Let me preface this by saying I am by no means a tree hugging, granola chewing (hmm, I do like granola though), Whole Foods shopping health nut. For the record I still prefer real toilet paper, not that sandpaper recycled junk – however, I do firmly believe there is a time for working with nature and working against it.
Let’s face it, we are nothing more than a pimple on the planet’s bottom. We are teeny tiny in the great scheme of things. That being said, we can harm nature around us. No we are not going to destroy the planet… But we do have the potential to make it uninhabitable for the next couple hundred years, which would basically suck for us.
A river runs through it
Case in point, my good friend and editor Linda Sickinger owns a house, built back in the times of those who wouldn’t think of trying to change the land around them but rather build a home to suit the land around it, back in the 1800’s. Then in the mid-twentieth century some genius south of their home had the plan to build a dam so that the land south of the dam wouldn’t get flooded. Well, guess what happened with that plan? That’s right! At least once a year Linda and her husband have to pull out a canoe to get groceries because their little house becomes an island. Could be worse, they could need a submarine, but that’s not the point. The point is, we try and mold nature to our whim and nature spits in our face and laughs at us for trying.
The bayou is a’ growin’
Katrina was a prime example of how nature will basically do whatever the hell it wants, our plans be damned. It breached the levies laid out around the city of New Orleans, forever changing the landscape and many people’s lives.
Stop being cheap!
So, what’s the solution to all of this? Well the Europeans learned a long time ago that it made more sense to work with nature than against it. Take the canals of Paris and Venice for example. Yes, they did move things around a little, but they still allowed the water to flow around. If anything we could use this to our advantage, building passive water wheels (that don’t use dams but rather sit on top of the water using the flow) to generate electricity or pump water elsewhere.
We can build houses and buildings that allow the natural flow of nature around it and perhaps come up with innovative architecture in the process. We are but temporary residents on this planet and it has had a life since long before our time and will continue to long after we are gone.