Back in April of 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia created the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The estimated 800 megaton explosion killed at least 71,000 – and possibly hundreds of thousands more (if not millions) due to the chaotic climactic shifts that followed. More than 400 million tons of sulfuric gases were ejected into the atmosphere, leading to the often-cited “Year Without a Summer” in North America and Europe. Crops failed, livestock died, and heavy snows in the U.S. fell well into July. In other words, it was a terrible event – and one that may be poised to happen again.
Authorities yesterday raised the volcano-threat level for Tambora to its second-highest level; causing residents to flee.
“It was like a horror story, growing up,” one villager told the AP. “A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”
Disrespectful to nature? This guy has every reason to be concerned then. Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil producer, which is the largest cause of deforestation in the country. The burning of trees to make way for plantations is so bad that 60% of Malaysia is currently experiencing moderate air pollution due its neighbor’s destructive practices.
If Tambora judges its eruptions based on an environmental scorecard, don’t make any beach plans for next summer.