The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

December 12, 2013

Humans can't match impact of natural events on environment

Let’s examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question. “The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile.” ‘‘The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis.”

Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: “Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day.” ‘‘Remember the importance of taking care of our planet. It’s the only home we have!”

Such statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmental extremists and non-extremists alike. Worse yet is the fact that this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to our youths from kindergarten through college. Let’s examine just how fragile the earth is.

The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, in present-day Indonesia, had the force of 200 megatons of TNT. That’s the equivalent of 13,300 15-kiloton atomic bombs, the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Preceding that eruption was the 1815 Tambora eruption, also in present-day Indonesia, which holds the record as the largest known volcanic eruption. It spewed so much debris into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, that 1816 became known as the “Year Without a Summer” or “Summer That Never Was.” It led to crop failures and livestock death in much of the Northern Hemisphere and caused the worst famine of the 19th century. The A.D. 535 Krakatoa eruption had such force that it blotted out much of the light and heat of the sun for 18 months and is said to have led to the Dark Ages. Geophysicists estimate that just three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than all of mankind’s activities in our entire history.

How has our fragile earth handled floods? China is probably the world capital of gigantic floods. The 1887 Yellow River flood cost between 900,000 and 2 million lives. China’s 1931 flood was worse, yielding an estimated death toll between 1 million and 4 million. But China doesn’t have a monopoly on floods. Between 1219 and 1530, the Netherlands experienced floods costing about 250,000 lives.

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