What’s Happening To Mother Earth?
A Mommy In Los Angeles® Magazine Special Report
With information from Víctor Juárez, Iván Sosa and Ernesto Núñez from Reforma Newspaper in Mexico City
Dozens of desperate parents hoping to rescue their children from the Enrique Rébsamen Elementary School in Mexico City that collapsed after Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake, have stayed up nearly 24 hours watching as rescue teams remove debris from what’s left of the building. They’re not giving up hope.
Late Tuesday Night, rescue workers yelled out: “The Parents of Fatima Navarro!” They had just pulled out another child from the rubble. Fatima was alive.
But 22 children died in this school alone and more bodies are expected to be recovered.
On Wednesday, a day after the earthquake, there are still dozens of children and teachers unaccounted for. Mothers can be heard screaming, anxious to clear out the colossal mountain of brick and cement. Meanwhile, efforts are still underway in the southern state of Chiapas to rebuild and heal from the tragic destruction caused by an earlier earthquake that jolted the state on September 7.
In Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria slammed through the island Wednesday morning leaving the entire population without power. This, after many residents were still struggling to recuperate from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The damage has not yet been assessed as 145 MPH winds continue lashing through the island.
The Caribbean and the Bahamas are still in a state of disarray after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose.
In Houston, families are still coming to terms with the destruction left behind by Hurricane Harvey.
The effects of Climate Change?
The devastation caused by the various natural disasters in 2017 alone has left many wondering if there’s a deeper meaning to all the destruction. If perhaps, Mother Nature is reacting to decades of what many consider environmental mistreatment caused by humans.
“Climate change may not be responsible for the recent skyrocketing cost of natural disasters, but it is very likely that it will impact future catastrophes,” says NASA.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will likely boost temperatures over most land surfaces, which could result in higher global temperatures. Hotter temperatures can produce drought and increased intensity of storms, including tropical cyclones with higher wind speeds, a wetter Asian monsoon, and more intense mid-latitude storms, says the Panel.
One top U.S. Scientist, John Holdren, told the National Geographic the world needs to “completely decarbonize.”
With that statement, Holdren, who worked as a science advisor for the Obama Administration, was referring to the elimination of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions, produced by motor vehicles and industrial processes which create pollutants in the atmosphere.
“As a world we need carbon emissions to be in the vicinity of 50 percent below those of 2000 by 2050. They need to get close to zero by the end of the century we’re now in, close to zero by 2100, and ultimately all the way to zero,” Holdren said. “Is it feasible? Yes, it is certainly technically feasible. The real question is ‘can we make the needed changes rapidly enough to get there as quickly as we need to?’”
Dealing with Catastrophe in Mexico
Meanwhile, in Mexico City, thousands of families are doing what they can to stay focused and assist with rescue efforts when possible. Much of their coping has been through prayer. The country has a deep-rooted Catholic faith.
Gabriela Espinosa, a seventh grade geography teacher at Escuela Secundaria Técnica no. 84 “Belisario Domínguez Palencia” says classes will be cancelled until authorities feel the campus is safe enough for students to return.
“When it started shaking, I told my students ‘Let’s go now!’,” recalls Espinosa, who is a mom of two children in the Iztapalapa delegation of Mexico City.
She says they made their way to the evacuation staircase which was extremely crowded with students and staff trying to make their way out. Kids could be heard crying and screaming.
“The shaking was so strong; it was very hard to walk down the stairs. I kept saying: ‘Let’s do this, you can do it. Be calm. You’re all going to be fine,’” recalls Espinosa.
Since many structures in Mexico City are made of plaster, cement and brick, people are at high risk of injury during an earthquake. That was the case at Espinosa’s school.
As she continued down the stairs, she saw her co-worker, a fellow teacher stay behind, unable to walk down the stairs out of fear and shock.
“I could hear windows shattering and a lot of creaking and banging,” she says. “But I had to get my friend. I pulled her down the stairs and we made it to the designated safe zone.”
Espinosa says students, teachers and other school employees were extremely startled, in one of the most chaotic scenes she has ever experienced.
“Once I counted each one of my students, all I could do was pray and thank God we had survived.”