When a fly lands on a horse it uses its tail to swat the fly off, when it rains you use the windshield wipers in your car, but when the earth has a problem… all hell can break loose!
I believe that the earth is a sentient being capable of taking drastic and sometimes violent steps in order to heal itself, it is only when humans are in the path of these destructive forces that we label the event as a disaster. What about the events that led up to the disaster, and much more importantly… why did the disaster happen…
All natural events happen for a reason, the earth does not play games and it surely doesn’t joke around, when it needs something it will take it without asking. I hope to explain the theory behind many of these events, I want people to realize that our so-called “natural disasters” are not so much disasters, they are the earth curing its hangover.
Floods – The idea of flooding being a natural disaster is in most cases our fault explicitly, I mean we already know where they will occur… it’s called a flood plain for a reason people. We often build our towns and cities near the water, some of the most expensive land you can buy is often in a flood plain. In the past flooding was considered a blessing because of the nutrient rich silts that were deposited in the flood plain, these floods that occur periodically were at one time the backbone of our agriculture. Although the farmers placed their fields in the flood plain, the farmers were smart enough to build their houses above the flood line.
Wind – I remember earlier this Summer I was standing on the sidewalk on a windy day with the three-year old from my street, when the wind would blow she would grab my hand, stand on her tippy toes with her eyes closed and laugh away as the wind blew dust in our faces. As we stood their enjoying nature a massive branch snapped in a tree and came crashing to the ground with such force that it broke every other branch that was below it on the tree, all of these branches happened to be the ones that I had marked to be pruned. This was what led me to the realization that although pruning a tree is not exactly necessary, if we don’t prune the tree in a controlled and safe manner, nature will prune the tree for us in a violent and often destructive manner… The tree had developed a problem that was ultimately solved by mother nature who has been known to occasionally be a cruel and heartless bitch… Reminds me of someone I live with… Though she never cut me down… Just pruned the diseased and infested branches from my crown…
Fire – Fire is one of the most mis-understood natural disasters, yet it is so absolutely necessary to the survival of the earth. Many trees and plants have developed root systems that grow deep into the ground, there are many reasons for this but the one I want to touch on is to prevent the roots from being damaged by the fire. Native americans used to use controlled burns to clean up the ground below their nut trees, the fire would prune the lower branches and when timed properly could also be used to eliminate pests. Many nut trees develop problems with pests laying eggs in their young fruit, this fruit will often drop off the tree prematurely so the insect larvae can crawl into the ground and pupate until it is ready to re-start its life cycle. A properly timed burn can eliminate these infected nuts on the ground before the larvae has a chance to bore into the ground, this is my kind of integrated pest management.
The earth is not always destructive when it is solving a problem, many of its methods are actually quite beautiful events. Many of these events go un-noticed due to the fact that they have little to no immediate effects on human life.
Algae blooms – A byproduct of human life happens to be CO2, in the case of industry massive amounts of CO2 are pumped into our atmosphere. Plants are natures way of handling build-ups of CO2 in our atmosphere, over water this occurs as massive and sometimes colorful algae blooms that are a direct result, and solution to the high levels of CO2 present in our atmosphere. Although these blooms occur in nature, they are beginning to occur often enough to disrupt life in our oceans that in turn throws off all of the eco-systems present around it.
Global Warming – Although this has the ability to be extremely destructive, the immediate effects are almost pleasant if you are not looking at the big picture… You see I believe that global warming will lead to global cooling and will ultimately send us into the next ice age. Let me explain… The gulf stream is a constant movement of water in our oceans that encompasses the earth, it is responsible for climates around the world. Warm water is moved into cooler regions and the cool water is moved into warmer regions balancing the earths climates, if the earth really is warming and our polar ice caps melting than we will eventually experience a massive ice cap melt off that will essentially turn our oceans into “ice-water”. I am not scared of the warming part because I would love to be able to grow plants not suitable for my climate, it’s that pesky ice-age that could be looming around the corner that really gets me worried.
Over-population – This my friends… Is the truly scary one… If a horse has the ability to swat a fly off of its back… Imagine what the earth has the ability to do… Think of the events in recent memory that were considered “mass casualty” events, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods all happen for a reason, imagine if that reason was actually “us”! If we become a big enough of a “fly” on the earths back it will eventually lash out in rage and “correct” the problem, maybe then we will finally learn the hard way that we have been given a gift… a gift that essentially comes with no warranty… and a mountain of liability!
As far as I am concerned the most important “weapon” the environmental movement has in its arsenal is the very thing we are fighting to protect, mother nature will do the work for us if we just give her time… we are just attempting to avoid speeding up the inevitable “extinction event” that we will someday experience… Evidence to me that “true species sustainability” is not possible. I believe that although the earth probably does have an expiration date that is un-avoidable, I think it best to not swim in our own shit until the end.
My intention with this post is not to scare, but to educate people on the theory that these natural disasters are less disaster and more like the creation of scar tissue over a wound. The flood is not the problem, the fact that we built-in a place that obviously floods is the problem… Though I say that if you can live with the fact that you may lose everything including your life to be able to live by a stream or lake – a long list that will include me someday… More power to yah! I will have to do a post on the “key-points” of slopes someday as I find building locations on hillsides fascinating…
Respect the things that bite back – chriscondello, sob