Are We Going to Pay Attention Now?: Post Hurricane Epiphany

In the wake of Katrina many things are becoming perfectly obvious. It is obvious that we are going to have to pay attention to the more salient issues of disaster preparation, homeland security and the cronyism that perpetrated this debacle post Katrina. My question is: Will we now start paying attention to some of the issues that, in the end, may allow us to continue on through eternity, or are we going to let our apathy, lack of attention to nurturing of the environment which sustains us, in the end destroy us. Call me an ecology freak, or you can call me sensible with hopes for a future for the planet; it is time to make a choice. In this live for today hell with tomorrow life most of us live, where having the big house, going to or sending our kids to the right schools, an occasional designer purse, a nice pair of Italian shoes and a BMW tend to satisfy, and where we view life as good if we have obtained as much for ourselves as possible in regard to the material, Katrina has made something painfully obvious; Katrina has made us aware that even here in America there are others not as fortunate. Never mind Africa; here at home we have �poor people". That in and of itself should be a slap in the face to the ignorant majority, but let us go further and look at the disaster as a whole and it's implications for the survival of our civilization as we know it. Katrina has hopefully helped make the need to expedite this scrutiny perfectly clear. The ecological implications are clear in that we know that there were plans that had been shelved to shore of the levees as well as plans that would have diverted water from Lake Pontrachain. We know that the water in the Gulf has warmed by several degrees over the last century and that this is directly caused by global warming. We know that in the end our inability to pay attention to our own house because we are too busy at someone else�s house has in some ways made this disaster all the worse. We have a choice to bring ourselves back to a time where we are at one with our environment and willing to sacrifice in order to ensure a future for our country as well as our planet. As Jared Diamond, noted professor of geography at U Cal, Los Angeles and Pulitzer Prize winner for, Guns, Germs, and Steel, shows us quite simply in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed , that we are going to need to make a decision here. We need to look at what happens when we squander our natural resources, ignore the signals our environment gives us when we cut down too many trees, we need to look at why some civilizations such as the Mayas, the Polynesians of Easter Island and the Vikings in Greenland disappeared off the face of the earth while other civilizations prospered. It lies in the fact of ecological care, withstanding pressure from enemies slowing population growth and taking care when choosing trade partners. He often extrapolates but there is clarity in one thing and in the face of the tragedy that was Katrina and her aftermath his point is only made more solid. We need to do something now. My hope is that from this tragedy we will not only learn that we need to wake up and choose our government more carefully and then keep an eye on it. I hope this will wake the need in us to actively participate in our government and policy making. I hope that if nothing else we will start looking at this earth we are on and what we can do to make sure that our civilization does not disappear due to shear apathy and laziness. We have a choice: Shall we choose to believe the pundits such as Mihkel M. Mathiesen in Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate: How Truth Became Controversial or do we believe the people not funded by Exxon like John Houghton Global Warming : The Complete Briefing I think the way is pretty clear. Don't you?

crossposted at blogcritics

nothing but work up my butt from here on in


Blogger Indeterminacy said...

Sounds reasonable to me. I hope more people start thinking like you do.

9/06/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

I have read several of your comments over at my friends site, Political Notio. And although I agree almost always with you, I enjoy the freshness in what you speak. You offer ideas and solutions, not empty rhetoric.

That being said, I think the Global Warming band wagon is getting way too big. Not that I don't think that we over pollute quite often, but given events over larger spans of time and taken with historical contexts, the world seems to be merely going through another cycle that helps define it's existance.

I do believe we could stop polluting as much as we do, but I don't think that it causes events like Hurricane Katrina. Nature, for whatever the reason, cannot harldy be predicted.

9/06/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger fatrobot said...

i am going to convince the saucer-people to invade earth

9/06/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Sar said...

Alice - What an impressive post. You're right, us Americans are content living in la la land till something smacks us back into reality, and Katrina proved she's got a nasty backhand. I also agree that this wakeup call is twofold. Our environment should be a priority. You can't control the forces of nature, but you can take steps to lessen their adverse effects. And our government just fucked up royally. The President so many backed to keep us all safe was as dumbfounded and ineffective now as he was sitting in that classroom on 9/11.

