Too many people in our world today – and particularly our youth – are worrying themselves sick to the point of suicide when thinking of our current Covid-19 pandemic, so-called climate change, possible international hostilities and natural disasters in general.
To get things into perspective, all they need do is to study the history of the world and that of their ancestors. This will readily prove to them that, today, we really have relatively little to concern us so deeply over such matters as major disasters, temperature changes, deadly storms, tsunamis, floods, wars and deadly pandemics.
History shows us, for instance, that previous known cyclic climate changes creating widespread droughts since the year 1315 AD have caused catastrophic periods of famine killing, to date, a known total of over 56 million people.
Floods, typhoons and cyclones (all also caused by climate variations) have since the beginning of recorded history accounted for over 12 million drownings, with the Yellow River floods in China being responsible for over 6 million deaths alone.
Our globe has also previously experienced being entirely covered by snow and ice which is now known as the Snowball Earth period. Over millions of years since then, we have had five major ice ages caused by climate change. These are the Huronian (2.4 to 2.1 million years ago, the Cryogenian (850 to 635 years ago), the Andean-Saharan (469 to 430 years ago), the Karoo in Africa (360 to 260 years ago), and the Late Cenozoic (34 million years ago). As for our current position re major ice age changes, we are now in a warming interglacial period that began 11,000 years ago and not with the start of our modern Industrial Age as so many climate change pundits will today have us believe.
Wars between competing tribes and countries since 549 BC have alone accounted for almost a billion deaths. In 264 BC to 146 BC, for example, the Punic Wars within the Roman Empire accounted for 1.8 million fatalities, the Jewish-Roman Wars in the years 66 AD to 136 AD killed off about 1.75 million people, the Three Kingdoms Wars in China resulted in a death toll of 36-40 million, the Yellow Turban War in China between 184 AD and 205 AD destroyed up to 7 million lives, the Moorish Wars in 534 AD accounted for 5 million deaths, the Reconquista Wars in Spain and Portugal were responsible for 10 million killings, the Lushan Rebellion in China between 755 and 763 AD saw up to 36 million citizens killed, the Mongul Conquests between 1206 AD and 1368 AD killed off a further 40 million, the Conquests of Timor in 1370 to 1495 saw between 8 and 20 million lives lost, the Spanish Conquest of the Incas killed off 8.4 million, the Maratha Empire War in India between 1658 AD and 1707 AD had a 5 million death toll while the 12-year Napoleonic Wars from 1803 accounted for about 7 million deaths. And this list is only a portion of the total number of recorded wars!
As far as past pandemics are concerned, the worst in known history is the Black Death of 1346 AD to 1353 AD when between 75 million and 200 million men, women and children perished in Europe, Asia and North Africa. The Roman Empire’s Antonine Plague of 1545 AD to 1548 AD was responsible for about 50 million victims and the 1520 AD Mexico Smallpox outbreak registered over 7 million deaths.
On top of all this, history also shows us that vast numbers of people have also died as a result of earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, major fires, heatwaves and icy blizzards right back to Biblical times at least. So why are so many people around the world complaining that China is a threat, that the world is about to end and that life in general has never before been so dangerous and bad? Why are our mental ill-health statistics soaring on the mistaken belief that there is no hope for the living? All we have to do is realise that we humans have always been subject to the vagaries of natural climate change cycles and to humankind’s cycles of power lusting over riches and land. And, statistically, we have never so far had it so good compared with recorded history.
Oscar Tamsen, Yamba