When you think about it -- I mean, really sit down and think -- you have to admit that the Earth rocks (and not just the tectonic plates!). Like, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires? Earth does what Earth's gotta do. Dump a shitload of water over the southern coast of the USA? No big deal. Shake enough to drive a thousand cracks into the ground? Done. And yet, despite her daily duties, Earth manages to keep revolving around the sun.
It's easy to sit back here, in my stable house in inland Maryland, where the one earthquake I've ever experienced barely registered on the Richter scale and where we get "tropical storms," hurricanes' weaker cousins, and praise the earth for all her wonders. I mean, if I look at it objectively, natural disasters happen to every species on the planet, and they are -- as horrible as it sounds -- a necessary way to keep the population down. Disease, tornadoes, war, death -- if they didn't exist, neither would any of us. We'd overrun the planet. We'd kill us all by our sheer mass. So, yeah, I can look at any awful thing that happens to other people and shake my head and say, "Wow, that sucks, but it's part of life."
Except -- it's different when it happens to you. Most of us don't want to die of anything but old age, and none of us want to die suffering. Earthquakes fascinate me, but I don't want one to destroy my house and kill my family. Shit's always going to happen, but that doesn't lessen the suckitude of each individual incident.
In the end, I think that we have to continue to do what we're doing now: avoid natural disasters when we can, regulate ourselves so we don't cause not-so-natural disasters, and help clean up when the inevitable happens. And -- accept that no matter how often our leaders issue statements of condolence, no matter how much technology improves, no matter how many people suffer and die, this is a part of life, but not a part of life to accept in a defeated silence. Earth gives us so much, but she takes so much as well. By agreeing to stay on this planet, we must accept that, as the saying goes, no one makes it through life alive. The best we can do is extend a hand -- and more than that, extend our resources, our workers, and our hearts -- when something like this happens. We all live under an incredible amount of risk each day. We're all human. We can't control Earth, so instead, we all help.