9/06/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Graham said...

I hope so, too. At least it will put an emphasis on domestic issues, and on the role of government. Things like this show that we need gov't... that gov't should be a force for good guaranteeing our freedom and protecting us from catastrophic events like this.

In a totally unrelated point I just wanted to say that James Blake is on steroids. And a lot of them.

9/06/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Very good. But I don't understand the butt thing at the very end.

I'm amazed that some people still deny global warming. I'm also amazed that we as a whole were not better prepared for the aftermath of a major hurricane on a city that has been strategically important to America for almost 200 years. Not to mention that it sits below sea level at the mouth of the largest river in North America and the tip of largest gulf in the world.

Something's not right with this whole thing.

9/06/2005 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

I to agree with Craig...hurricanes are mother nature's doing, not people. The whole situation with Katrina is definately a wake-up call for better prep for future diasters. Although when there is a MANDATE for evacuation then it would be wise to go seek higher ground. Yes, the state and goverment officials should have help bus their citizens to shelters and other cities BEFORE Katrina hit. Now we know better. Sad we had figure this all out AFTER the fact.

But we shouldn't expect people to come for us when we decide to stay in town when we know a catergory 5 storm is going to hit. We need to be better prepared and take care overselves. Let's have some comman sense.

I am sorry for the victims. I am sorry for their loss. I am not sorry for criminals or those who don't want to help themselves, their neighbors and community.

9/06/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous weirsdo said...

I'll call you sensible, for the most part, and it seems pretty clear that we have at least sped up the warming process, which does affect hurricanes, duh.
I don't believe there was ever a time when we were at one with our environment, and I'm not even sure what that would mean, exactly, though I agree with your overall point.
I doubt your butt needs working up, but more power to you ; )

9/06/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger zydeco fish said...

I have to agree with the global warming folks. We are killing this planet. Even if global warming is proven to be false, it is clear that we should take steps to reduce those emissions because they are poison. You don't have to breath in that much exhaust or see the smog fouling the cities to realize that humans are slowly making this world uninhabitable.

9/06/2005 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Coyote Mike said...

I am reminded of something I was told years ago by a sort of relative of mine who was a geologist who worked to find oil. The lesson is this:

When we have damaged the earth enough, the earth will say "That's it, everybody off." And that will be that. And we won't have anyone to blame but ourselves.

We can try. And we can have fun trying. Who's up for group showers to save water?

9/06/2005 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

We do need to care better for our home and be more aware of the things we as individuals can do to contribute to this cause.

9/06/2005 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger EsotericWombat said...

I wrote a rather lengthy comment, but I decided that it would probably be better, all things considered, if I stuck it on my blog; I sorta go OT in it

9/06/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow oh wow. Nice post. You need to change your major.I'm gonna go post at blogcritcs because there are too many commnets here. ;)

9/06/2005 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A little bit of care in government, environment and how we live would be a big step in the right direction.

9/06/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A little bit of care in government, environment and how we live would be a big step in the right direction.

9/06/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I do have to disagree with Leah. I don't think anyone is arguing that we could have stopped the hurricane; really that doesn't even make sense.

But as long as the federal government does collect taxes for agencies like FEMA and Homeland Security then yes the federal government does have responsibility to its citizens in times of crisis.

Personal responsibility goes a long way, and so do tax dollars. I'll gladly take back my tax dollars if we are to stop funding these agencies.

Bush's big government post 9/11 doesn't work.

9/06/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

I'm afraid a few more coastal cities will have to be obliderated before some start believing that we may be facing a problem.

9/06/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous pia said...

god I always find myself in agreement with Sar and Doug

Great post! At one time I would have said that you were too idealistic, but now I think we need your idealism

We all have to work our butts off to take back the country and keep the planet liveable

Can I just add: IMPEACH BUSH just feels good to write

9/06/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

Woa, quite a response here. I am glad I have such a responsible readership. I'm starving and have to go get food or have someone bring it to me,( and that ain't gonna happen), so talk amongst yourselves. I'll comment after eating as commenting on an empty stomach is just plain wrong.

