desperation katrina

four days after the storm, the situation in new orleans is getting increasingly desperate with a suspension of some rescue efforts declared this morning due to rescuers being shot at. what is left of the city seems to have descended into a chaotic free-for-all – it’s hard to imagine how terrifying it is to be trapped in a city with dwindling food and water, potentially thousands of dead bodies, and the rising potential of epidemic disease outbreak (think cholera and dysentry). of course it is the poorest of the poor left behind, and even when aid comes, these people will receive far less than their wealthier urban counterparts – their conditions were never that good to begin with.

i am mesmerized by katrina as a warning, a window into a climate-changed future, a picture of the complete breakdown of social order and governmental authority in a “survival of the fittest” scenario, a logical extension of american individualism taken to its conclusion (i would note in most countries, natural disasters don’t result in people shooting each other and shooting rescue-workers, there is something particularly american about how this has played out). the aftermath of katrina is what social breakdown looks like, and it is not a pretty sight.

systemic collapse may be a long way off, but the edges are likely closer than we think – with inceasingly unpredictable climate shifts – the next “unprecedented” natural event may be right around the corner.

my friend denny at another world is possible has promised a series of analytic posts on hurricane katrina from the economic, ecological, and social perspective. i encourage you to check them out, as i’m sure they will be excellent.

3 Comments on “desperation katrina

  1. it truly is the beginning of the end. horrifying. but fascinating. new orleans will never be rebuilt, there’s no money for it. there are tens of thousands new “street people” and now over a million refugees in the u.s. the economic house of cards is collapsing. oil prices will never go down in any significance, they’ll continue to rise steadily. the next natural disaster (read: natural flowe from momma earth) is just around the corner. actually, there are several happening every day around the world. severe drought. severe flooding. massive forest fires. extreme cold. extreme heat. extreme rain. hurricanes. typhoons. locusts. avian bird flu. west nile virus. good luck to all of us. good luck to all u.s. friends. you’re welcome in canada. get here before martial law is declared and the borders are shut down. no, i’m not a wild-eyed paranoid.

  2. hey david: i know you’re not a wild-eyed paranoid. i sorta feel like i’m watching a horror-movie thinking “get out of the house! get *out* of the house…..” – but not unlike a horror movie, the people on the screen can’t hear me. there will be interesting times ahead, no doubt.

  3. Dear Mr. Cedar,
    It is sometimes said human beings are oh so adaptable. You would never guess it to listen to our west coast fishermen. Long gone are the days when ocean going tug skippers hauling barges of wood chips or logs up the Fraser had to shoo off the many reluctant boats and their nets heavy with salmon with shouted profanities from their loud speaker. Industrial logging and climate change have conspired to allow the big tug boats easy passage to the dwindling number of sawmills at the river’s edge.
    I must make a point of reading your journal more often. It sure is a step up the intellectual ladder from what I had become used to hearing from my former IWA/Steelworker local oficers and sycophants here in the magical Fraser Valley.
    This summer brought me eye to eye once again with the climate related expanse of interior bug kill in our forests. Fishing lakes once surrounded by the green fullness of Emily Carr’s paintings are now wrapped in the colour of old saddle leather.
    And yet we remain in magical denial.

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