Friday, March 03, 2006

Global warming

I was reading the New Yorker this evening. The article on Katrina and New Orleans and the aftermath really struck me. There are a whole lot of causes of Katrina, and reasons why there is a good chance New Orleans as a city will never be rebuilt properly again. Part of it, as the article makes clear, is just about building a city on the delta of a mighty river. But part of it is that with the combination of potential increases in sea levels, major increases in storm frequency, as well as the general poverty of the place, the chances of enough people taking a risk with their financial futures and rebuilding there to remake the New Orleans of legend are pretty slim.

Unlike the overdramatic headlines I've read about various tiny islands being "the first casualty of global warming"*, when we look back in 50 years time, New Orleans may well be the casualty we remember - the city that was lost.

* when you look past the headline, the only island I've seen that involved actual evacuation was to a higher spot on the same island, where the people lived before westerners valued beachfront more than security - it will come, but it hasn't yet in a serious way.


At 11:46 am, Blogger Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I was reading a book recently about snow. It's a book intended for pre-teens, I think. The author says at one point that a certain phenomenon -- when snow melts then freezes into razor-sharp points -- is nature's way of mantaining balance. That is, it keeps the caribou herd from getting too large by injuring some of them & allowing them to be eaten by predators.

Anyway... I was thinking about that comment in a human context. That hurricanes and bird flus may be nature's way of making sure there aren't too many humans.

I'm not convinced nature works that way. But.


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