88,000 people were evacuated out of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Clearing a full city bare, leaving a raging forest fire to burn neighbourhoods to ashes.
As drastic as the situation is already, the flames are still strong and growing, with news that other communities in Northern West Canada, such as Fort St. Johns, are at risk of evacuation.
It just sucks. Tens of thousands of people forced out of their homes, some with only the clothes on their backs, fearfully leaving everything they own in the path of a forest fire that has the power to destroy every single thing it crosses.
Though, what can you even do when a natural disaster like this hits? It’s mother nature doing what she does. An earthquake in Nepal, another in Ecuador, a flood in Texas, a tsunami in Japan. As shitty as every single one of these things are, they happen on a fairly regular basis, and for those affected, all you can do is to survive and deal with the aftermath.
As depressing as that is, it’s just a way for nature to remind us who’s really in charge. It’s a way to put Her fist down, reminding every single one of us that there’s actually a downside to counteract the infinite upsides to existing on Earth.
Yet, is there really nothing we can do?
When a disaster hits, there’s not much in the way of stopping it. Though, there are ways we can try to prevent the frequency of these event.
“As preachy as it may sound for some, our actions, how we interact with nature, can have an effect to how nature responds back to us.”
For forest fires, it’s as simple as being conscious of your actions when interacting with nature. According to Natural Resources Canada, humans cause over 50% of all wildfires in Canada; whether through campfires, cigarette butts, glass bottles, etc.
For earthquakes, anything from oil drilling, to mining to man-made dams can trigger major tremors. On top of that, usually it’s the falling of buildings and man-made structures that lead to deaths and major damage when an earthquake hits. To respond, Japan (an area known for its frequent natural disasters) has made it a focus to create earthquake-proof structures, undoubtedly preventing tons of potential damage and human harm. The next step is for other countries and areas at risk to follow suit.
Finally, there’s the impact of climate change. Each of us understand it, know how to fight against it, have learned the damage it can cause, so there’s no reason to throw that info at you again. Still, I’ll let Bill Nye explain things if you wanted a refresher:
All of this is not to say that we can completely prevent future natural disasters, of course that’s not true. What’s going on in Northern Alberta, for example, is largely a case of extreme conditions, caused by the transition in seasons and the presence of major wind gusts.
Nonetheless, we still can do as much as we can to try and consciously push for ways to prepare and potentially prevent future disasters in the future. Naturally, we as people tend to see assume this is something completely out of our hands, something that will happen in this world, yet not to us. Never to us.
And sure, it’s true that as an individual, there is not a lot we can do in the grand scheme of things in comparison to the passing of a favourable bill or law. Nonetheless, even if it’s just the smallest of help, the smallest of progress in preventing future disasters, why not?
We tend to forget that what we do has an effect on the people around us, and that is an effect that carries on. Not tossing your cigarette butt out the window, ensuring your newly built home is earthquake-resistant, preventing as much C02 emission as you individually can, all of this matters.
We just need to keep to it and make sure to always remind ourselves why we are doing it in the first place.