Can you be guilty of faulty earthquake prediction…

Sorry for the interruption in you regular feminist broadcast but I read something this morning that I cannot ignore… and as you can imagine it is informed by my ecofeminist thinking.

In Italy seismologists are being charged with manslaughter because they failed to predict a 2009 earthquake that killed 300 people.  This just seems absurd to me. Have we truly become so egotistical that we think we can know everything – particularly about the behavior of the earth?  I mean please, Al Roker  and his meteorologist buddies can’t even nail down snow storms until their right on top of us – so how on earth do we think that a bunch of guys with gadgets that are thousands of miles above platonic faults are supposed to know that the ground is shake.  Also, can we sue Al – charge him with the death of a homeless man who got caught out in a storm? Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it.

Sometimes people die and it’s horrible. But there is not always some one to blame. Earthquakes happen. Just like the lion might eat you if you muck about in his territory. There are things that are nature that science can’t predict.

Paula Gunn Allen wrote and essay entitled “The Woman I Love is a Planet and The Planet I Love is a Tree,” in which she implies that perhaps we have inflated the importance of the human being by forgetting that humans are just a part of a larger system – the ecosystem. For Gunn Allen, we are a part of the earth, rather than the earth being something we can control, and any mistreatment that we inflict on our own bodies is mistreatment of the earthly body. So hating ourselves, starving ourselves, hating our bodies is hating the earth.  Gunn Allen also notes that like our bodies the earth goes through changes – she likens the earth’s current state to menopause – and argues that ultimately her (the earth’s) changes with trump our desires and our science – because really in comparison to her we are no more or less significant than ants.

I mention Gunn Allen because I see a link between the information she is trying to impart and the lunacy of thinking that a scientist’s prediction could outwit the earth. She (the earth) will do as she pleases – and really, we are at her mercy. She was here before us and she’ll be here when we’re gone.


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