Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Give us Each Day our Daily Catastrophe(s)

Is the news media more alert to what’s going on in the four corners of the world than it used to be? Or is there a steady increase in natural and manmade catastrophic events?

The rain in Spain is no longer in the plains, as Eliza Doolittle had to repeat in the play Pygmalion. The rains are everywhere, bringing floods and devastation here in the United States, but also, on any given day, to half a dozen other places around the globe.

This week so far, aside from a car packed with explosives left smoking in Times Square, there is serious flooding in Tennessee, following on tornados in other parts of the southeast.

Then there is the mother of all oil spills, courtesy of British Petroleum, which has shut down the huge fishing industry in the waters of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi Alabama and Florida, and threatens an area that is a major wildlife area.

Today, a fire broke out in a refinery in San Antonio, Texas, and Ireland and Scotland had to again suspend flights because of new ash from the Iceland volcano. Meanwhile desperate efforts are under way in Haiti to move refugees from the recent earthquake zone to higher, drier areas as the rainy season gets under way. China and Mexico too are coping with earthquake devastation, as is the southern part of Chile.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten as many catastrophes as I’ve listed. The question is, if we’ve been unable to prevent natural disasters from occurring when there are ‘only’ say, ten a week, will we be more likely to be able to prevent a hundred a week? And what will these events do to the world economy and the ability of governments to govern?

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