The author thinks that natural disasters are getting worse because he doesn’t know history – or (apparently) how to use Google news searches. Natural disasters claim far fewer lives now than they did one hundred years ago.
For those of us wedded to the idea of human development, we try to draw lessons from the catastrophes we manage to live through. One lesson we need to learn is that the impact of natural disasters will continue to grow. When I was a teenager back in the ancient 1960′s, there were about three billion people on Earth. In New York City this past Sunday March 13, 2011 at 11:15 AM , the World Population Clock estimated there were 6,878,805,516 people on the planet. Starting in 2007 the majority of those people lived in cities, and many of us live along coasts and in other places that put us in the pathway of probable natural disaster. If human history tells us anything, that will not change, and as our population grows to a probable peak of ten billion, it will only get worse. It is not that we will see more natural disasters; it is that our human population and built-up settlements are increasingly vulnerable to them.