quinta-feira, 14 de abril de 2011
Terremotos: Existe mais ou temos mais conhecimentos sobre eles?
First, I’d like to point out that these ideas are not mutually exclusive. Recent upheavals in Egypt are unprecedented in our time. Even in the 1980s, the 2010 Haiti earthquake that killed an estimated 222,570 people would have been news, as would have the recent earthquake/tsunami in Japan and the ensuing nuclear panic.
What has changed is our ability to instantly charge our vision with footage on demand, our ability to donate to causes immediately, and our ability to communicate about current events. But that doesn’t change the facts.
To illustrate this, I have taken one aspect of recent phenomena that is getting a lot of attention: Earthquakes.
The yearly worldwide average for earthquakes that register between 7.0 and 7.9 on the Richter scale is 15. In 2010, there were 21 quakes at that intensity. So far in 2011, there have been eight. We’re past the halfway point in terms of the average, but we’re only four months into the year. Check out the graph below, keeping in mind that the red line at 15 is the average for quakes
between 7.0 and 7.9.
Though the Sumatran earthquake and ensuing tsunami killed more people than the more recent one in Haiti, it’s the Haitian one we remember. Did you know that 228,802 people were killed in the Sumatran earthquake of 2004? I feel a little bad about myself saying that I didn’t, but until I started researching this piece, I didn’t. I’d love it if readers would comment on this to get a general idea of public knowledge about this earthquake.
So, the questions still remain: Do we know so much about the Haitian earthquake because of changes in the media? Is our awareness of it affected by our interconnection? Has the media changed the way it covers news in the last six or seven years? Is it Haiti’s proximity to the US media machine that made for such extensive coverage of the Haiti quake?
And there are more questions not examined here. For instance, although the Haitian quake is part of the world consciousness now, have we all moved on? Have the uprising in Egypt, the chaos in Libya, the more recent quake in Japan, and other recent events made what happened in Haiti old news? Do we stop caring when a crisis is no longer front page news? Or do we reach a saturation level that makes us look for something new?
For many, it’s easy to ignore the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps that’s because it’s been going on for so long now that people just think, “Not that again.” News is a profitable business, and websites, TV, and the print papers that remain need to be attractive to readers so they can be attractive to advertisers. We tune in and move on and there’s plenty to move on to.
As far as earthquakes go, they tend to occur in clusters. While we are going through a period with higher than average instances of big earthquakes, it doesn’t mean that things will continue this way forever. 2010 and 2011 (so far) are big quake years, which statistically means that in upcoming years, we should see fewer quakes.
So, is there more going on now, or are we just more connected? My answer is: Can’t it be both?
Texto original: Fonte