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Hurricanes and Ecology- A Path to a new Paradigm?
Hurricanes and such storms are forms of disturbance in ecological terms. Disturbance sets succession back and creates new forms of habitat. They change coastlines, they knock down forests, the trees turn to soil when natural systems are at play. New coastlines become inhabited by varying creatures and plants as systems of ecology are not static, rather they are very dynamic. The edge of the coastlines and forest are altered, becoming more productive in the long term. Our psyche, our consciousness, gets stirred up by such events as we move from a state of apathy to empathy because of the people affected and the animals and other life forms. We don’t see these events as productive but in some ways they are. Why don’t we? Because we have a rational, Cartesian framework for how we see the planet. We can only see negative because our minds evaluate in terms of good and bad in a linear model rather than a holistic worldview. And why are they so damaging, why are they so costly and catastrophic, and so negative in our mindset; simply put, bad design.
Our love for coastal living and in flat low lying areas has long plagued humanity. It’s not like the people of Florida and Texas and Bangladesh (another current catastrophe is occurring in Asia as well) haven’t been suffering from such events for thousands of years. It has been happening and will continue to happen. Our insistence on using the same anti pattern of development, the same rational model that Rene Descartes brought to us that we are above nature will continue to create this feedback loop. Its called the half hydrological cycle and has grave consequences. And to further that we will mine, cut forests, suck fossil fuels, and a hierarchy of wealth
accumulation will happen from these storms to stubbornly rebuild thus further perpetuating degradation. It’s simple logic, hell Einstein said it, the genius himself, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So we will rebuild, our presidents have long said this, as they should when we have this rational worldview. Rather than humbling ourselves to the whispers of the intense winds or the surges of sea water over walls we built to keep it out, we wont listen to nature saying, grow, evolve, learn, cooperate with me rather than trying to oppress me with feudalism and slavery. These chains, these systems of structuring humanity are reflections of how we approach nature. Technology is not our lord and savior. It will not be able to pull us out of every single one of these storms. The psychological imprint left behind with these events is maybe the greatest damage, the trauma lasting long.
If we dont switch course now, we are doomed. Our species has gone down a long straight road of specialization rather than a sinuous form, as nature does, of adaptation. We have brought this onto ourselves by thinking stored sunlight, fossil fuels, was the key to our evolution. Specialization equals extinction in biological anthropology and we must learn from these extinction patterns, these waves in nature to diversify our energy addiction. So now the ocean waves maybe our own extinction. The storms intensification will eventually bankrupt our financial systems. Simply how do we keep paying for this cleanup? Who are we in debt to? Who sits on top of the pyramid? Why do we not have a circle with many interconnections in between forming a web of life? Why do we not rebuild ecovillages designed for catastrophe and resilience? We are walking towards the edge of a cliff and our worldview, the paradigm of man being separate from nature is creating our extinction even at a time when our population is bubbling out of control. The party must stop, we must stop the incessant consumption, the withdraw of natural capital out of bank accounts that were long bankrupt. In the last great depression (and at the time of the Dust Bowl) Roosevelt saw the connections and said we must build natural capital and started the Civilian Conservation Core. It built earthworks for water harvesting and soil protection, it planted forests where farms were erosive and damaging to water quality, and the program created jobs. We must invest in nature. All of us. Together. That way when a storm comes, we feel the suffering and we act with a positive response, not one that is stubborn and childish. Who says, no, i want my house on the beach where storms can swallow it again. A stubborn five year old as they should because their consciousness is still growing. Will we use these times of disturbance to grow our consciousness or simply keep on the path of extinction? We will never plant enough trees or sequester enough carbon to slow climate craziness and the half hydrological cycle if we dont evolve our consciousness.