The Haitian earthquake and how it relates to climate change

Adarsha Shivakumar


February 4, 2010

ace students image

When the earthquake struck Haiti, hundreds of thousands of people died, were injured, or were displaced. Millions more lost family, and the country, even now, is in a state of ruin. The loss of life and devastation to the infrastructure of the previously-poor country will take years, if not decades to recover from. Experts had predicted the Haitian earthquake sometime beforehand, yet they were unable to know when exactly the earthquake would strike. Earthquakes are a kind of natural disaster that we do not have the power to predict, let alone stop (yet). However, there are things that we can do-not build buildings on fault lines, and reinforce the ones that are so that they are less prone to falling or being structurally compromised if an earthquake does happen. Anthropogenic climate change is different as it is a large issue that has been primarily caused by man. Although its effects are not immediately as big-and it is a problem that CAN be mitigated we are not taking this issue seriously. We can see the effects of climate change, and though we may not be able to exactly determine the tipping point, we know general indicators of the status of the situation (polar ice caps, permafrost, etc.).  Humans need to realize that like earthquakes, the consequences of climate change are devastating. Hundreds of thousands dead due to famines and changing weather patterns, plus the hundreds of millions displaced due to rising sea levels are staggering consequences.

Climate change will be a disaster if we don’t start mitigating it right now. Unlike earthquakes, we can change our actions to help mitigate climate change (by adopting cleaner technologies and making our lifestyles more sustainable).The important thing to note is that although there ARE natural disasters which we CAN’T prevent, like the Haitian earthquake, we CAN help prevent or mitigate climate change if we all come together and work towards it. Finally I urge every one of you choose your own DOT (Link to what a DOT is here: and join us against the fight against climate change.


EDIT: Well, it seems that climate change may indeed have an effect on tectonics after all, according to this link:  which, if proven true, further demonstrate the Pandora’s box we might be opening.

Adarsha Shivakumar

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