Shaping Our Way to Disaster
Last Thursday we discussed hurricane Sandy. We talked about the tendency humans have developed to rebuild in the path of destruction rather than to relocate to a safer and more stable environment. We tried to answer the question of whether or not that is the rational or correct action to take in a post-disaster situation (I still am not completely sure about this). I think this tendency to rebuild kind of relates to one point that Jamaica Kincaid made in her article “Alien Soil”. The point was English people have a tendency to “obsessively order and shape their landscape”. Kincaid says the Europeans did that so much so on the island of Antigua that the island is now prone to drought. The Europeans did not work with what was already on the island when they got there, rather they tore it apart and attempted to put it back together with pieces from all around to world. They worked against the island instead of with it, which is essentially what the residence of New York and New Jersey are doing now as they attempt to rebuild their cities. Similar to how Antigua is prone to drought because of how it has been altered and built upon, the cities along the East Coast of the United States are prone to destruction because of where they have been built. We are not paying attention to the way the Earth is shaped and to the way it moves, and living accordingly. Instead we are attempting to shape it to our liking and ignoring the way it moves, seemingly to our detriment.