It seems the average human psyche enjoys the idea of having the possibility of being snuffed out at any given time. We seem to relish the idea that natural disasters are on the increase both in number and intensity. When the disasters we have seem not to be enough we invent things which may increase their frequency and intensity. We worry about drifting planets like Planet X coming near us in the next few years and causing Apocalyptic disasters which would normally not occur without its influence.
The truth is there are no more weather, climate, or seismic events in both numbers and intensity today than there were during the 1960’s. We believe there are because we now have billions more people living on the planet, inhabiting areas unpopulated in previous times and technology of sensing and reporting the events have drastically improved. Thus, we hear news of all natural events and have many more people effected by them today than we did then.
It is the drastic increase in population over the last 50 years that has put more people in more areas of the planet than ever before. It is the increase of the number of people at the mercy of nature not the occurrences themselves that is responsible for this belief.
Today, we have millions of people living on unstable hillsides which are void of the vegetation necessary to keep the soil from slipping during heavy rains or seismic activity that we didn’t 50 years ago. There are millions of people living in low lying areas of the world which are always in danger of flooding from either the ocean or from precipitation.
In the whole world there are some three billion people living in areas prone to natural disasters today than just a few decades ago.
For example, the recent Haiti earthquake would have killed much less people and caused much less damage had it occurred some 50 years ago than it did today. There are millions of people living there now that weren’t there before, and the level of damage would have been drastically less because there were not as many structures to damage then.
The Pakistani floods would have gone practically unnoticed as well some decades ago. The area flooded would have had just a handful of people living in the effected area compared to the millions there today.
The disastrous magnitude 9 quake in Indonesia and the following tsunami would have had a minimal impact on human life 50 years ago but was considered a disaster of Biblical proportions today because of the millions of people living there. In today’s highly populated world a magnitude 5 quake could be a killer if it occurred in the right location, and a heavy Monsoon could wipe whole villages off the map.
The increase of reported disasters and the ensuing death and destruction caused by them are but signs of the times in an overpopulated world.
As the world becomes more crowded so will the number of disasters increase as well as the number of new diseases because of the squalled conditions most are forced to live in; in third world countries where most have no modern conveniences which could prevent the spread of disease and live in structures which are considered rat holes by U.S. standards.
It is simply the number affected not the number of disasters themselves which is so devastating today.
However, we still seem to need more death and destruction than we have, else we would not invent scenarios involving mythical planets we wish would come along and cause more.