Environmental Studies, PHS 100 OD 1-37
Aug 12, 2014
Human society and the natural environment have become increasingly vulnerable to natural hazards, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and flooding. These recent natural hazards around the world have raised awareness of our vulnerability, challenged our scientific understanding, and questioned our ability to predict and prepare for such events. As a society we need to continue to strive to be more conscious of the resources we are using and taking from our planet that could be causing such devastating events.
One such that I did not experience but was a part of was the 2010 Haitian earthquake. This particular earthquake was a catastrophic 7.0 that took place in the town of Léogâne west of the Haitian capitol of Port-au-Prince. Not only was the main quake a 7.0 but, fifty two aftershocks of a 4.5 or greater were also recorded. Over one hundred thousand died and a quarter of a million homes or more were destroyed. Poverty was already wide spread due to several factors, the earthquake only added more. Many countries responded to Haitian appeals for aid. The United States responded by sending supplies and military personnel to help relieve air traffic congestion. I worked hand in hand with these controllers coordinating intelligence and efforts in order to help relief efforts and get aircraft carrying much needed supplies to those in need. At a peak of 600 flights per day these controllers were able to take the rate of planes being diverted down to three, possibly saving ten of thousands of lives. The super carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived at maximum possible speedon 15 January with 600,000 emergency food rations, 100,000 ten-liter water containers, and an enhanced wing of 19 helicopters; 130,000 liters of drinking water were transferred to shore on the first day. The US Navy listed its resources in the area as "17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft" in addition to 10,000 sailors and Marines. The Navy had conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered 32,400 US gallons of water, 532,440 bottles of water, 111,082 meals and 9,000 lb of medical supplies. UN and United States formalized the coordination of relief efforts by signing an agreement giving the US responsibility for the ports, airports and roads, and making the UN and Haitian authorities responsible for law and order.
Though I was not personally affected I was able to see the devastation and damage that the earthquake had caused through pictures and reports sent back by military air crews. One has to wonder if something within our society may have helped push this earthquake into reality. Did offshore drilling upset the balance under the sea floor? The effect could have come from an unbalance hundreds of miles away or more. This is where the understanding of our environment comes into play. A better understanding could change the way we operate in finding resources. Because we do not know exactly how some of our processes of acquiring resources effects our environment we need to strive to create better ways to sustain our lives and how we operate.
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