Friday, December 5, 2014

Ultimate Outcome of Inevitable Change

Dallas, SD. 1936
Source: US Dept Agriculture - Public Domain
Mineral Wells is  a small town in Texas. They have an impending disaster. Their man-made lake is drying up at an astonishing rate. Faced with imminent disaster, they're talking about piping water from a bigger lake or shipping it in some way.  Mineral Wells Facing Water Shortage

Part of me thinks that's terrible but another part of me thinks this is simply nature doing what it has always done: changing the face of the planet and demographics. 

Historically, the face of the country changed every time there was a drought or other natural disaster. In fact, the face of the world changes in natural disasters. But in the United States, this is more current in our memories and history. Two hundred years ago, if the well, lake, creek, or river dried up, people packed up and moved, usually farther west. 

The Dust Bowl event created a huge relocation of people because everything dried up and was buried beneath blowing sand. The causes of the dust bowl even are pretty much the same ones causing this lake to dry up. Too little rain, over use of resources, and poor planning that upset the ecology of the region. 

In Hawaii right now, lava is devouring roads, yards, homes, and businesses incrementally. People have been forced to leave their homes and watch from a distance as they disappear. Other lakes in the US have also been in the news. California is constantly short of water. Texas has had several years of drought. 

The interesting thing about most natural disasters is that in most scenarios, once you remove people from the location, the environment recovers over time, usually in less than a lifetime. In fact, even the lava covered areas in Hawaii will eventually repopulate with flora and fauna and the nature of the soil will be such that it will be a thriving environment. Until the next time.

Laws of nature don't change. Droughts occur, lakes dry up, wildfires happen. Often our very presence actually increases the effects of the natural events. And now people can't move because they've set down roots. We've chained ourselves to a location in a way that doesn't allow recovery of the resources.

So, we see an even bigger drain on resources farther away because we pipe water from some other lake. Or we ship it from another region in tanks to where we need it. Or we use backhoes and bulldozers to move sand. Or we build towering buildings on former forested tracts. All further attaching us to an area that needs to recover. Modern technology provides us with a means to ease some of the effects without actually solving the problem. 

We've sunk money into land, houses, and businesses. We can't lock up, load the SUV and drive into the sunset. Not only because of the financial loss but because the number of places where disasters happen seem to have increased with the population. We're draining our resources. Excessive and unrestrained usage was never factored in by the Creator. 

In my honest and non-scientist opinion, I don't believe there is a solution to the shortage of natural resources. Natural disasters will continue to change the landscape because they are supposed to do that. Lakes dry up by drought and forest die by drought or fire. They are the means of rebirth. Ultimately, if these events are large enough in scope, nature will force a change in demographics. 

Change is inevitable and we either follow the course of change or we will be buried by it.

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