Earthquake/Tsunami reminds us of Futility of War

Every once in a while, amidst our petty wars and squabbles with each other, Nature reminds us that the real threat to humankind comes from her, not from other human beings. Climate change is human-driven, but its danger is in unleashing uncontrollable natural forces of immense power. We are still defenseless against a meteor strike of the sort that helped polish off the dinosaurs. And, we lack good defenses against tsunamis. Unless we can put aside our divisions and work effectively together on these natural threats, humans remain in extreme danger as a species.

Telegraph video of Japan’s 8.4 magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. There is a tsunami watch now for the Pacific basin, including Hawaii.

I was in Japan in October for a conference, and remember with great fondness the kindness showed me by hosts and old friends, and am just devastated at this disaster.

Posted in Environment | 16 Responses | Print |

16 Responses

  1. A horrible, horrible disaster. Let’s hope the international community quickly responds. Yes, the Japanese are a lovely people. So sad…

  2. “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”
    -Jeannette Rankin
    US pacifist & politician (1880 – 1973)

  3. It is very, very sad.

    My heartfelt sympathies to all those are affected with this devastating disaster.

    It shows the fragility of human beings.

  4. After-shocks still coming at 10-15 minute intervals, more than 12 hours after the Big One hit. The 12 storey building I’m in swaying gently as I write. We hope this doesn’t presage worse things to come.

    Day light will bring the truly horrific picture up north nearer the epi-center into focus. Its a sad, sad day.

  5. Headlines like this make me despair

    “How will Japan earthquake affect Apple’s iPad supply chain?”

    A separate earthquake hit Niigatta province in n.w. Japan early this morning. It is unrelated to yesterdays event, its epicentre is under the land, so no tsunami. link to

  6. The Japanese tsunami disaster is a terrible tragedy and the death toll is going to be high.

    For anyone wanting to keep up-to-date with the latest developments YokosoNews on link to has been translating Japanese news non-stop for the last 18 hours and providing information to an English-speaking audience, although at the time of writing he has finally decided to take a rest.

    Of course, there is not really going to be a lot we can do about meteors and defences against earthquakes and tsunamis are unfortunately always going to be imperfect.

    Tackling climate change and effective protection against natural disasters are dependent on the defeat of poverty, the biggest disaster facing humanity and (as Gandhi put it) the worst form of violence.

  7. What a load of crap professor. Because an earthquake happens
    every 800 years people are going to ignore the fact that life is competition at the individual and collective level.

    People kill people, muslims have killed many more than natural disasters in the last decade. The Christian Muslim fviolence in Egypt over a Muslim-Christain love affair and their outrageous tribal idea of family honor, go fix that in your arabist world before your preach nonsense over earthquakes.

    • Hooeeey! This is a nearly perfect example of the reasons why the species homo tribalensis hateandkilleveryonewhoisnotjustlikeus is a total, abject dead-end biological failure.

      Sweetheart, surprisingly, out in nature, the most durable and useful relationships are symbiotic, not murderously and smugly fratricidal and zero-summed. Ask your gut bacteria and your mitochondria and the tiny little mites that live in the follicles of your eyelashes and clear your limpid orbs of the dead skin cells, dust and actual parasites that blow in, how that works. link to

      Peace and love, darlin’. Thanks for tuning in.

  8. An odd juxtaposition of posts, eh? A post encouraging the reader not to give up on the Libyan rebels armed struggle against Gaddafi, followed by a piece stressing the “futility of war.”

  9. Thank you but jeez, when the news paper headlines say; “Japan Struggles to Reach Survivors
    Quake Toll in Hundreds; New Radiation Fears” –
    It sounds like if entire Japan is struggling for rescuing survivors,
    or fearing for radiation,But that is not true-.
    We are fine in tokyo.. We must say our condolence to the people live in the seashore and local cities in northern areas.

  10. Although I’m in Tokyo, and since Fri I’ve been repeatedly seeing the horrifying video footages of tsunami which swept entire city of Kamaishi.. or unrescued people still isolated in other northern cities on tv- and it made me utterly gloomy over the weekend, but the fact is not about entire Japan- it’s only about some northern coastal cities..fishery cities in countryside.
    ..I increasingly think foreign media are taking it too sensational. I wonder why their headlines on this issue should be x3 bigger than how our domestic media put it-
    In fact our country is not sinking…

  11. Although I appreciate foreing people’s sinsere concern about the disaster, I just feel disturbed about Western media’s exaggeration in reporting this issue. I mean this is not really a situation like “Japan as a nation faces its possibility of demise” etc..because this natural disaster is still geographically very partial.. only confined to the limited area..of northern coastal fishery cities. In fact the rest of the nation is intact and operating normal. I feel increasingly disturbed seeing the sensational headlines everyday. If I post the truth the western media would not allow it and cut it off..

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