9/06/2005 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

LOL...MJ...I don't thing that I had suggested such a thing as to stopping a hurricane. You are correct, that makes no sense and is just silly. I was making more of a point on responibility. Yes, I agree that the goverment does hold the responsiblity (since we are paying taxes) to help keep us safe and secure, and help rebuild our communities after a diasater.

However, we should always be prepared and take it upon ourselves for the most part to be aware of the severity of potential danger. Preventative measures saves lifes, money, and makes it so much easier on rescue crews who have to go in and save victims, when there are less victims.

Katrina was a big wakeup call for us and the government.

9/06/2005 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

Indie:Thanks for popping in.

Nice to have you stop in "friend of MJ".
I am going to have to agree to disagree with you on this one, the evidence, as I see it, and I believe there is evidence , is too substantial for me to ignore. I think it is a band wagon that we need to get on and the sooner the better. Nature, can't be predicted that it true, but we can with some degree of certainly be assured of hurricanes and the fact that the water in the gulf is warmer that it has been as long as we have been recording it and the fact that that warm water fuels hurricanes and thus the hurricane ferocity has increased over the last ten twenty years is un-ignorable.
Glad you came by come again and I'll check out your site.

fatrobot: I have a friend who has a name robotman on another site and I at first thought you were him messing with me but I don't think so as he has already convinced those saucer people to invade earth; he also convinced them to appoint him as King despite the fact that he has no experience in that capacity but hey that�s what friends are for.

Graham: I hope. I have not really heard a whole lot about tennis players and steroids.
Sar: Thanks, I�m still dumbfounded as are so many people.

MJ: I will henceforth be working my butt off in school. It was phrased funny as I was tired.
I am also amazed at the denial of global warming. Things are just not right anywhere these days. :(

Leigh: I know Mother Nature is a bitch but frankly they were expecting this, it is on the list and FEMA needs to be prepared for this just as they need to be prepared for the "BIG ONE" earth quake because quite simply that is their main job. Taking the words from MJ at politicalnotio.blogspot.com/, because when I saw them I knew they were the words I needed and had not been able to come up with, "this was indeed a federal response initiative."
Thanks for commenting.
weirdso: Meant I will be working my butt off at school from here on in. I was tired as stated. I am fairly sensible and hope to join the campaign for CAPTISM soon.

zydeco: I'm with you.
Coyote: smart relative.
group showers, ewww, we had to take those in middle school although not with the boys. God Knows We Tried.

Wombat: I'll be there.

Doug: I like when a man believes in something enough to say it twice.

MJ: 100%

Jay: God I hope not.

Pia: we can't impeach him because if he was doing the BJ thing, he would probably tell the truth (as if anyone gives a fuck) and then advise us that the good lord had forgiven him.

9/06/2005 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

Here is one example that global warming may be overstated, not wrong, just overstated. In Antartica, they have claimed that the ice caps are getting smaller. Their proof, at least from the ones getting the attention, is that they measure at a certain spot every year and watch as the spot becomes less ice and more water.

The problem? It they would measure more sport that one one side of the ice cap they would discover that although one side it "melting", other sides are actually increasing.

Our earth is a ever changing habitat. We change, time changes it, nature itself changes it. Sometimes slower than we can imagine, sometime faster.

I believe there are cycles, and the earth is in a warming cycle. There is a possibility that years later, a cooling cycle will again start. But I can't attribute everything that goes wrong as being related to Global Warming. It has become a scape goat for everything that corporate or developing nations do wrong.

9/06/2005 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Coyote Mike said...

we can't forget that we are halfway between ice ages. I'm looking forward to the return of wooly mammoths.

9/06/2005 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...


You may feel it is overstated and for every extrapolation or a faulty empirical study there are at least ten very well founded scientific studies to support it. So say we throw away the global warming theory so many seem to come to blows over and just go for the stuff that is clearly supported such as trees provide oxygen....we cut down trees....etc and the obvious one of just putting too much stuff in the air and food that will eventually mutate us all and make us unable to survive in an environment that we in the end have created through negligence to our habitat.

Is it ever really overstated though if it is happening at all? And why argue that it is overstated? If it is overstated it is still occurring.

