George Bush made a speech last night, promising to rebuild the city of New Orleans. You have to wonder if this is a good idea. Why do we so arrogantly think that we can overcome nature when it is obvious through so many natural disasters that we can not?
We have come to a point in time where we believe that the government can save us from all hardship and tragedy. We were shown with Katrina that this is simply not a realistic outlook. As well, we continue to think that we can defy nature, and all that it can throw at us. Think again.
We insist on living on flood plains throughout the world. Remember back a few years when the Red River overflowed its banks in Manitoba in 1997. It happened in 1950, 1966, and 1979. Local papers decry that the government is preparing for the next one, so that flooding may be avoided. This is only one small example of the sheer stupidity of moving onto a flood plain.
There are those who live on earthquake faults. In fact, there are many nations who have thriving cities built on fault lines. We know one day that the faults are going to deliver the ‘big one’, but still we insist on building Tokyo, San Francisco, and Vancouver, to name but a handful of likely targets.
We suffer from that old syndrome that we are all so prone to succumb to. It is called “It won’t happen to me.” There is a small part of all of us that thinks we will always be here, that tragedy only occurs to others on the news. While I don’t suggest we abandon all of these cities, it no less makes me wonder why we are dumb enough to keep building onto them. Humans are a curious lot.
Now George Bush wants to build New Orleans. While a noble quest, I hope he starts about 15 miles inland from Lake Ponchatrain. If not, he is only beginning to prepare for the next big disaster, and it shows once again, that as the human race, we don’t learn very quickly.