Saturday, September 3, 2005


We humans live on a world of wonderful, awful (as in full of awe) complexity. A complexity that we barely understand. We drain wetlands, levee rivers, and build dams and then when something goes wrong we ask how God could allow such things to happen. Rivers move, land settles, marshlands that used absorb some of the floodwaters are gone.

Accepting that humans are part of the natural cycle of the world doesn’t make us less special in the “eyes” of the Creator. But, it does accept the fact that the entire natural world is just as special. Maybe we should try to work with the cycles of the planet instead of trying to control them. Eventually you reach a point where our best efforts just aren’t enough.

It’s not a case if you live in a place where hurricanes hit you have to expect to get hammered. It’s a case of if you live in a place where hurricanes hit how can we work with the land to minimize the impact.

People love to live on the ocean. There’s more than one coastal housing development here in Oregon that’s built on what is basically a large sand spit. Even a six-inch rise in sea level will be bad news if it coincides with a strong storm with high winds, the odd chunk of driftwood and the monthly high tides. What the ocean gave it can take away and trying to minimize the erosion in one place usually moves it someplace else. It may be time to accept that it’s better to leave the very low coastal areas to the cycles of nature and move our selves to higher ground.

We may not have all the data we need to prove global warming and rising sea levels but I believe we should ere on the side of caution. Personally, I think its true. If it isn’t we can loosen up later. After all, once the glaciers are gone they’re gone until the next ice age.

I suspect that if Adam Smith got a look at modern corporations and marketing practices even he might agree that what is in the short term best interests of large corporations and developers might not be in the best long terms interests of the voices that don’t have enough money to be heard. The perceived best interests of the current holder of the right to develop a piece of land may not be in the long term best interests of the rest of us. Maybe Katrina will be one of the wake up calls to counter the extremists of the “I own it, I can do what want” property rights movement.


toonguykc said...

Wow.  You did all the work for me  --because I was thinking the same thing about environmental issues, but I was afraid to rant because I know I would come across as just another liberal wanting to bitch.  We tend to bitch alot.

I think our first warning sign was when West Nile appeared in the Northern hemisphere.  I lather myself in DEET every time I walk the dogs -- not only to avoid itching, but to avoid getting a brain disease.  God Bless America....indeed.

krobbie67 said...

Call me stupid, but who is Adam Smith?

I've said it before, we need to realize that when it comes to nature there are some things that we can't control. We need to humble out and realize it then live accordingly. We're supposedly the smartest animal on this planet, but I'm beginning to wonder. :-) ---Robbie