In the book Tambora, Gillen D’arcy Wood talked about how one single natural occurring event like a volcanic eruption could change the entire world. Famine and hunger swept the whole world because of one remote, natural disaster. The world wide devastation got me thinking about the world I live in. What would happen if there was a major catastrophe that turned our beautiful days of shining sun into days of darkness? A dark morning and afternoon that rivals the pitch black of night. I see two different possible worlds, with outcomes that land on opposite ends of the spectrum.


One world is the epitome of misery. The first thing that would happen would be the failure of all agricultural of the systems in the world. With darkness sweeping the land, world wide famine. In turn, due to scarcity, prices of the remaining food would rise ridiculously. Riots would start to break out all over the world, civil unrest sky rocketing to an all time high. Stores are being ravaged, and the civilized turn into savages. The world is flipped upside down. What used to be seen as insane is now normal, and what was normal is now gone. Our way of life as we know it is destroyed and any source of hope comes from surviving. Our civilizations that we have spent centuries building, are decimated to a point that we no longer see a difference between us and our primitive ancestors.


I’d like to think of a more positive world, where darkness dies not equal the end of the world as we know it. One where the darkness sparks inspiration, innovation, and solitude rather than chaos and distress. Instead of world wide famine, we would store and ration the remaining food until we could discover new innovative way to cultivate food, like hydroponic farming. Instead of misery and unrest from a shortage of food, the masses could find a new world where solitude and calmness is the new trend. Instead of dull minds, blank of any ideas because of the infinite darkness, I see inspiration by great artistic minds drawn to the still of night. I like to think if I were in this time, I would be one of those artists. I often think about spending some time in Alaska where I can actually find a dark day. Because although it is bleak you can see a brightness, even the dimmest light shines bright in infinite darkness.


These two contrasting worlds could likely co-exist. Just like in todays world, when disaster strikes people react and cope differently. But whether they co-exist or not, the actions of humans are still so punitive compared to the utter force of mother nature. The destruction that Tambora brought to the world gave us only a tiny glimpse of the catastrophic potential of natures natural occurrences. One could only imagine what destruction super volcano could do if it erupted in todays world. An eruption like Yellowstone, for example, could bring the end to humanity as we know it.