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Disasters and the environment: is there a link?

A destroyed car sits in the remains of a home Oct. 9 after wildfires in Santa Rosa, Calif. A series of deadly Northern California wildfires has killed at least 17 people, destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, including a section of Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa. (CNS photo/John G. Mabanglo, EPA) See CALIFORNIA-FIRES Oct. 11, 2017.

by Vernon Khelawan

In recent times the number of natural disasters that are occurring around the world seem to be either increasing or our communications modes have become much better. We are more fully endowed of the many happenings around the globe.

The severity of these disasters, natural and man-made, are reasons enough to make one stop and think about why all this is occurring. Is it that mankind is treating God’s gift to us – the environment – so insensitively and is further unresponsive to the many calls to use His creation more judiciously and is therefore upping the ante for our continued digressions with death and destruction?

Hurricane Ophelia which started out in the Atlantic spun around and went east impacting Ireland. In all my life I have not witnessed this phenomenon. When you look around and see these disasters, you are forced to take note. It tells us something is wrong.

Right here at home we have very little respect for our surroundings and testimony to this is all around us. Just look at the many beaches, rivers, camping areas and other liming spots; and even around our homes and workplaces. We see GARBAGE, lots of it and the severely lacking garbage collection systems do not help.

Most likely it is the way we treat the environment that is causing such monumental changes in the various weather patterns. His great concern for God’s earth caused Pope Francis to write an entire encyclical about the abuses carried out on the environment – Laudato Si .

And although this is not lost on us in this minuscule space of the Caribbean, it is imperative that we become more sensitive of our environment and do everything we can to support a clean scene. For example, when we plan a ‘lime’, we need to think about everything including garbage bags to collect our waste.

In the Caribbean two major hurricanes (Irma and Maria) have devastated several islands and proved to be no respecter of nationality. It destroyed islands belonging to the United Kingdom, the United States, the French and the Dutch. The independent ones did not escape.

Three major hurricanes have hit the United States this year alone, and we still have five weeks to go during this hurricane season. One is forced to ask: Why? Huge infernos have burnt almost 250,000 acres of California land in the wine district and destroying at least 5,000 homes, stores and other structures, and killed almost 50 and counting.

Earthquakes in Mexico have killed hundreds and wrought severe destruction, and more shake-ups in Italy and Japan. Even in Trinidad and Tobago there have been floods caused by the scarring of the verdant hills in an effort to provide expensive multiplexes.

There is a verse in the Bible which goes something like this: “Those who have eyes to see, let them see and those who have ears to hear, let them hear”. That little gem is surely coming to pass. When you consider all the natural disasters, the turmoil mounts and one must consider what these signs portend.

Is God unhappy at how the people in this world treat His wonderful creation?