“The future remains uncertain and so it should, for it is the canvas upon which we paint our desires. Thus always the human condition faces a beautifully empty canvas.”
Frank Herbert

Children of Dune

Nature Votes No on Housing


Reading about flooding in Europe and thinking (a) how grateful I am for the relatively moderate and safe climate I live in and (b) what if we’ve been constructing houses in all the wrong places? I don’t follow news frequently enough, nor thoroughly, nor do I have a good memory … but it seems to me that both frequency and intensity of such events are on the rise.

For the time being we (as in humanity) seem to be using two of our facilities to mitigate these events: religion (we pray to avoid such events or that they pass quickly) and force (we build barriers to further isolate us from nature). Isn’t it time that we tried to bring some intellect into it?

As Bill Mollison & Sepp Holzer would probably say: the valleys (lowest points) are for water, houses and roads should go further up on the hills.

The wackiest thing would be to hear in a couple of months complaints about a drought that is threatening the world’s food supply. There is more than enough water, we need to learn how to store and use it more wisely. Our indulgent living has destabilized our ecosystem (the signs really are everywhere) – we can no longer rely on a constant flow of anything (sunshine nor rain). It is rdicilously childish to expect regularity yet that it what we continue to do. This is all our doing … and fortunately we can also undo or redo or do much better.

We are in a kind of planetary boiling-frog paradox. We have trained ourselves to expect a singular global melt-down: a meteorite, global temperature rises, global sea-level rises, peak oil, etc. But it seems that nature operates in a more organic and gradual way. We are bombarded by events that are trying to wake us up … and we don’t seem to recognize them as the manifestation of the meltdown that is already taking place. We continue to consume and protest and vacation, ignorant in denial of a change taking place around us.

In the words of Sarah McLachlan singing about letting go:

“Hold on
hold on to yourself
for this is going to hurt like hell
What is it in me that refuses to believe
This isn’t easier than the real thing”

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