Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
# 10:52:00 PM:

Building where we shouldn't

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Here's a blog from the South Pole (via Julie). It's a place where you risk your life doing a brief walk in the snow. She has Flickr photos, and there are pictures from others here (also South Pole) and here (a bit further north).

And also from Julie, a link to Doc Searls on Hurricane Katrina. A few days ago, I wrote on another topic about human beings' congenital shortsightedness. This is another sad example. I read the news and tears well up in my eyes.

New Orleans is a city built on the alluvial fill at the mouth of one of the world's great rivers. What keeps alluvial fans above sea level is flooding and new silt, but when we build cities on them, we don't want that, so we build walls (levees, dykes) to keep the floods and silt out. But then the cities sink. And when disaster comes, it can come big.

Whether it is a hurricane in New Orleans; an earthquake, flood, or volcanic eruption near B.C.'s Fraser delta; quakes, landslides, and wildfires in California; or volcanic eruptions and tsunamis in seismic areas around the world, we seem not to want to believe that disasters that have happened before could happen again. We keep building and living where we shouldn't. And then people die.


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