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Slow Global Warming


by Gary Brand - written January 5, 2000,
published in the February 2000 edition of Echo* newspaper

Global, south-polar view of Miranda, one of Uranus' moons.
 This is a mosaic of images taken by Voyager 2 on January 24, 1986 Global, south-polar view of Miranda, one of Uranus' moons.  This is a mosaic of nine computer-assembled images taken on January 24, 1986 by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.  Miranda is the innermost and smallest of the five major moons, measuring 480 kilometers (298 miles) in diameter.  The bizarre surface of Miranda makes it look like it's been scraped and gouged by some cosmic giant (like the Uranus of Greek mythology).  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/USGS.
his article reviews worldwide events symbolized by the Saturn square Uranus transit that began in July 1999 and culminates when Jupiter joins Saturn to also square Uranus in May 2000.  Saturn in Taurus (an earth sign) represents the status quo and our implicit assumptions that our environment, including the earth itself, is unchanging.  When we build a house, we assume that it will always be there.  We buy insurance to cover potential damage that can result from what the insurance industry calls "Acts of God" or "Acts of Nature" (Uranus) but we don't always anticipate the kind of damage that may occur.  For example, most of the homeowners in North Carolina who sustained damage from Hurricane Floyd did not have flood insurance.  Uranus is sudden surprises or unexpected consequences and all of the events listed below fit one or both of these criteria.  Uranus is also technology and the around the world broadcast of New Year's Eve was a first and a wonderful reminder that we are all on this planet together.

Some people are arrogant enough to think, "Oh, no disaster will ever happen to me!" or that we can harness and control nature.  We don't rule or own the planet, though our actions say that too many of us think we do.  The Saturn-Uranus square is teaching us is to:  (1) change the implicit paradigm that planet Earth is immutable, (2) look at the following disasters as wake-up calls and as messages to adjust our behaviors, (3) conserve natural resources (Saturn) for future generations (Uranus), and (4) consume less by choosing to simplify our lives.  Disasters result in terrible suffering but they do bring us together to help one another.  The crux of the Saturn square Uranus challenge is to realize, before it is too late, that the only way we can avoid the biggest disaster of all - the progressive destruction of Earth - is to join together for the common good of the planet and our posterity.  For example, we can begin to discourage or prohibit building or rebuilding in a flood plane, on the primary sand dunes of a beach, on steep slopes, or on earthquake faults.  When we don't heed the messages inherent in nature's disasters, we are destined to suffer the consequences.

Events such as the following occur frequently and there may be other periods with as many disasters.  But many of the disasters during the last six months of 1999 are the worst of their kind or the worst in decades in the location where they occurred.  Also, many of them are extreme (Uranus) in loss of life and property damage (Saturn).  Many of the disasters are floods and, though neither Saturn nor Uranus symbolize floods, the square between them symbolizes catastrophes in general and mudslides or landslides specifically.  Some of the disasters are manmade but even in these cases loss of life was substantial.

  • July 1, 1999 - Xianyang, China:  12" of rain produced flooding; 77 people killed.
  • July 1, 1999 - southwest Japan:  heavy rain produced landslides and high rivers; 27 people killed.
  • August 17, 1999 - Izmit, Turkey:  earthquake, 7.4 on the Richter scale, the worst in Turkey's history; 17,000 people killed, 26,600 injured, 600,000 left homeless, 115,000 buildings destroyed and $10 billion in property damage; followed by 250 aftershocks.
  • September 4, 1999 - Hunan, China:  floods; 20,000 homes destroyed, 77,000 left homeless.
  • September 4, 1999 - Buinaksk, Dagestan:  car bomb killed 64 people, 110 injured.
  • September 7, 1999 - Athens, Greece:  earthquake, 5.9 on the Richter scale; 137 people killed, 1,600 injured, 70,000 left homeless.
  • September 9, 1999 - Moscow, Russia:  apartment bomb blast killed 91 people, 240 injured.
  • September 16, 1999 - eastern North Carolina and Virginia:  Hurricane Floyd, with 155 MPH winds, began dumping 20" of rain, the subsequent 500 year flood resulted in the worst disaster in North Carolina's history; 47 people killed, 2,600 homes destroyed, 7,500 homes damaged, over 1,000,000 farm animals killed, more than $6 billion in property damage.  Another 8-10" of rain in late September worsened the flooding.
  • September 21, 1999 - Taipei, Taiwan:  earthquake, 7.6 on the Richter scale; 2,270 people killed, 7,800 injured, 100,000 left homeless, 6,000 homes destroyed, 40,000 homes damaged.
  • October 5, 1999 - London, England:  two commuter trains collided head on, one of England's deadliest rail disasters; 40 people killed, 160 injured.
  • October 7, 1999 - eastern Mexico:  a week of heavy rain (30" in 2 days) caused the worst flooding and mudslides in 40 years; 349 people killed, 200,000 left homeless.
  • October 29, 1999 - eastern India:  155 MPH cyclone struck, resulting in India's worst storm disaster; over 10,000 people killed, 200,000 homeless, $10 billion in property damage.
  • October 31, 1999 - off the New England coast:  Egypt Air passenger jet crashed into the Atlantic; all 217 aboard killed.
  • End of October, 1999 - Vietnam:  heavy rains result in the worst flooding in a century; over 500 people killed, tens of thousands of homes flooded.
  • November 12, 1999 - Duzce, Turkey:  earthquake, 7.2 on the Richter scale; 750 people killed, 1,600 injured.
  • November 24, 1999 - off the China coast:  a ferry exploded and sank; over 200 people killed.
  • December 18, 1999 - Caracas, Venezuela:  heavy rain caused flooding and mudslides; over 30,000 people feared dead, 150,000 left homeless.
  • December 26 - 28, 1999 - Western Europe:  storms with hurricane force winds; 88 people killed, 10,000 trees killed.
We are also headed for some technological disasters if we don't change our worldly ways.  Saturn in Taurus represents necessity and back to basics while Uranus in Aquarius is complexity and intricate interactions.  We can learn to live more simply without sacrificing some of the technological innovations that have arisen from many human minds.  But exponential population growth and globalization are both curses and blessings.  Unbridled growth (Uranus) of any kind can create just as much chaos (Uranus) as natural disasters, though more slowly.  Too many people put increasing demands on dwindling resources.  As the size of our cities grow, the complex systems required for their continuance and our dependence on technology also grow.  It is time to change our thinking (Uranus in Aquarius) about globalization too.  Buying locally produced food and products supports our neighbors and friends.

The above data are from several newspapers, National Public Radio and TV news broadcasts.

See related articles "Grand Cross Eclipse of 1999," "Solar Eclipse Duration of Effect," and "Saturn Square Uranus Revisited."

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

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