I have found that there is enough evidence that it is occurring to provoke us to act with haste. Obviously the solution is years and years away if we choose to find one. I don't believe in the cyclic theory, or if I do I also believe from evidence that it is certainly possible that although we may well go in cycles it does not preclude the fact that in any given cycle ( because we are talking millions of years here) that we, by our own negligence, and due to more and more man made pollutants, soil erosion, loss of green space we can still unnaturally cause an out of cycle global warming effect which can in turn harm the earth and threaten our very existence.
We also can�t use this trend to argue against global warming because it is the cause of liberal scientists who support a different agenda. ;)

It seems the evidence is overwhelming for global warming being responsible for the increasing warmth of the water in the Gulf of Mexico having fueled a more ferocious hurricane, and continued warming even by a smidgeon of a degree will continue to do so. So the possibility of storm of a size we have never recorded could appear and this time the devastation is one hundred fold. What then? Will we finally figure it out?
I don�t think citing a few faulty studies is going to change the bottom line.

Coyote: Ban the Wooly Mammoth and the hairy man I say. Apologies to all with hairy backs. I hear that it really does not hurt too much to have it ripped off with hot wax, so I say go for it.

9/06/2005 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Alice....100% agreed. They should have helped bus ppl out of danger zones before hand. And they should have been there right after.

But I think everyone is missing my point of self-preservation, and responsibility of awareness of whats going on. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I know the "Big One" is inevitable. I choose to live here knowing the risk. I know if I had enough warning I would definately pack up and go somewhere safe. But earthquakes cannot be predicted, but hurricanes can. People were warned. At the end of the day, you make choice of heeding the warnings or ignoring or them. Everyone had plenty of warning in this situation: the city, the government, and the people.

Lets look forward and learn from this. Lets stop pointing fingers and start lifting them to help.

I am glad you are proactive in voicing your response to our sluggish, sloppy, government. Its good to get everyones view points.

9/06/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

ok ok...sorry I'm done. :)
On a lighter note- sorry about the work up your butt hehehe I hate when that happens!

9/06/2005 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger mojo shivers said...

I think you raise some very fine points. I think we, as a society, are headed for a heartbreak so to speak. The more we consume without regard to consequences, the more consequences seem to stack up.

I don't know what the solution is, but I do know we are doing something wrong.

9/06/2005 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger Graham said...

I was kidding about the Steroids and performance enhancing drugs, lol. I was just saying he doesn't look like the same player.

9/07/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger SeizeTheNite said...

Another great post.
I think that when most people hear that they actually might have to "sacrifice" something to make the world inhabitable for future generations, they just think Fuck it!
I'd rather have a Hummer, cheap gas, and a big tax refund.
Anyway, W. has got it all figured out.
Once we screw up Earth, we can all go live on Mars!

9/07/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous John said...

This was great Cooper and I do agree with you on this one. I am to fault as much as anyone and we do have to start considering the future of the planet. I don't know yet if this horrible event will be a stimulus to action or not.

9/07/2005 04:24:00 PM  
Anonymous John said...

This was great Cooper and I do agree with you on this one. I am to fault as much as anyone and we do have to start considering the future of the planet. I don't know yet if this horrible event will be a stimulus to action or not.

9/07/2005 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You can say that again.

9/07/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

Leigh: That was like a really long tennis match eh?
MoJo: Indeed we are, and hopefully we start working on it.
Grahm: Oh... Duh is me.
seizethenight: exactly
John: thanks for agreeing with me twice.
Doug: That is the pot calling the kettle.....................

9/07/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

LOL... you have no idea. I am usually pretty mellow -well you've seen my blog, all about surf sessions, movies and beautiful women - all the things that make my world go round ;)

9/07/2005 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger The Fool said...

I think this event puts and end to the neocon era. We now know that we must take care of our people and I don't mean in a cradle to grave fashion. We need to return to the ideals of FDR and JFK or else we'll have nothing. The private sector is not the be-all and end-all. We need good government and even better leadership. We clearly don't have any right now.

9/08/2005 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger W. S. Cross said...

I know memes are silly, but I adore you, Alice, and wanted you to be one of those I tagged. The one up now is fun, not ridiculous, and I'm dying to know your answers.

9/12/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

10/11/2005 08:25:00 PM  

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