Friday, March 11, 2011

Is there Such thing as a Pristine Environment and Landscape?

Okay switching gears a little bit here to talk more about what is going on in the world. So as most of you know there was a massive earthquake in Japan that has sent the northern part of Japan into destruction. This earthquake then has spurred Tsunamis throughout the pacific affecting Hawaii and the West Coast. Now this is just part of a long list of natural disasters that have happened in the last decade around the world and it is very tragic.

These natural disasters have though spurred religious groups around the world to claim that the “end of days” are coming, whatever that may mean to each religion. Also there have already been claims that this earthquake has been inflicted on Japan as a sort of “judgment.” All of this is so sickening to hear about. Instead of dealing with all of these arguments we should be praying and trying to help out those affected. That being said I just have a few things to point out and then I’ll leave it at that.

So per usual I am looking at these claims from and anthropological perspective. A lot of people have this idea that the earth and climate and environments were pristine before modern days where we came in and overpopulated and ruined it. This is not in fact the case. The environment has been a mess for years and yes I believe that pollution, overpopulation and other human factors are spurring these “hiccups” in the world as I call them, but they do not alone cause all these disasters.

In fact if you look at the epochs before ours (which we are in the Holocene) you can actually see that our environment is pretty damn stable compared to parts of the Pleistocene, Miocene and others. These natural disasters aren’t anything new. The only difference is that the world has grown to an enormous population way greater than the other epochs, so obviously there are more people to feel these disasters.

So back to this notion of the world being one pristine. It is all myth propagated by images in movies, books in the media. Like I mentioned in my first post on the Native American Series, many people have this image of the Happy Indian, communing with nature and mother earth who is a smiling sun. This is far from true. Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornados, Hurricanes, Volcanoes and pretty much every other natural disaster have been happening for millions of years. The difference? There weren’t these great cities and populations to be destroyed by them. Yes populations were wiped out from these “hiccups” but it wasn’t as highly publicized as it is now.

So that’s where I leave you, won’t go into too much detail at this time about the different large scales disasters for I don’t want to diminish anymore the earthquake and Tsunamis that are going on at the present time. At this moment we shouldn’t try to compare the disaster to others from other time for we should focus on this one in isolation and deal with the repercussions. There are already people who are trying to relate it to Hurricane Katrina and others which is going down an slippery slope.

My point in this post then becomes just to educate people on the past and that these disasters happen and they’ve been happening for millions of years. We should not be quick to jump on the “end of days” or any other similar bandwagons. That being said, there is something that you can do to help the victims of these disasters. You can donate to the RedCross by texting RED CROSS to 90999 and $10 will be donated to relief efforts.

Chart Courtsey of


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