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A Guide to the End of the World Everything You Never Wanted to Know by Bill McGuireDanger Nature at workWe are so used to seeing on our television screens the battered remains of cities pounded by earthquakes or the thousands of terrified refugees escaping from yet another volcanic blast that they no longer hold any surprise or fear for us insulated as we are by distance and a lack of true empathy Although not entirely immune to disaster themselves the great majority of citizens fortunate enough to live in prosperous Europe North America or Oceania view great natural catastrophes as ephemeral events that occur in strange lands far far away Mildly interesting but only rarely impinging upon a daily existence within which a murder in a popular soap opera or a win by the local football team holds far more interest than 50000 dead in a Venezuelan mudslide Remarkably such an attitude even prevails in regions of developed countries that are also susceptible to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes Talk to the citizens of Mammoth in California about the threat of their local volcano exploding into life or to the inhabitants of Memphis Tennessee about prospects for their city being levelled by a major quake and they are likely to shrug and point out that they have far more immediate things to worry about The only explanation is that these people are in denial They are quite aware that terrible disaster will strike at some point in the future - they just cant accept that it might happen to them or their descendants When it comes to natural catastrophes on a global scale such an attitude is virtually omnipresent pervading national governments international agencies multinational trading blocks and much of the scientific community There is some cause for optimism however and
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