Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Tragedy: A wake-up call?

FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND people have lost their lives in 2010 to natural disasters. Mother Nature has struck, and struck hard again. The devastating earthquake at Japan has caused massive damage to life and property over major parts of Japan. All the development, all the technological advancements there are can do nothing, absolutely nothing to combat the might of nature. Perhaps, it is indeed these developments that are causing these natural disasters.

The year 2010 was a disastrous year with calamities taking lives and causing destruction without respite.
  • Nearly half of the victims of the total 2010 casualties were from the Haiti earthquake alone.
  • Chile suffered a terrible 8.8 magnitude earthquake with more than 500 killed and 300,000 homes damaged.
  • Almost 12 million people were affected in the floods in Pakistan with around 1200 losing their lives to the waters.
  • Wild fires in Russia caused smog killing an estimated number of 15,000 and causing health problems to thousands more.
  • A raging snowstorm struck the north eastern part of US in late December (though now that seems merely inconvenient as compared to the rest of the list).
  • An Icelandic Eyjafjallajokull volcano (how unpronounceable is that!) spewed gas over Northern Europe disrupting flights and travel for an extended period of time.
  • New Zealand was hit with a 7.7 magnitude earthquake causing damage of millions. Even as the recovery progressed slowly, further tremors though lesser in extent hampered recovery efforts.
  • Indonesia suffered another earthquake and Tsunami causing damage though not as massive as the others.
  • A cold wave struck the usually not-so-cold Peru and Argentina killing several hundred unaccustomed to the cold.
Plodding through the Snowstorm in NE America

While the world grappled with disasters in 2010, nature did not relent in 2011.
  • 2011 did not start too well either, with the Brazil floods causing landslides and taking many lives.
  • Australia experienced the same problems with major cities being inundated for several days.
This list very unfortunately is not an exhaustive list and there have been many cyclones which have been terrible too as unexpected that they were. I pray for all those affected to pick up the pieces and restart their lives.

Increased urbanization, deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer, global warming have now started perpetuating the debilitating effects of human ‘progress’ and several lives are heavily paying for it. If terrorists can’t get one, there is indeed no telling when these natural disasters will. Ofcourse, I don’t want to predict any doomsday or acocalypse, but one can’t help feeling a sense of utter helplessness when tragedy strikes. However, I do feel, that it is indeed high time, that the industrial community, governments, and individuals started to understand the evil that is happening because of the consumerist and the selfish progress that has been made by mankind to disrupt the ecological balance that has kept life on earth alive for several million years before the advent of the Humans.

Industries need to stop spewing noxious fumes and toxins depleting the ozone layer. It is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions and going green whether it is green vehicles, power or manufacturing. Individuals need to use less disposable things such as paper products, napkins, use less electricity as far as possible and preach the message as they practice. More trees need to be planted and population needs to be reduced! Whew, I guess, writing it, makes it sound pretty difficult considering burgeoning populations and lack of space and increased consumerism! But, notwithstanding the immensity and the challenges of the tasks, everything possible has to be done with a sense of urgency.

If the ever increasing list of natural disasters is not a wake-up call then what will it ever be?


  1. It is indeed a wake up call and a rude one at that. Your post was better than the stupid commentary we are getting on our precious national media. Good work Richa!

  2. Very well said and so true! Hope we can hear it now, and respect mother nature and the environment for what it gives us and not shy away from doing our duties as well.

  3. You have put the ideas very differently. Hope there will be an awakening around the globe.

  4. @zephyr, @Arti and @sibi: Thanks for your feedback. One can only hope people across the world try to do their bit.

  5. Bumped into your link through IndiBlogger.. And boy am I glad !

    You are spot on on listing down the list of Natural Calamities, ranging from the Floods in Austraila to Cyclones in the US.. We better take it as warning calls raised by mother nature...

    Cheers.. Kash !

    I dont know if I am right in calling this an interesting Trivia... But still sharing the same..

    "USA lost many lives on 11/09/01 n now JAPAN lost more lives on 10/03/11.Now add dis dates u'll get 21/12/12 dis date is predictd as d END.!!"

    Keep Blogging.. and See you around !

  6. @Ashwin: Nice bit of trivia. With the way things are moving these days, who knows if the Mayans were indeed correct when they predicted doomsday in Dec 2012! We better make the most of the time we have left and try to heed those warnings! Thanks for your comment, and do keep visiting!

  7. The blog is really thought provoking and makes one seriously think about our responsibility to mother earth. As someone had rightly said " the way we are plundering the natural resources, we need one more earth". The tolerant Nature has been giving enough warnings to us which we hardly heed. The earth shrugs only when the burden is intolerable to her. We all are guilty of undoing in less than 200 years which took millions of years for Nature to create. Hope and pray that the better sense prevails and further damage to Nature is halted at the earliest! Milind

  8. I don't think we will ever wake up to the realization that what we are doing to mother earth is nothing short of commiting a grave crime. Sadly, we will continue plundering mother earth until we have exhausted all our natural resources

  9. Richa, first of all thanks for your visit and words for my post. Secondly, you have a beautiful and a very regular and updated blog.. :) I like it.

    @ your post- My heart goes out for the families and the people of Japan, or may be any country or place where a natural calamity just flips the cards for you.. :(

    May they find strength and peace.. Amen!


  10. @Megha: Thanks for visiting again! Its pretty sad indeed how unpredictable life can be. I hope those families find the strength indeed like you said.

  11. Shankaracharya has said in Bhajgovindam that life is as unstable as a water drop on a lotus petal. It can fall off any time. we have seen this very recently in Japan where people lost their everything including wealth and near and dear ones in no time.

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  13. Is it the beginning to the end of the world?
    Is mother nature paying back for all the deeds of Human race ?

    We need to join hands together and save our mother Earth.

    We have not inherited the earth from our ancestors, we have only borrowed it from our children

  14. @Amruta: I really like the last line!

  15. I have Awarded you as Most Adorable Blog !!!
    View your Award here...


  16. Hi Richa,

    Very interesting article indeed but from a purely scientic view it is still hypothetical to say that these natural disasters are being caused by man made reasons or are just random natural happenings. atleast there is no scientific study which supports this hypothesis.

    Please remember that dinosaurs were wiped out when we didnt even exist. Ice age was gone with no contribution from humans.

    Hence while we have to be careful in not stressing the natural resources, I believe we must continue on the path of technological and industrial development as our first priority is to provide a decent living to our populace