Environmental Studies/PHS 100A
August 7, 2014
While I was doing research for this paper it crossed my mind how many near misses of disasters I have been in; this lead to wondering if there was an increase in disasters or not. In 1979 I was with the US Army stationed in Leavenworth, Kansas-right in the midst of what is nicknamed “Tornado Alley”, 1980 saw me getting married in Lakewood, Washington 2 weeks after Mt. St. Helen’s blew, 1989 was a year that a 6.7 earthquake happened in Los Angeles while I was living in San Diego, and just recently I was living in Florida for 2 years 2012-2013 during hurricane season. Thankfully I was not hurt in any of these, but just on the fringe where I got the effects of each disaster, but not the trauma of it.
Disasters are split into three different categories:
· Geophysical-earthquakes, volcanoes, rock falls, landslides & avalanches.
· Climate related-floods, storm surge & coastal flooding.
· Meteorological-storms, tropical cyclones, local storms, heat/cold waves, drought & wildfires.
“According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the scale of disasters has expanded, owing to increased rates of urbanization, deforestation, environmental degradation and to intensifying climate variable, such as higher temperatures, extreme precipitation and more violent wind/water storms”. (Steady Increase in….. 2013, November 15). An article in Epic Disasters says, there is not an increase in disasters, it’s basically that our monitoring equipment has gotten better and more sensitive It pointed out in 1920 there were 500, 00 people living on the Florida coast whereas now there is 13 million. In 1925 there were 625 casualties from a tornado compared to the 22 deaths in 2005. In 1931 there were 350 seismograph and now there is 8,000 stations detecting earthquakes. And, of course the media and communications systems have improved alongside the detecting systems.
The Trumpet reports, “The evidence of natural disasters has risen dramatically over the past 20 years. To close observers of current events in relation to both History and Bible prophecy, this is no mere coincidence. What muddies the water as soon as Bible prophecy is mentioned in relation to natural disasters is the fact that there is a literal abundance of kooks, screwballs and fanatics out there who instantly seize on the latest catastrophe to declare “the end is nigh” (Fraser, R. 2010, March 3). Bible prophecies speak of the world reaching a time when catastrophic events that were once delayed would be fulfilled for a greater purpose. The events were predestined to allow a greater purpose to happen. It is all just a matter of perception then?
Image below courtesy of EM-DAT International Disaster Database, Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain.
Epic Disasters: The World's Worst Disasters. (2009, January 1). Retrieved from http://www.epicdisasters.com/index.php/site/comments/has_there_been_an_increase_in_the_number_of_natural_disasters/
Fraser, R. (2010, March 3). Why Have Natural Disasters Increased? Retrieved from http://www.thetrumpet.com/article/7020.28734.0.0/world/environment/why-have-natural-disasters-increased
Steady Increase in Climate Related Natural Disasters. (2013, November 15). Retrieved from http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/climatechange/steady-increase-in-climate-rel/19974069