Our Arrogance of Man
The Entanglement and Synergism of Man and Earth
Mess With One Thing and Destroy Another
Here we are going to be speaking of issues that show our arrogance. This is not to say at all that there are not real concerns about our planet that we should endeavor to make better. This is not meant to be a waging of war on one side or the other regarding climate change or pollutions or the wasting of our earth. To be clear here; My family maintains a footprint between all three of us that is less than the average one of you. Go ahead and consider that bragging, because I am very proud of it. But really I point it out so that we cannot suggest that one who believes as I do cannot also act responsibly and even above and beyond the normal care giver to the earth.
Forest fires. Extremely natural. Occurring with force since long before man. Let us just take this from the National Geographic: “Cloud-to-ground lightning bolts are a common phenomenon—about 100 strike Earth's surface every single second—yet their power is extraordinary. Each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity”. Yes you read that right.
So we wonder just how many of those cause a fire. NFPA says “an estimated average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning.”
And so here we are with a bear in a ranger hat declaring “only you can prevent forest fires”. And that is perfectly true about man made fires. But what we hear about are these massive horrendous blazes that take life and homes. So let us take a gut check. Why oh why do we consider forest fires so bad that we must try to stop them?
The damning fires have one thing in common. Huge amounts of fuel. We are talking millions and millions of tons of burnable combustible fuel in the form of grass to trees. And that fuel we call underbrush. Meaning that it is the new growth that piles up under the old growth big trees. And of course fallen trees. In a forest’s natural life there are fires. And they happen with a frequency that keeps the underbrush cleared out. They also make room for deciduous trees like the quaking Aspen by clearing out some conifers but leaving enough for shade as needed. And do not forget that the old agrarian farmer types cut the trees around their home to make their shelters. And fires were used to clear land for farming.
So what are we doing fighting fires? Well it is a strange thing indeed. What man did was prevent fires very successfully. Hence the underbrush or growth was not cleared out on a natural basis. And so over fifty years or so the fuel just kept piling up. Now there was enough fuel to burn up the old growth. A catastrophe caused by man’s arrogance.
I Life Better Than Our Parents
The Chicken Or The Egg
Hurricanes. Who in the heck came up with the bright idea to build huge cities on coasts where we knew hurricanes frequented as often as on a yearly basis? Come on now that is cray cray. Man does not in general create hurricanes. Hurricanes have been around a lot longer than man has. (argue frequency and have fun going down that rabbit hole) Hurricanes are really cool. They thrash a coastline area and mix up sand with dirt. They rearrange the ocean coastline so that there is diversity in sea creatures. They deposit huge amounts of water inland that creates a balance that allows for new vegetation growth. And here is a cool one for natural deltas. They rearrange fluvial soils that helps deposit the necessary deposits of fertile soil. Think the River Nile.
And so we are seeing with hurricanes and forest fires that they are not bad for the environment. They are bad when man plops his home and butt in the middle of where they happen. We have just come to think that these facts of nature are “bad”. That is amazingly self-centered, egotistical and arrogant. Let us race to stop natural mudslides that are natural, in order to save 200 million dollar homes that are built where they have no business being built.
Now let us get into an emotional horror story. Assume man causes global warming. And assume man will cause, therefor, the sea waters to rise enough to destroy all human habitat within one mile of the coasts. Oh my! Sorry the catastrophe is not the rising sea it is the arrogance of man that he built his home so close to the sea. Sorry but harbors and docks heretofore perfect recreational beaches will have to be relocated. That is unless they are built where they should be in safe harbors. It is cool that good shipyards are fashioned in such a way to allow for variations. On the other hand what about those Texas refineries so close to danger? Go figure.
Dust Bowls. That one is interesting. Was the great dust bowl caused by man? For some reason I am on the fence with this one. Now I heard tales of great walls of sandy dust sweeping down on wagon trains headed out West before the plains were all plowed up. And I have heard accounts of places like Saudi Arabia having these massive sand storms of hundreds and hundreds of square miles. I have been in minor ones coming as I do from Arizona – I think they had one a year or so ago that crippled Phoenix. It makes sense that they are a natural phenomenon. If I recall we have a few types of natural erosion and wind is one of them. But no dust bowl here for about 85 years. That one does make you wonder if mega farming can prevent one. Sorry but that kind of scares me.
I Just Love It Here
God Help Our Earth
How about droughts? I now reside in a strange place that was called Alta California for much longer than California has been a state. You got your Baja California Sud, or south, you got your Baja California Norte, north and you got you Alta California basically meaning “high”. Well the vast majority of that land mass is desert. Inland and coastal desert. And yet we call normal a drought. It really is hilarious with just a tiny look at it. Let me see here; Palm trees, huge lawns, fruit trees, swimming pools, massive commuting with traffic jams, air conditioning every stinking where, car washing, monstrous amounts of land covered with concrete. And we fret because a land that can sustain a million has 20 million on it. Hey do not look at me, no air conditioning, a totally drought resistant property and I leave my car dirty.
Perhaps endangered plants and animals is one of our greatest follies. Again do not point your finger at me and mine. I have done extensive habitat restoral volunteering and was a member of the Youth Conservation Corps. I contribute to our two local groups that are leading the world in animal and plant rescue. Yes, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo. Interestingly these oft maligned companies save thousands of lives per year while PETA saves maybe a dozen or so.
Mesquitos, cockroaches, Arachnids and ferns have never gone extinct over millions of years. Man did not cause the Wooley Mammoth or the Saber Toothed Tiger or Dinosaurs to go extinct. The earth does fine just all by itself causing extinction. So I get honest here. I want to protect species because I like them. I love my nature and I rather arrogantly want to keep it the way I like it for me and for my children. That one I will have to get over on my own.
Please love your planet and all things upon it. But recognize the old adage; “carelessness on your part does not create an emergency on the earth’s part”.