In previous articles we’ve noted the beginnings of the dissolution of society in the industrialized west. Demonstrations are occurring in the United States and Europe, but differ from what’s happening in North Africa. In the United States, it’s the curried state labor unions trying to keep their politically motivated victories over state legislatures intact. They want to avoid the job losses and pay cuts and home foreclosures that taxpayers have had to endure. Their attempts to prevent the spreading of misery are doomed because the state coffers are empty. If the money isn’t there, it can’t be spent and taxpayers, who are the majority, will not stand for another tax increase to preserve their privileged lifestyle. In Europe, the demonstrations are by entitlement receivers protesting possible cuts in their free medical care, free education, and free pensions.
In addition to demonstrations by government workers and entitlement receivers, riots are taking place and governments are falling in North Africa from a youth-centered population fed up supporting dictators whose only talents are suppression of expression and a self-indulgent life style. Herculean efforts are required in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China to prevent the sparks of revolt from settling there.
Now the earth is rocking and rolling, possibly in disgust to the pollution and environmental degradation of its surface. The violent earthquake in Japan warns us again that human life is precariously perched on a living planet.
Actually earthquake activity has been growing over the past half-century. One reason why earthquake activity has been going up is the growing number of seismic recorders – we’re detecting more earthquakes because we have better earthquake detection instruments. But earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above do not need seismographs to be detected. They make their presence known without any human assistance.
This chart shows magnitude 7 earthquakes and above. Clearly the earth has become more active since the 1960s. 2010 had a record breaking 22 earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above. The recent Japanese earthquake is not counted in the 2011 figure of 6 earthquakes in the first 70 days of the year.
To me, it looks like birth pangs. Birth pangs, as any mother knows, are first small and hardly noticeable. Then they intensify in magnitude followed by a calm period, and then intensify again with even greater foreboding that birth is imminent.
Folks, it’s time to wake up. Change is coming and the warning signs are getting stronger and occurring more frequently. What that change may be is something each of us has to contemplate. If an angel visited me one night to let me know what’s coming – I’d tell ya’. My crystal ball is as cloudy as yours. One thing for sure: the world tomorrow ain’t going to be like the world today.
Roy Nersesian, a resident of Maplewood, teaches at the Leon Hess School of Business at Monmouth University in West Long Branch and also at the Center for Energy and Marine Transportation at Columbia University. He has authored several books, the last on Energy for the 21st Century published by M.E. Sharpe.