Thursday, 5 August 2010


Our sympathies must go to the people flooded out of their homes in Pakistan.
However monsoon rains have been a regular occurrence for thousands of years so why was this so bad and affected so many people?
There are two main reasons, people and goats.

The population of Pakistan has increased exponentially and many of the mountains have been deforested to obtain wood for building and cooking.
Additionally the goats eat the remaining herbage and leave the mountains barren. Thus when rain does come there is no green cover to absorb it and the water rapidly flows down the steep bare hillsides.

People have been increasingly crowded into valley floor villages and the sheer numbers of them make living in unsuitable places inevitable.
No effort to curb this population growth as muslim tradition teaches "inshalla"or God's will. Thus if you starve to death or drown it is the will of God and man can do nothing. People just accept their fate.
Western civilisation takes a different attitude in that people are often responsible for disasters which are often man made, but also with thoughtful planning these can be averted.

For instance limitation of family size is an important difference, and thus pressure on land resources.
Also we take care not to denude our mountains of plants which can thus act as a sponge. Admittedly we see problems with flooding now mainly owing to concreting over our land and increasing the speed of surface water run off.

Unfortunately people from Pakistan are coming here in increasing numbers and bringing their fatalistic habits with them. Our population is increasing rapidly as a result with consequent pressure on our land with increasing numbers of houses needed to accommodate them.
We are overpopulated ourselves and problems of flooding will increase in line with the population.

The goats? Cattle are too big for Pakistani areas but the goats provide protein in their meat and animals for ritual slaughter. Yes the people need some meat but perhaps the muslims irrational attitude to pigs could be one contributor to the problem.
If they kept pigs for protein and let the mountains regenerate their vegetation there would surely have been less severe floods.

But then, what can you do when it is God's will that they are unholy and therefore banned.

Another cause of human distressm the mulim religion and its food prohibitions and its insistence on large families.

The last thing we need here is more of this medieval and superstitious religion.

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