Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Man's Obsession with Nature

       I am sure you have all heard about the terrible tragedy that recently occurred with longtime storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and colleague Carl Young. Tim Samaras was a pioneer for storm chasing, an expert in tornadoes. He was not only known for his knowledge and bravery in chasing tornado winds but also his keen ability to escape death and injury these storms are known for causing. He chased and faced the fast winds but did so in a way that was safe, taking great care of himself as well as his colleagues. His success in researching while chasing tornado winds has encouraged many copycats who have made hobbies of such a dangerous job. People who are in a desperate search for money, excitement, and fame but mostly clueless in what they are doing. The odd reality is that they end up surviving the weather violence in Oklahoma while the expert loses his life.
       Nature is a wonderful thing. Man often get lost in nature. People will spend millions of dollars to travel thousands of miles to remote parts of Africa and Asia in order to take pictures, catch glimpses of certain rare creatures. Excitement seekers will spend much time and money in order to climb over dangerously steep mountains and cliffs. Adventurers will travel miles deep into the oceans and seas in order to feel close to man eating sharks, jellyfish, or a puffer fish. As the world knows a creature does not have to carry fierce looking teeth in order to cause harm. Steve Irwin, the famous 'Crocodile Hunter' was killed by a measly stingray. But even tragic incidences like his has not taught the human population that there are much more to these creatures and nature than what we art taught in books and films.
       Going back to Tim Samaras and his mission, he has said that he is providing critical data from research in order to help meteorologists to better understand storm weather patterns which will enable them to better predict the behavior of future storms. But like Steve Irwin was not able to predict the behavior of a seemingly harmless stingray can we expect humans to predict storms, rains, and wind, things that we cannot talk to or hear logical data from? Is it possible that all these information received from years of storm chasing can be setting storm chasers, weather reporters up for another future disaster from another surprising twist from a storm we do not understand?
       What is wrong with man stating that he simply does not know? I am not saying that weather chasing or studying weather patterns is a complete waste of time, but when one is running after a storm that that is blowing tree trunks and 2 by 4's with winds at the speed of over 100 milers per hour the individual has to think whether or not what he is doing is really worth the inevitable risk. The fact is that the patterns and formations of tornadoes is extremely complicated, with data likely much more puzzling then one will find by simply viewing a film of an actual storm. Obviously a storm moving 100 plus miles an hour is very dangerous and whomever is in the storms path needs to pray and find the lowest shelter to hide, but in reality is there really anything a person can expect to do while facing so much pressure and fury? Is there anymore information that humans need regarding tornadoes except that they move fast and are dangerous?
       Mankind often has an obsession with nature but at times that obsession, like with anything else, can turn into a cancerous problem. I am not against learning. I love science and I enjoy reading about storms and animals. I don't believe that educating people about animals is that important that I must stick my head in between the jaws of a crocodile nor do I believe that I must follow a 100 plus mile an hour fierce storm in order to further educate myself about tornadoes. Common sense tells me that when the newsman reports a warning of a deadly storm, I should leave. Common sense tells me that if I place my head in between the jaws of a crocodile I might get decapitated. Common sense tells me that I should not jump inside the cage of a chimpanzee even if it looks like the friendly appearing creature I have often seen on television. Unfortunately the tv and media won't encourage such vital education so I must learn on my own and remind myself of such useful information.
       God bless Tim Samaras, his son Paul and his TWISTEX team member Carl Young. Their death was very sad and tragic, but also an important lesson. Let us not forget the lesson of what is worth and what is not worth losing one's life over.