Special Kids Section

Just how 'natural' are natural disasters?


Peru, a country in northwest South America that's home to 32 million people, is a place at risk of flooding and mudslides. These so-called natural disasters can wipe out whole villages and leave few survivors. But you can hardly call these "natural" at all.

Some of the rise in water is caused by glaciers melting. Glaciers are melting faster because the atmosphere is getting hotter and hotter from the greenhouse gas emissions. This is mostly humans' fault.

In April 2017, a giant mudslide wiped out most of Trujillo, in northern Peru. It destroyed 14,000 homes and killed more than 100 people. People in the surrounding areas are scared that their town could be next.

Thankfully, there are people who are trying to stop global warming. That's definitely a long-term project. In the meantime, there are people helping the flooded villages and reporters bringing us news.

Eric Mack, a local writer (and full disclosure, my father), is going to go to Peru with my family in June and report on the handful of villages at risk of floods.

"I'm particularly interested in a phenomenon called glacial lake outburst flooding, which happens when chunks of ice from glaciers fall into adjacent lakes, sometimes sending waves and floodwaters toward villages below," says Mack.

Global warming has a serious impact on every part of Earth. In many places -- not just Peru -- glaciers are melting and causing damage to countless cities and their inhabitants. It also means that animals, like those near the North and South poles, are slowly dying off. These animals are precious to hundreds of ecosystems and once they're gone, a long chain of events could lead to the precious plants and animals we depend on for food also to slowly go extinct.

Unless we do something about it.

I hope that in the future, the plants will still be green and the mountaintops will still be covered with snow.


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