The Power of Nature

Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and now the nuclear aftermath of Japan's earthquake have demonstrated how vulnerable we all are when facing natural disasters. Japan especially made me question how advanced we really are in our technology? What was lacking in Japan's ability to defend itself against the 2011 earthquake/tsunami hit, and beyond that, how weak are the technological safeguards at nuclear facilities if there is such a scrammble to contain radiation leakage at the Fukushima power plant? It is well known how large military expenditure bleeds money away from human health and welfare, and I did some research on how much Japan spends on its armed forces. It's not much that much relative to profligates such as the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and China, so that is great for the Japanese people! They have more to spend on creating a peaceful, stable society and to protect themselves from the ever-present dangers relating to earthquakes. Walls had been built to guard against tsunamis, a still it was not enough against the one that showed up at their door. Perhaps there is no amount of preparation possible against such a large wave, but we certainly must do better when it comes to designing fail-safe nuclear facilities. Every technological tool should be used to ensure that plumes of radioactive water thousands of times higher than safe limits never escape into our environment.

The problem is that when the mountains and continents formed, it all happened through activities we call natural disasters today. When we and our cities weren’t around, all these natural events were happening without taking human life. Such events formed what we have today. Earth’s tectonic plates can be divided into three main layers: the outermost crust, middle mantle and the inner & outer core. The crust and the upper mantle of the earth form a strong layer called the lithosphere, which is further broken down into plates called tectonic plates. So earth's crust is not actually one thick blanket, but instead it has many pieces in a patch-work around the planet. The size of these plates can vary from a few hundred to thousands of kilometers across, while the thickness may vary from less than 15 km to 200 km. Plates under the oceans are called oceanic plates, and if they are under continents they are referred to as continental plates. As the mantle within the earth's crust moves in the deeper part of the earth, the plates begin to move as well. They then begin to pull away from each other, bump into one another or slide past one another. These plate have moved about throughout earth's history to form the arrangement of land masses we are familiar with today. Because we live on the surface of all this activity, if we are not protected, disasters will always happen.
When these plates collide against each other, rock layers are forced upwards in the form of mountains such as the Rocky Mountains. When these plates move away from one another, lava from the mantle fills the gap and forms new crust. These plates also converge over a period of thousands of years by slowly positioning them one beneath the other. The plate boundaries often lie beneath the oceans and cannot be seen, however they can be mapped accurately from space via measurements from GEOSAT satellites. I am sure our present-day science cannot stop these natural events, however if heads of states can direct more of their budgets away from military waste and funnel them into developing more advanced technology more quickly, we would be able to detect better what is coming, how it is coming and be more prepared in evacuating affected areas. We are good at detecting earthquakes now, but we want to work at getting better a prediction, and preventing disasters and suffering.

As we all know, we are not only vulnerable to earthquakes. Clouds form when water vapor condenses in the air and releases heat. This increases updraft temperature and the kinetic energy of air movement. When that happens they can form thunderstorms, and the strong ones can create a vortex of air that may form a tornado. With the heat available over tropical oceans, even larger systems called hurricanes can form. Hurricane destruction can be as devastating as any other major natural disaster; nonetheless, it seems that our heavily populated coast lines are most vulnerable to tsunamis or mega-tsunamis. No matter what force of nature strikes, we remain weak and vulnerable to them all.

Tornado, Hurricane, Earthquake and Tusnami....

Nature can certainly be destructive, but which are more dangerous; natural disasters or the wars all around us? We have come to a very interesting moment in our time and history with the appearance of advanced technology. We rely on our governments for much of our protection and security, however too much of our taxes are being used to fund armies, and not enough is being used for basic health, welfare and protection of their people. For instance 58% of America's budget goes to fund the military.  They tell people it is for national defence, but I say it is just to serve jingoistic egos.
Look around you; wars and conflicts are everywhere created by the “self interest” of heads of the state or their collaborating interests. The world’s spending on military defenses is above and beyond what is needed. If half of that money could be spent on research on how to decrease the aftermath of natural disasters, the people of the world wouldn’t suffer as much from them. Also to consider are all the environmental disasters, wars, displaced peoples, forced migrations, diseases and stress related illnesses and more created or permitted by governments everywhere. And who works tirelessly to fix it all? Not the heads of states or governments who create these turmoils, ruins and tragedies; it is the magnificent "people-without-borders" working with caring grass-roots organizations who are putting it all back together. The protectors ruin, the little people rebuild, how ironic is that….

On this beautiful blue planet, we have magnificent people who could, if they wished, live a relaxed laid-back life and just take care of themselves and their families; however, they use their expertise with their big hearts and beautiful minds to help others in many different ways. From the speeches and workshops they present to enlighten others, to actually going far from their homes and families to troubled parts of our home planet in order to help people they don’t even know, these good folk are the hope our species can give to the world as an answer to the destructive elements in our midst who care nothing for others.

Doctors Without Borders:

About Doctors Without Borders/ Medecins Sans Frontieres

Doctors Without Borders in Africa

Builders Without Borders:

"Builders Without Borders is an international network of ecological builders who advocate the use of natural, local, and affordable materials in construction. We believe that the solution to homelessness is not merely housing, but people who know how to house themselves. To this end, BWB creates educational materials and opportunities to empower communities, organizations and owner-builders....."

Builders without Borders

BWB Mission Statement

Teachers with out Borders:

Teachers Without Borders "is a non-profit, international organization with a small staff and a membership of over 6,500 in over 180 countries. Our programs are conceived by, led, and developed by local education leaders and supported by a global network of colleagues."

Teachers Without Borders

Education without Borders:

"Education Beyond Borders is a non-profit NGO devoted to closing the education divide through teacher professional development and community education. We are focused on advancing and supporting the movement for educators and advocates for education to do our part in supporting our colleagues and their students in disadvantaged regions here at home and around the world."

Michael Wesch - From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able

Wildlife Responses to Climate Change:

Wildlife Without Borders: Connecting People and Nature

Part 1 .........Part 2 .........Part3

Nasreen Pejvack-Copyright© 2011 All Rights Reserved