The VIEW from here

Rise in natural disasters makes you stop and think

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

I’ve always been intrigued by speculation about how and when the world will end. The talk is always fascinating, though it is hard to believe some of the theories and predictions out there.

I don’t think it is something that can necessarily be predicted (short of a killer asteroid spotted heading directly at the Earth), but sometimes if you look at what’s going on in the world you have to stop and think about whether the end is really near or not.

We laugh when someone says the world will end on such and such a date and then that date comes and goes and we’re all still here. This spring, when Harold Camping, the head of an obscure Christian group and radio Family Radio broadcasting network, said the world would end May 21, I recall making fun of the whole prediction.

Camping was wrong, but has revised his prediction to Oct. 11 now. He can keep making revisions all he wants, but I think after all these centuries mankind has to face the reality that when its time for the end of the world, it’s just going to happen. No one will predict it. No one will know when, it will just happen.

But with the rise of natural disasters around the world, I think one has to stop and wonder just what is going on.

There have been numerous major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions around the world, most notably the catastrophic earthquake and resulting tsunami which decimated parts of Japan.

There was also a serious quake in New Zealand and then there was the moderate quake which shook the East Coast just last week. While that quake didn’t do any serious, widespread damage, it was an unusual place to have one.

Hurricane Irene, which just happened, has also caused considerable damage. Hurricanes, in general, seem to be getting worse each year, starting with Katrina six years ago.

And then there are the strange environmental disasters. The dying off of huge bird and fish populations, the rise of diseases and the odd realignment of the magnetic north pole which wasn’t a disaster, but it caused airports around the world to re-tune their navigational equipment.

All of it is just strange and while I’m not going to jump up and declare that this is the end, it does make you wonder if the planet is trying to tell us something. Is it undergoing some sort of change? Is it all just random coincidence? Is it something we have done? Or is this just part of the Earth’s natural life — the ongoing evolution of the planet — and we’re just taking notice of it for the first time.

Whatever is happening, I think we as a people should stick together through the rough times and work to overcome the adversity of natural disasters, and try to enjoy our time here for as long as we can. Because, as I said earlier in this column, you never know when the end will come.

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