While the media is focusing on the war, other news has been pushed to the back burner.  But gradually we are beginning to learn more about these stories, and many of them are truly shocking.  


File them under Earth Changes: things that usually happen on occasion but that now, for whatever reason, are happening more frequently and more intensely. For example, did you know that severe drought has returned to the US? And that volcanoes dormant for decades – even centuries – are now waking up? Or that there are exceptionally powerful storms in places where there should not be anything like that? These things are happening around the world, taking many lives and causing many billions in damage.   

Just a few weeks ago, Klyuchevskoy, a volcano in Russia, erupted with such force that it created a cloud of dust and ash a thousand miles long and reached a height of seven and a half miles.  Obviously, a cloud of this magnitude is atypical.  It blocks sunlight, which in turn affects the quantity and quality of crops.  And by blocking sunlight, it also causes temperatures to be lower than they would be otherwise.  The National Institute of Health said the consequences of this eruption may extend far beyond Russia and possibly affect heath, communications, and may have psychological effects.  

Klyuchevskoy is not the only volcano that has become active recently. In the last few weeks alone, many others have also erupted.  About a month ago, increased volcanic activity off the coast of Japan caused a new island to form there.  There have been repeated eruptions at Mt. Etna in Italy, including one described as “massive.”   

Another one in Italy is Campi Flegrei, the closest volcano to London and the largest in Europe.  Its last major eruption was back in 1538, but recently there has been a significant increase in seismic activity and rising land levels – signs that trouble could be brewing.   

According to NBC News, “In recent months, more than a thousand minor earthquakes have rattled the area around Campi Flegrei, stoking fears that it may soon erupt again after being dormant for nearly five centuries.”

NBC says scientists are also keeping a close watch on another site, this one the Long Valley Caldera in California.  They say that the chances of this one erupting is less than one percent in any given year.  However, earlier in 2023, there were indications that Long Valley was getting ready to “blow.” 


“Thunder In The Ground”

Still other areas of the world also are causing concern.  Thousands of people were forced to flee from the Icelandic town of Grindavik after hearing “thunder in the ground.”  That “thunder” was actually magma moving around.  A few weeks ago, the magma was three miles below the ground, but since then it has risen dramatically and at last report was just 500 meters from the surface.  Many resident fear this is a prelude to a major eruption, and Iceland’s Met Office agrees, acknowledging that the “likelihood of a volcanic eruption is high.”     

Russia, Iceland, and Italy are not the only places where volcanoes are active; they are occurring all around the world. According to the Smithsonian Institute’s Global Volcanism Program, 19 volcanoes are erupting now.

And many other strange events are happening around the world.  A historic storm with winds up to 115 MPH produced what was called “Biblical” hail and snow in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca.  What’s been described as “crazy flooding and thunderstorms” hit Dubai, the most populous city in the UAE, destroying buildings and vehicles. 

On October 22, a powerful storm over Gaza also caused flooding and incredible lightning; the accompanying thunder was so loud that residents called it “The thunder of all time.”  A powerful storm in Turkey knocked down some buildings and caused tsunami-like waves that capsized ships.  Earlier this year, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake caused extensive damage in Turkey and parts of Syria.  And for several months, there has been torrential almost non-stop downpours and flooding in China.


It’s Baaaack

Drought has returned to America, particularly to the middle of the country. Some areas in Iowa are drier than they were during the Dust Bowl. 94% of the state is experiencing a drought, and 24% is in extreme drought – and this is after recent rains have eased the problem.  According to drought.gov, half of the Midwest is experiencing at least some degree of drought.  

Elsewhere in the region, 68% of Wisconsin and 58% of Minnesota have been directly affected by the very dry weather.  And so have people in other states, indirectly, because so much of our produce comes from those states.

Some small towns in Kansas and Iowa are starting to run out of water and, in order to conserve the little that’s left, they have imposed strict conservation measures on residents.  Some school districts have adopted a four-day week, in many towns it is now illegal to wash cars, and conventional public restrooms have been replaced by facilities that use less water.  


The Wrong Change

The weather has been changing, but this is far from what residents have been hoping for.  “Because of the extremely dry conditions, major dust storms are becoming more frequent in the Midwest,” the economic collapse blog reports.  The shortage of rain is also causing a variety of problems for ships that transport food along the Mississippi River.  Drought and other natural disasters last year were responsible for $21.5 billion in agricultural losses and this year, losses may be even higher.   

The reasons for all this are subject to debate, but what is clear is that they are hurting food production in important farming regions.  In some countries, food prices are already at record highs, and freaky weather is making the problem still worse.  Even in America, where local and federal governments offer programs to help lower income people purchase food, millions of people go to sleep hungry.   

The crazy volcanoes, flooding, and droughts are stories that need to be followed, but so, too, does a related one.  

Back in 2010, there was anti-government rioting in some Middle Eastern countries “after international food prices shot up,” writes Business Insider.  “Food scarcity played a large role in the Arab Spring protests of the Middle East.”

At first glance, these two stories appear very different, but they are actually very much connected.  If strange events in nature become the new normal, we may very well see history repeat itself, and Arab Spring-like rioting could Ch”V break out in many countries.  As if times today weren’t worrisome enough.  

Sources: businessinsider.com; cnn.com; drought.gov; endoftheamericandream.com; nbcnews.com; nih.gov; ucl.ac.uk; zerohedge.com

Gerald Harris is a financial and feature writer. Gerald can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.