We have seen in the past few weeks some very deadly reminders that as humans, although living on this planet, we are very much not the ones in charge.
At the end of August we saw Hurrican Harvey slam into Texas as a strong Category 4 storm. The winds were bad, but it was the biblical amount of rain that fell in the area. Houston, the fourth most populated city in the US, saw a record breaking 52 inches of rain fall in just a matter of hours. Hundreds of thousands of homes damaged or ruined, millions of people displaced and distraught.
This past two weeks the world has watched as the most powerful Atlantic basin Hurricane in recorded history, Irma, cut a path of utter destruction across the Caribbean, eventually making landfall in the south of Florida. There are islands in the Caribbean which are likely to never fully recover. 90% of buildings on islands such as Barbuda, Saint Maarten and Anguilla have been damaged or destroyed. Critical infrastructure is destroyed. I am lucky enough to have visited many of the islands in Caribbean on vacations, so I know the lay of the land in that part of the world. Many people live in true poverty, and buildings certainly aren’t up to the standards here in the UK or the US. Whilst Florida will be taking a big hit, Irma will has done it’s worst damage on these stunning islands.
As Irma was wreaking havoc in the Caribbean, Katia was forming in the Gulf of Mexico. It was “only” a Category 2 storm, but brought enough wind and rain to cause that country problems. At the same time, Mexico was struck by it’s biggest Earthquake in 100 years as a 8.2 magnitude tremor shook buildings and has killed nearly 100 people up to the time of writing.
It was thought that Hurricane Jose was going to cause further problems for the same islands that were hit by Irma. It was a very strong Category 4 storm at one point, but has since dropped off in strength to Category 2 and appears to be spinning off into the Atlantic.
I also want to point out that whilst all this was going on and the media was covering it all in depth, there were some even bigger flood events happening in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh which displaced tens of millions of people and has killed many thousands. These were the worst monsoon rains for a very long time, yet media of any kind covered it very little. No reporters were flown out to the affected areas, no live pages, no rolling coverage. It really irks me.
It has been a torrid time for many people in many parts of the world. Even beyond what I have stated above, there have been sweltering heatwaves, forest fires and other earthquakes that have been going on at the same time.
It is a timely reminder that we live among mother nature on this planet. We certainly are not the ones in charge in any way, shape or form. At the drop of a hat nature can step things up and remind us all that she is running things here.
There are things we need to take away from these past disruptive weeks. Firstly, that we should honour and remember those that were unable to survive the extreme weather. All loss of life is sad in these situations, whether it’s a single person or hundreds as it may end up being.
But we must also use this as an opportunity to review how we live within the realms of nature and how we have treated the place we call home. Climate change is real, that cannot be denied. The intensity and regularity of these storms, and cyclones on the other side of the world have only increased in the last few years. We should be looking now at vast and dramatic ways to improve how we live clean lives on this planet, and to also improve infrastructure and building so that we give ourselves a better chance of surviving these things.
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