May is shaping up to be a month for natural disasters. I have already devoted two messages to the cyclone that slammed into Myanmar, while this weekend tornadoes struck Missouri, Oklahoma and Georgia. Don’t worry, I checked with Lindy last night, and it looks like the closest bad weather to her & Adam was a big thunderstorm in Dublin, GA. We also had a blustery day here, with temperatures never higher than the low 50s, some rain and a lot of wind gusts. Now I’m hearing of a wildfire, somewhere in central Florida (Palm Bay?).
But the worst disaster would be the magnitude 7.9 earthquake that struck western China this morning. The epicenter was 60 miles northwest of Chengdu, the capital of densely populated Sichuan province, and it was felt as far away as Beijing, Thailand and Vietnam. The casualty count at this point is nearly 10,000 dead, making it the worst earthquake they have had since the Tangshan earthquake of 1976, which struck near Beijing and killed a quarter of a million people. Fortunately the Chinese government is coming to the rescue immediately; we’ll see if they’re more willing to accept outside aid than the Burmese government is.
All this should remind us that we’re not in control of the environment as much as environmentalists would have us believe. For all the talk of manmade global warming, if a supervolcano like Indonesia’s Mt. Toba erupted tomorrow, it would spew so much ash over our heads that we would get another ice age instead, no matter how much carbon dioxide we pumped into the atmosphere. Nor can we prevent the next big earthquake from happening; all we can do is find ways to keep our buildings from falling down when the tremors start. As tragic as these events can be, I hope they serve to keep us humble in the ultimate scheme of things.