The beauty and danger of nature

By Joshua Corcuera

Nature is beautiful. There is no doubt that the natural wonders of the world offer us majestic views and stunning landscapes. More importantly, nature provides us resources that make life much easier and more convenient.

Be that as it may, nature is also dangerous and, in some cases, is life-threatening. This is the recent danger imposed by the Mayon Volcano in Albay. The iconic landmark in Bicol captured the interest of locals and foreigners alike for its seemingly perfect cone structure. No doubt, Mayon has helped the region in more ways than one.

Obviously, tourism is a source of revenue among the locals as more and more people visit the Mayon to get a glimpse of its beauty. According to the Philippine News Agency in 2019, around 1.27 million tourists flocked to Legazpi City just to merely view the Mayon. Some even claim that the volcano is the world’s most perfect volcanic cone.

With more tourists, economic activity is therefore increased in the region and so does consumption of local goods. This benefits locals as they have more opportunities to earn income and make a living.

As mentioned earlier, however, these benefits could be offset by threats to society. As we are witnessing right now, Mayon is currently at alert level 3 meaning that there is an ‘increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption.’ Likewise, news reports stated that thousands are being evacuated and told to prepare in case of a worst-case scenario.

With this, we obviously hope for the safety of everyone. But the point is that volcanoes, as majestic as they may be, may also present a clear danger and grave threat to lives and livelihoods. This serves as a reminder that, while we might be impressed by nature’s beauty, we must also be constantly vigilant and aware of the negative impact it may have on us.

Yes, during an eruption, volcanoes can wipe out life and destroy agricultural crops and damage infrastructure. But, interestingly, one of the economic benefits provided by volcanic activity is the rich fertile soils after a volcanic eruption.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), “Volcanic materials ultimately break down and weather to form some of the most fertile soils on Earth, cultivation of which has produced abundant food and fostered civilizations.” The USGS also added that, “The internal heat associated with young volcanic systems has been harnessed to produce geothermal energy.”

While volcanic eruptions are disastrous and should alarm us to evacuate and flee, the aftermath may be the opposite. As of now, however, we should remain alert and, for those living nearby Mayon, evacuate when necessary. But, despite the challenges brought by nature to mankind, let us not forget that we can also use some of its resources to our own benefit as well.