Ecological Disasters

While there is still some official resistance, it has become increasingly evident to most of us that we humans are negatively affecting the health of our environment, our planet, and everything living on it, including ourselves. The general public has come to accept that global warming, pollution, species extinction, etc., are all valid and critical problems that we must address or face impending disasters.

Disasters have spread throughout the land and sea, because of what the people have committed. He thus lets them taste the consequences of some of their works, that they may return (to the right works).     Quran 30:41

More and more people are trying to “return to the right works” and clean up the mess we have created in our own nest. But things have gone pretty far and it will take time, and in some cases there may not be enough time.



The earth is a physically closed system, and what we do in any one area may have effects throughout. The melting of the polar ice caps that is caused by global warming is one example.  Our reluctance to move quickly to reign in greenhouse gases will certainly affect many species, both plant and animal, and may doom some like the polar bear.

Polar bear


As intelligent creatures why are we facing these current dilemmas? What is wrong in the human psyche that we have brought things to this point?

Surely there are many factors, but most boil down to a lack of true appreciation. When you appreciate something you care for it rather than taking it for granted or abusing it. Our modern technology plays a role here too. It has allowed us in the West to build societies that have divorced themselves from the natural world. We live in climate controlled homes, work in climate controlled buildings and ride in climate controlled vehicles. Our food apparently comes out of the box, not out of the ground. Our air is filtered and scented and our water bottled, etc.

Children grow up having what seems to be an ever decreasing interaction with the natural world. For most their lives are centered in an urban environment, and  an increasingly technological one at that. They are expert at surfing the web, but fewer and fewer have ever walked the beach.


bird walking on Beach


It is hard to truly appreciate something that you have not experienced in any real way. Many people have never taken a walk in the woods much less slept in them! Often what we know of nature is derived from the media, not from our own experience at all.

And yet we must vote on essential environmental issues. We elect representatives to regulate the use of natural resources and safeguard our natural heritage. All without the necessary context for the decisions being made. Instead we decide based upon sound bites.

There is another factor in this issue. Many, if not most, of us often do not realize what we have until we are faced with losing it. The fact that so many are now aware that we may lose so much is hopeful, and with hope comes action.

More and more people reuse and recycle. More and more are trying to cut down on energy usage, both in their homes and on the road. And in today’s economy these measures help not only the environment, but also the pocketbook.

There is a great deal more that we must do individually and collectively, but people and policies are changing, and we can all help that process along. For some concrete things that can be done please see the topic on Sustainability.


Crab: Please recycle
Please Recycle