Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"...out on the hills of Iowa..."

Every time there is a flood, or a landslide, or any natural disaster, I hear the same kinds of questions being asked. Why would you live there?

This year, after torrential rains, Iowa's rivers (of which there are more than one or two) are flooding in ways that where unexpected. And just for those of you who don't remember 1993, Missouri and everyone else down the watershed should be busy working on some sandbags of their own.

Why do we live on rivers or near flood plains? Why would we live in the woods that may burst into flame after a careless camper forgets to completely put out their fire? And why would anyone build anything near a volcano? And why would anyone building anything in Oklahoma?

We do these things because they are beautiful and wonderful places to live in normal circumstances. Unlike the ancients who waited for the Nile to flood every year to replenish the soil, we have created technologies through which we can, mostly, control our circumstances without the help of mother nature.

But let's face it, shit happens. And with the forces of nature, as has been evident in the past few years, shit can happen on a grand scale such that most of us would not be prepared for.

I live in the Bay Area. Sometime in the next several decades a major earthquake is expected. I'm pretty sure that at least part of my apartment building is going to collapse onto my car when that happens. Am I moving? No. Have I updated my earthquake kit (which may be inaccessible to me anyway when all this happens)? No.

You see, we can't walk around all the time expecting the tragedies of the world to fall upon our heads. If we were wired that way our ancestors would never have survived.

1 comment:

Aravis said...


Let's face it, it doesn't matter where you live, there's always the danger of something happening, depending on the weather and environment of that region. Might as well curl up and die now if you're looking for somewhere where nothing bad can happen.