The Bhola cyclone killed about 500,000 people on November 12, 1970 in the country now called Bangladesh. The World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, had 2,752 casualties, thus for every one of those victims there were over 180 deaths from the cyclone. Also, it was twice as deadly as the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004, which struck Sumatra, Indonesia. The RMS Titanic sank with 1,517 lost on April 14 1912, two hours and forty minutes after striking an iceberg . World War One (WWI) with a proximate cause, the Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, cost 15 million people their lives and 65 million if you include the influenza deaths. List of natural disasters. With all of these disasters there was sufficient time for most of the victims to have saved themselves if they had responded to warnings.
The EarthArk Project is intended to help humanity survive the coming disasters which await it, which eventually will be enormously greater than any of those above. It is easy to convince oneself that a great tragedy will never strike humanity again because nothing really awful has happened during most living people’s lives. The average median age for humans is now about 27.5 years. Which means the average person was born in 1984 and didn’t become historically aware until about age twenty or about 2004. Nothing really horrid has happened since then and so modern humans worry about global warming. That of course is bad but it doesn’t compare to 3% of living humans being killed in an event like WWII or 17% of everyone being killed with the Mongol invasions. See the list of wars and disasters by death toll to get some idea what a really nasty problem might be. Probably half the people alive today couldn’t identify half the top ten most destructive wars of history. Click the link to see if you know them. If that is true about a typical human’s awareness of humanity-wide tragedy it is easy to understand why so few people worry about those kinds of problems, even in the abstract.
We have been living in the most wonderful time in human history and a simple proof of that seemingly wild statement is that both in percentage and in absolute numbers, humanity has grown prodigiously during the last hundred years, from less than 2 billion to about 7 billion. If there had been a similar sized percentage drop in population everyone would be terrified about the future. Also, in our world there has been exciting technical growth so we have wonderful health and entertainments to enjoy. I don’t feel I am a gloom and doomer when I say the good times will last for a while longer, but not forever. By a while longer, it would seem that another ten years to twenty years is quite possible for the good times to last, but it strikes me that fifty years is being awfully optimistic and one hundred years without a mega-disaster seems doubtful. But that means a college age person can expect to see very severe problems and a newborn to see catastrophic ones. I am not being a prophet when saying these things; it’s just that some things will run out and of course the worst one running short will be food. When it happens things will transition very quickly.
People are extremely reluctant to respond to warnings without previous personal experience, and it is estimated that 90% of the population of Bangladesh was aware of the cyclone before it hit, but only about 1% sought refuge in fortified structures. Current humanity’s experience has been almost wholly positive for several decades, even for young adults’ parents and grandparents, so it is almost impossible for the average person to conceive of these things. Only the study of history can possibly convince anyone of coming super-serious problems, and very few people will bother with that. So, the future will be dominated by people with no concept of impending problems and humanity will stumble forward into catastrophe. We can help it recover if we use a little foresight, but that’s about the most we can do. Continue working as if humanity can be saved.
The EarthArk Project is intended to save the seeds of all civilization and nature, upon which to rebuild a vibrant new world.