Monday, May 15, 2017

Man-Made Mess Conflates Climate Change

There needs to be, or better yet circumstances absolutely implore, a complete re-evaluation and, ultimately, overhaul to levee systems that directly have caused flooding throughout the United States. This is particularly true for the Midwest. Over the last few years alone, there have been two 100-year floods in the St. Louis metropolitan area due to blockage of the creeks, rivers and streams natural flood plains that has unintentionally created artificial ones in both inhabited rural and developed urban areas. Each passing year, over the last several decades, it seemingly gets worse, the situation beyond ridiculous.

My own neighborhood offers a trifling small-scale, and albeit less destructive, example of the grander problem at-large. For many years, my patio was a semi-secluded refuge for barbecue, bourbon and brooding. A few years ago, they decided to develop the feral pond and woodlands behind it into something more upscale. Complete with a fountain, quarried rocks and a variety of small bushes encircling it, it is still a charming, although quite different, enclave. Yet, the innate ambiance is gone, and it is no longer a fixture for those, like me, who preferred the reclusive privacy. Fortunately, the abundant wildlife adapted to and rebounded from the changes after a brief period of time, highlighting the ability of nature to always find a way.

(Disclaimer: For illustrative purposes only; this is not my backyard)

However, storms and winds, even the most calm, no longer are buttressed and stifled by the trees…because they removed most of them. The pond itself, even in the least severe rain, now regularly floods…because no longer are there enough trees to naturally siphon the overflow. The rocks, so precisely placed, are washed over by the rising tide…because they failed to study the average water level before and after it rains to properly place them. All they had to do was ask, but they didn’t bother to consult me during the installation. Thus, typically after every heavy rain, along comes the grounds crew to pump water from the pond to uncover the rocks, rather than actually fixing the problem by adjusting them so that they don’t get flooded in the first place.

Occasionally, one must tear it all down in order to rebuild; beyond the aforementioned, and obvious, environmental concerns, this is true with numerous circumstances. This is neither irreversible natural or human-influenced climate change. With proper foresight, effort and leadership, this is quite reversible. Otherwise, nature yet again will shame humanity’s vain ego, and exhausted questions will arise anew concerning futile measures meant to prevent its unforgiving backlash.

©2017 Steve Sagarra

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