With the unfortunate, consecutive disasters happening around the world lately, it is not enough to offer our prayers, our condolences and our immediate relief in times of crisis. With every natural disaster that occurs, we are astounded by the damage, but we never learn from it. The earthquakes in Haiti had immeasurable impact on the citizens and left the world mourning, yet how many of us in disaster prone areas are prepared with an earthquake emergency kit? The sense of urgency to take action disappears within a few days. Natural disasters are uncontrollable, but we must try to limit the impact as much as possible, and it certainly can be reduced with the right measures in place.

 

Many damages from landslides and floods can be significantly reduced if proper disaster diversion steps are taken when warnings are issued. We simply need to be more proactive instead of reactive. For example, the 2011 Fukushima earthquake triggered a tsunami whose destructive impact was increased with the meltdown of a nearby nuclear power plant, leading to harmful radiation. Knowing it was in an earthquake disaster zone, the local government should have been more cautious with the hazards in their vicinity when constructing the power plant.

 

Proactivity is also essential in combating the climate change that we think is centuries away, and whose consequences we only plan on dealing with in the distant future. Every year the Earth is hitting record high temperatures. We are not waiting for global warming to wipe out the planet; we are watching it happen. The planet is being destroyed in front of our eyes, yet we are still allowing these atrocities to occur. We have all come to believe that climate change is an inevitable catastrophe. Instead of relying on an exit strategy to Mars, we need to save the only planet we have: the Earth. We should be putting in our full efforts to make sure it is still habitable. Our collective efforts can bring about change if we just stay more informed of our impact on Earth. We can start utilizing our consumer demand power for more environmentally friendly products and methods of transportation. We can contact our MP’s and be vocal about what issues matter to us. We can utilize our civil right to vote and make sure our interests are reflected in the government’s platform. There has been a lot of opposition and uproar over environmental decisions, such as Trudeau’s plan to continue with the Keystone XL pipeline and America’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement. However, active protests have hindered both decisions from proceeding for now. For instance, despite America not being obliged to, many American corporations still aim to meet previous goals set under the Paris Agreement.

 

We may not realize it, but even our signature on a petition, or our boycotting of an unethical action, can accumulate and lessen the impacts of global warming — and who knows, may even save a village in Bangladesh from being swallowed by flood waters.