"..a bardy view!"

When the Earth moved…..

The events in Japan are causing theorists to speculate that the world is undergoing a bilious attack and the resulting belch will cause ongoing distress for mankind. Some say it's because of intense activity from the sun, or because the moon is closer than normal.

It cannot be denied that there is much activity going on in the bowels of the earth, yet it would be somewhat premature to assume that the end is nigh. Certainly two catastrophic tsunamis within 6 years are unprecedented, and will naturally fuel the doom and gloom merchants.

Before I continue, and before I am accused of being churlish, I severely regret the tragedy currently visited on the Japanese, and for the survivors who have lost family and seen their homes and their place of work destroyed – all which are integral to life and living.

I could not begin to imagine their suffering, and I am humbled by their outstanding reserve and discipline in such adversity.

But there is a message here. The Japan earthquake was one of the largest ever recorded on the Richter scale, and had it happened on land instead of out at sea then the damage would not have been so great and a tsunami would not have occurred.

Most structures withstood the shock because an advanced industrial nation had significant building regulations. The simple truth that it's "not earthquakes which kill people but buildings" is common knowledge. If you live in a quake zone then the two best places to reside would be Japan or west coast USA. Unfortunately the sea was not factored sufficiently into the equation.

Almost a year ago a 7.1 quake hit central China.The true figure of fatalities is unknown, but it was at least 3000 officially. Yet the Chinese government was accused of failing to respond efficiently and effectively. That pales into insignificance with their earlier quake of 2008 when 70,000 died and nearly four million were left homeless. Even today we know little because the event has dropped off the radar.

In January 2010 a 7.0 quake hit Haiti which virtually wiped out it's capital and a large portion of its population. There was no effective government to deal with it, and for all the international relief which galvanised aid, little has improved. There were over 300,000 fatalities.

The new millenium began with two quakes. On January 13th 2001 in El Salvador with 1000 dead, and 13 days later on the 26th in Gujarat India, where more than 20,000 died.

On March 25th 2002, one thousand people were killed in the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan. Two months later on May 21st over 2000 people died in Algeria.

On December 26th, 2003 in Iran, 27,000 were killed. Exactly one year later in December 2004 the aforementioned Indian Ocean event occurred, and  3 months later Indonesia lost a further 1300 people in Sumatra.

Seven months later in October 2005, the Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan resulted in 80,000 fatalities.

In May 2006, seven months on from Pakistan, Indonesia suffered again. The Java earthquake killed nearly 6000 people, and there was a further 700 killed two months later in the same region.

500 Peruvians lost their lives in August 2007 at Chincha Alta. The following year was the previously mentioned Sichuan Earthquake in China.

On September 30th 2009 an earthquake in  Sumatra – again in Indonesia -  killed over 1000 people.

Last year was the aforementioned Haiti and Qinghai, China earthquakes. In addition, over 500 were killed in Maule, Chile (Feb 27th) and another 400 again in Sumatra (Oct 25th).

In 2011 New Zealand had a quake on February 21st, resulting in a dispraportionate number of fatalities to population, and the count in the Japan quake of March 11th is still unknown, but early estimates are in the tens of thousands.

Since January 1st 2001 there has been a recorded 220 earthquakes around the world with a magnitude of at least 7.0 on the Richter scale, with an estimated loss of life of 1 million.

So far this year there have been eight earthquakes of at least 7.0 magnitude. The day before the Japan earthquake, China received one in Yunnan which killed 25 people.It was 5.4 magnitude. There were 250 injured and 127,000 had to be evacuated to shelters. It was one of 1000 tremors which had hit the region in the previous two months.

Earthquakes of less than 7.0 are happening everywhere as I write, and lives are lost – some only counted on one hand, and some not counted at all.

In conclusion, the world is not ending, but merely behaving as it has always done. There are more humans on this little blue dot than ever before.

Naturally our trappings, our houses, our cars, our factories, our nuclear power plants, our goods are all mere detritus to nature. Our lives are at risk, but the sooner we realise that we are not the masters of our universe, that we have a fragile existence, and that we are merely the new arrogant kids on the block, then perhaps we will realise that this is our only home, and we should look after it.

Life is not a game, and the dice are not dictated by markets, stocks and shares, banks, wealth and influence.

Mother Earth knows that, and she has been around long before us, and will no doubt be around long after we have gone.

Man has a desire to learn. He looks at the stars and questions his existence. Scientists strive to understand it. Philosophers wax lyrical, astronomers seek the truth.

Academics pontificate and lecture us about the wonders above. Does it really matter? Does it really matter that we are told that the Sun will explode into a black hole in 30 Billion years? That it will expand and swallow up our planet and most of its solar system?

It seems like a great job to have. To sell an idea without worrying about consequence.

To study for five years, get a degree and then just watch the world go by. To present ideas and theories knowing that at best a nobel prize is in the offing, or at worst to continue working, spouting suspect academia research, to write a book or thesis, be paid, live in a house, get married, raise kids, drive a car, worry about the environment, ecology and still be able to stargaze!

Arthur Conan Doyle once put some words into his greatest creation Sherlock Holmes. When asked by his confidante Watson whether he ever thought about life, Holmes replied:

"It matters little to me whether the Earth revolves around the Sun, or the Sun revolves around the Earth. I have no influence on either."


March 14, 2011 - Posted by | Arts, Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, History, Science, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. We have to find the right home solar power in order to save you money and help the environment you need to think about particular factors is to make a much more educated decision when it comes to solar energy and our home.


    Comment by home solar power | March 15, 2011 | Reply

  2. Excellent piece and thought provoking. Despite the human tragedy you are quite correct that mankind can do next to nothing about Mother Nature.
    Alternative sources such as solar power (mentioned above), wind turbines etc. make a lot of sense and are more eco-friendly than nuclear power which when something goes wrong, poses serious risk. However, as you so eloquently described, none of these would make the slightest effect in stopping an earthquake or much else that Mother nature can throw up at us.
    Suitably impressed.


    Comment by Spook Moor | March 15, 2011 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: