Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shameless, guiltless.

A major fire is once again raging in the Okanagan valley, destroying homes and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate. And once again the same feeling washes over me. Apathy drips down my face, leaving it expressionless. Houses are being burned to the ground. But as long as everyone is safe and sound, I am calm.

The logic and reasoning that explains why you should take caution in building your house in the sand...should apply to building your house in the neck of dry woods. When a storm comes and washes your home away, should you have not built it upon the rocks? Granted, it's impossible for our populations and cities to relocate into climates where no such disasters could happen. But we need to understand that it's not a tragedy anymore, it's nature. It's powerful, it's unstoppable, and it's amazing.

Forest fires are natural. They're supposed to happen every summer, small and quick, to wipe out the underbrush to allow room for new plants/trees to take root and grow. Smokey the Bear made it impossible for these to happen; so the underbrush builds up and up so that when one day when the conditions are right the hills alight.

I feel we should stop acting against nature, trying to control or prevent her occurrences. She is a force far stronger then we can comprehend. Think of how many lives and homes would be saved if we spent time and money in planning how to live with fires, storms, and hurricanes, rather then trying to push against them, to 'prevent' them. Because as we all know, the battle against nature is a losing one; the more you hold her down, the higher she'll leap when given her moment. And with global warming, it's only going to get worse.

Please note, that I'm not making myself an exception. I'm moving into Vancouver and fully understand that the fault lines are preparing for a massive earthquake one of these days, years, or decades. I know that Vancouver would sink. It is a risk I'm taking, fully. If such happens, I'm hoping that I will have learned some basic wilderness survival by then, and then, we'll go from there.