Disasters in Myanmar (Burma) and China -- Thoughts and Lessons

by Diane Brandon (Page 2 of  4)

             One thing we do not want to do is to panic or live in a state of fear or worry.  It's important instead to be centered and clear.  This is the only way in which we can live and act proactively.  Reminding ourselves that everything does happen for a reason is something we want to do on a regular basis.

 

             There are other lessons for us, especially in the cyclone that devastated Myanmar.  (FYI, a cyclone is the same type of storm as a hurricane or a typhoon.  These storms go by different names according to where they occur.)  And these lessons are, once again, environmental ones.

 

             The cyclone that hit Myanmar had 120 mile-per-hour winds.  As someone who grew up paying attention to hurricanes in New Orleans, I can tell you that a hurricane or cyclone with 120 mph winds is a moderate-sized one and not one of the devastating strength of a 150 mph or 175 mph one.

 

             So why did this cyclone wreak so much devastation?  It turns out that much of Myanmar's coastal wetlands and delta had been lost, including its mangrove forests, to make room for shrimp farms and rice paddies in the past decade.  And guess what?  Wetlands and deltas serve as a natural, God-given barrier to storms.

 

             This is exactly what has happened in Louisiana and that allowed Katrina, another moderate category 3 hurricane, to cause so much devastation:  the loss of delta, marshlands, and wetlands to commercial development and the oil/gas industry.

 

             We are now being given lessons on how some natural features in our world actually serve to protect us -- and how their destruction is now causing problems for us.  Another case in point is coastal erosion in North Carolina.  One increasing concern in eastern North Carolina is salt water intrusion into the aquifers.  It turns out that wetlands serve as a natural filter for salt water and wetlands destruction on the coast of North Carolina is now resulting in the salt water intrusion into the aquifers -- and the aquifers serve as a water source for communities.

                                                                                                        (Continued)

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