Courtesy of NASA, Unsplash, a hurricane’s eye.
Recent weather patterns have been characterized by disasters largely unprecedented in history. Between Hurricanes Irma destroying much of the Caribbean and parts of Florida and Harvey parts of Texas, earthquakes in Mexico, wildfires in both Northern and Southern California, and increased flooding in the Asia-Pacific, it seems that natural disasters are becoming more prevalent than not. Today, October 13th, marks the United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction. This holiday seeks to raise global awareness about disasters and risk reduction policies in order to reduce exposure to and displacement from disasters.
Asia-Pacific is the world’s most disaster prone region, with ESCAP research indicating between 2015 and 2030 that 40% of economic losses from disasters would occur in Asia-Pacific. Floods, storms, and extreme temperatures affect more people in poor and middle-income countries, and climate change will exacerbate these destructive weather patterns. ESCAP calls for greater disaster reduction measures, such as setting up regional early warning systems, investing in disaster risk education, and incorporating disaster resilience into agricultural development plans to simultaneously reduce poverty and improve livelihoods.
Fire, Andrew Gaines, Unsplash
NASA research shows that “changes in climate not only affect average temperatures, but also extreme temperatures, increasing the likelihood of weather-related natural disasters.” Polls show that most people in the U.S. believe that global warming will harm U.S. citizens, but that less than half think that it will harm them personally. Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will intensify tropical cyclones, and changing atmospheric pressures during hurricanes can cause earthquakes, and there has been increase in the percentage of category 4 and 5 storms.
Mexico, Earthquake, July Brenda Gonzales Callapaza, Unsplash
What most people fail to realize is that when others are affected, they are themselves both directly and indirectly economically, socially, politically, and energetically. Ignoring these disasters to create an invincible bubble from reality does not help anyone, and actually hurts everyone by not thinking of solutions and instead exacerbating ignorance and indifference.