The recent earthquake in Nepal was no surprise to scientists. They have been expecting it with trepidation for years. Major earthquakes have been striking that area every 75-85 years due to the colliding land masses of India and Asia. This collision created the Himalayas, and the two are still pushing together at a rate of 1-2 inches a year. The whole city of Katmandu moved about 10 feet southward due to the fault slipping during the earthquake.
Scientists and aid organizations, like GeoHazards, have been worried about the lax construction standards in Nepal. In a post just this month, GeoHazards wrote, “With an annual population growth rate of 6.5 percent and one of the highest urban densities in the world, the 1.5 million people living in the Katmandu Valley were clearly facing a serious and growing earthquake risk.” With the steep slopes there, avalanches are always a present danger. There are other areas around the world that are also in danger of massive earthquakes due to their location near faults and lack of preparedness: Tehran, Iraq; Lima, Peru; and Padong, Indonesia. Istanbul, Turkey is also at risk for a massive earthquake, but they have been enforcing stricter building codes which will lessen the damage and carnage.
Earthquakes are scary. Dwayne Johnson, aka “the Rock”, is coming out soon with a new thriller titled San Andreas, about a massive earthquake in California. The movie is sure to be loaded with special effects, but the real effects of earthquakes can be devastating, particularly if you are not prepared.
There is a hard lesson here for all of us. Mother Earth is very much in charge, and we are just temporary residents on this planet. We have to be receptive to what she is telling us and heed her warnings. If we overbuild in areas that are prone to earthquakes, avalanches, mudslides, droughts and wild fires, then we are putting ourselves at risk. If we destroy forests, pollute streams, and wipe out wildlife, then we have to live with the damage. She has been sending us warning signals for years.
If you are reading this blog, you probably share this concern. Please take actions to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Lower your carbon footprint, and your footprint in general. Not just for yourself, but those around you. Mother Earth is indifferent, so we are only hurting ourselves – and all of our descendants. The sooner we learn this lesson, the better.