Only when human life and property are threatened do these events become catastrophes.
Unfortunately, the news about “natural disasters” has now become the order of the day. All over the world, there are catastrophes that can be compared to the apocalypse. The scenarios we’re witnessing, although only through images or videos that we watch on television or the internet, create the idea that the poor victims affected by natural disasters suffer.
Earthquakes, violent volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis: these are just some of the violent phenomena that nature releases on our planet. The Earth, the planet on which we live, has always been characterized by the presence of flora and fauna and by the alternation of these phenomena of different intensities. Climate change and contact with celestial bodies have then corroded and made it what it is today.
But these “phenomena” or “disasters” don’t stop here because they reflect a “natural cycle” to which we as human beings cannot prevent.
“Natural hazards” and “natural disasters”, the commentary by Prof. Stephen Nelson of Tulane University
Many of the natural events that humans have seen and considered disastrous are the same processes that gave rise to the various landscapes, oceans and the Earth’s atmosphere. “There would be no natural disasters if it weren‘t for man. Without humans, these are just natural events” writes Prof. Stephen Nelson on the web page of Tulane University where he teaches. The variables for the habitability of the Earth include the volcanic activity, the density and geological processes of the Earth, the proximity of the planet to the sun and even a moon from the distance and perfect dimensions that limit the oscillation of the Earth, preventing immense fluctuations extreme weather and meteorological events.
Nelson and his “different perspective”
Nelson argues that a different perspective must be observed when assessing the risks and dangers associated with natural events occurring on Earth. The dangers of nature are natural threats that negatively affect people, while natural disasters are the effects of these dangers that threaten lives and property.
The dangers of the planet are geological processes that include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.
Meteorological hazards, on the other hand, include the threat of powerful storms and floods. Finally, biological hazards include infectious diseases and insect infestations. Other dangers may have a cosmic origin, such as impacts of asteroids and solar storms.
The risk we run as a human race is our relationship with the planet. “In areas that have historically suffered catastrophic natural disasters or areas that have geological evidence of very powerful events, men sometimes ignore the warning signs and continue to rebuild in these geographic areas. In this regard – Nelson asserts –
This is one of the things that puzzles me. Many times It can be for economic decisions and if the economic benefits outweigh the risk, we tend to ignore It“.
Nelson states that understanding risk is the first step in mitigating the effects that a natural hazard can have on lives and property.
The construction standards are another important factor to keep in mind. The improvement of structures against environmental hazards can be performed by the owners. It can be regulated by local or state authorities through building codes and could save many lives.
The residents themselves must assess their well-being and how to ensure property protection when some construction methods aren’t required even in areas prone to natural disasters. This can include hurricanes, tornadoes or frequent floods.
Nelson focuses on another factor that should be considered: geological time with respect to human life.
Many natural hazards could be ignored because they occurred long before humans started to record them. It could also be because geological evidence indicates wider time intervals between events. However, the potential for disasters is still present.
The statements of Tim Marshall, meteorologist, and engineer of Haag Engineering Co.
Examples are the construction codes used in the USA. Indeed, as stated by Tim Marshall, meteorologist and engineer of Haag Engineering Co .:
“They aren‘t designed for extreme weather events like tornadoes, because they‘re isolated events that the general population could never live during their lifetime“.
Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island has launched an ambitious reforestation project to protect the land from hurricanes and floods
On the other hand, there are those who want to protect their territory and do so by planting 750 thousand trees against natural disasters, as will happen in Puerto Rico.
Specifically, Para la Naturaleza has started work to achieve the ambitious goal of planting 750 thousand native and endemic species trees. This is in order to achieve the set objective: it is hoped that 33% of the Puerto Rican territory will be protected by 2033.
Storms and bad weather, Italy flagellate
Speaking of “natural disasters”, there are no less those which, in recent years, affect Italy. Between earthquakes, hurricanes, violent hailstorms, temperature changes and a climate that tends to look more like the tropical one, Italy is undergoing and counting damages and victims generated by the succession of these violent phenomena.
Indonesia, another natural catastrophe
Finally, let’s not forget the catastrophic scenery in Indonesia. After the violent earthquake, a terrifying tsunami destroyed Sulawesi. Apocalyptic scenes have been around the world. The number of people who lost their lives in this “natural tragedy” is about 1400. If that isn’t enough amidst the fear, dismay and the attempt to start over, there was the eruption of the volcano Soputan .
Now, there is only one question: is there a correlation with the seismic activity, the volcanic eruptions with the “ring of fire”, given the intense activity that has taken place over the last few months?
By Eleonora Boccuni
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