‘Act of God’ or ‘Deed of Man’
Any event over which we have no control, we have always termed it an ‘act of God’. These included the floods and the earthquakes that happened long ago. However, these cannot be termed as ‘acts of God’ any longer. It is important to realize that any disaster that has happened in the recent past has been man-made. Scientists have given the name ‘Anthropocene’ to this period wherein the humans have altered many properties on a large scale affecting the climate of the world.
A majority of technologies prevalent today use fossil fuels for their survival. The growth in population has been fast and humongous as predicted and the demands are ever growing. These are reasons enough for the climate changes that we have seen in the recent times. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
What We Do and What It Means
Storing immense amounts of water in dams is a good enough reason for earthquakes to happen. So is injecting pressurized water into the earth, called fracking, during oil and natural gas exploration operations. Other factors including the decimation of forests, freshwater depletion for industrial agriculture, rampant use of pesticides and plastics are causing the extinction of many species on such a large scale that it cannot even be comprehended. The last time that such a major extinction occurred as that of the dinosaurs (65 million years ago).
We know not what we do when we decide to use insecticides to eliminate a few insects that harm our crops. Many useful insects are becoming extinct (e.g., bees) because of this. Wild forests are cleared indiscriminately to accommodate passive plantations. Environmentalists that have fought to retain what is left of the rare temperate forests from being logged have been given names.
Clearly, those that destroy forests, water bodies, or the atmosphere around us without any regard or when they are insensitive to the consequences that such acts can bring can be called eco-terrorists.
We now seem to have clearly misunderstood the word ecology and economy that stem from the Greek word ‘oikos’ meaning household. The word imposes a domain. The humans have, however, learned to live anywhere on the earth whether it is the mountains, deserts, or plains and wreak havoc as time passes on. There are no defining domains for us humans, the words ecology and economy do not seem to hold any meaning for us, and ecologists and economists no longer can function according to their definitions.
Climate change has happened because of the over-dependence of humans on the use of fossil fuels. So much so, this dependence has been the root cause for the many wildfires, floods, hurricanes, melting of glaciers, inundation of land by water that have had far-reaching consequences and effects on our lives. So who do we have to blame? It is definitely not God. It is time we stopped talking about acts of God.
It is more than necessary to exercise caution and try to eliminate these ‘natural’ disasters with the strong urgency that is required. These are not ‘acts of God’ any longer; they can now be called ‘(mis)Deeds of Man’.
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