Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Folly of "Controlling" Nature

While the folks in Washington are saying "now is not the time to talk about global climate change", I'm more than willing to take on the topic in the wake of our back-to-back hurricanes hitting the US.  Remember that "taking steps to reverse climate change" is an effort by man to control nature.  We firmly believe that by limiting what we emit into the air that we are going to keep climate conditions within a specific range that we think is most beneficial to the planet.  We are warned that failure to do so will result in more damaging storms hitting places like New Orleans, Houston and South Florida.

But what everyone seems to forget is that the reason Houston, New Orleans and Miami are in line for such devastation from coastal storms is a direct result of man's previous efforts to control nature.  New Orleans sits below sea level on a huge river delta.  The only reason it exists is a system of levees and channels that divert water and keep enough land dry for development.  Houston is very similar--sitting in a bayou--with levees diverting water and swamps being filled in to allow for the sprawling metropolis to remain dry.

South Florida was considered uninhabitable until well into the 20th century.  It was a giant swamp extending from modern day Orlando all the way down to the tip of the peninsula.  But then, the Army Corps of Engineers figured out how to use canals to drain the Everglades and coastal areas like Miami and Naples became developable.  Thanks to massive and expensive human efforts, areas that were naturally designed to handle floods from hurricanes and other tropical storms suddenly placed millions of people and trillions of dollars of private property in harm's way.

And our belief that we can control the natural forces of water, wind and tides will not be daunted by these most recent storms.  New Orleans and Houston keep planning for bigger and better flood control and water diversion systems.  And nobody is questioning more and more oceanfront development in South Florida--especially as more Baby Boomers want to escape the cold winters of the North (although we could certainly work on making those less severe, climate scientists).

So if you want to talk about "climate change" right now, tell me how all of the effort and expense you want to put into controlling nature in the future will be so much more successful than all of our previous actions.

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