Gone are the days when disasters used to be synonymous with ‘fault in our stars.‘ As climate change and unsustainable development have become totems of environmental deterioration, humanity continues to face the wrath of nature through an uneven distribution of rainfall, longer than usual dry spells of drought, and frequent earthquakes. In a bid to steer clear of vocal slug fests over who ought to wear the mantle of protector of Mother Nature, most people have chosen to label all disasters as natural.
However, anecdotal and factual evidence vis-a-vis frequency and intensity of natural calamities have laid bare the role of anthropogenic pursuits in increasing the risk of such force majeure. Moreover, what used to be a poignant reminder of suffering from a bygone era now invites listlessness from even the most conscientious beings.
Climate change can no longer be attributed to winds of chance or idiosyncrasies of topography. The world has made unprecedented progress on all fronts in such a short time. Much of this has come to depend on indiscriminate utilisation of available natural resources. When man has become hell-bent on riding his melt with the summum bonum of fulfilling his misplaced ambition of supremacy, nature must intervene, in the same vein, to remind everyone of her omnipotence.
And she is doing so. I am saying so because India has witnessed 127 miniature earthquakes in just the first half of 2020. Interestingly, experts have ascribed this to the advances in seismic technology. While this is true, one cannot deny the build-up pressure due to the construction of high-rise buildings.
Environmentalists, policymakers, bureaucrats and other stakeholders of environmental concern have vouched to nurse the ecology back to health by holding organisations accountable for the environmental impact of their endeavours. Therefore, it is easy to justify the importance of human intervention in deciding whether ecological balance (rather an imbalance) is maintained. Thus, while deluges or earthquakes are natural disasters per se, the harsh reality is that their manifestation is rooted in an anthropocentric world-view.
Note: The article was originally published here.