Dhaka Courier

Global Catastrophes


Exploring Thoughts on Economy, Climate and Nature Author: Bill McGuire, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 987-0-19-280493-8

Bill McGuire is a Benfield professor of geophysical hazards at University College London. He is globally known as a writer of ‘Natural History of Global Disasters’. In 2005, he had written a book on ‘Global Catastrophes’ which is published by Oxford University Press.

This terrifying book elucidates the – earth’s structure, global warming, tsunamis, ice age as well as asteroid and comet impacts. In earth section, writer give details on plate tectonics, El Nino, topographic lights, geological hazards, volcanic eruption, earthquake and landslides. While earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are linked to how our planet functions geologically, other geophysical hazards are more dependent upon processes that operate in the earth atmosphere, author adds.

In general 96% of all deaths arising from natural hazards and environmental degradation where developing states are guiltless sufferer. Particularly the developing cities – Dhaka, Jakarta, Delhi, Sao Paulo, Lagos, and Calcutta are worst victim. Referring the term ‘global warming’ researcher mentions natural hazards – coastal flooding, cyclone, Draught will affect more to people within near future. Also, the concentration of Nitrogen di-oxide (NO2), Carbon di-oxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) would be more in this earth.  Author categorically, analyses that Europe, Asia and Alaska would be heavily affected by giant landslides, volcanic eruptions and earthquake.

Writer refers the earth as insulating blanket where Kyoto Protocol was a great set-up to renovate the global economic and environmental progress. Global leader were committed to reduce green house emissions 5.2%. But it’s a matter of conflict now where Australia, China, USA, UK, Russia, India are really struggling for economic expansion immensely. Context mentions, the earth system or drivers of global states are truly ensured to sustainable development.

Through this snappy, small furnished and stylish design book, Professor Bill McGuire says, by the end of this century the earth is predicted to be hotter than at any time in the past 150,000 years. In addition, by 2100, global temperatures are found to raise by up to 8 degrees celcious. Apart from that, by 2025, about 5 billion people specifically in developing regions with inadequate water supplies, writer adds.

Professor Bill McGuire explicates that, the terrible Asian tsunami of 26 the December 2004 provided us with just a taste of the worst nature can do, destroying 400,00 buildings, killing 300,000 citizens from 40 countries including 100,000 children and leaving an astonishing 8 million people homeless, unemployed and impoverished. As we know that, climate change is a slow-onset event in comparison with the average human lifespan. In this context, we must always keep in our minds that we exist and thrive only by geological accident.

Author in this slime volume also illustrates earth plates with locations of recent disasters, structure of lithosphere, map of annual mean change in temperature between now and 2100, flood waters from hurricane Katrina cover streets of New Orleans 2005, satellite image of Lake Toba, Zones of destruction due to variously sized asteroid impacts centered on London.

Geophysical hazards specialist McGuire finally asked, who knows, over that incomprehensible length of time, what Homo Sapiens and the species and those that follow may be knocked back time and time again in the short term, but provided we learn to nurture our environment rather than exploit it, both here on earth – before the sun eventually swallows it up and later, perhaps in the solar system and the galaxy and beyond, then we have the time to do and be almost anything. Writer finishes by saying may be now is the right time to start.

A very short introduction on ‘Global Catastrophes’ is amazing piece to learn the science behind the threats we race. It helps us to indicate imminent dangers, distant possibilities and finally what are our chances of survival.

Reviewed By Shishir Reza, Environmental Analyst & Associate Member of Bangladesh Economic Association.

  • DhakaCourier
  • Vol 35
  • Reviewed By Shishir Reza
  • Issue 40
  • Global Catastrophes

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