Shocked, shocked.

I read the stories on the Russian peat fires, the ones that have been choking Moscow, and I’m just astonished.  I can’t believe a society could so thoroughly misunderstand their soils, especially their peat soils.  Did they never consider what would happen over years of mis-using them?  Didn’t they have scientists to tell them how draining peat soils for decades would combine with the effects of climate change, causing ahistoric calamities?  Where were their leaders to point out in advance the size of the risk they were taking on, and urging them to take precautions before the conflagration hit?  How were their villagers willing to live right on the edge of the potential disaster, willfully blind to the high possibility of instantaneous life-threatening change?  Those poor people, realizing that now that their system has collapsed, they’ll have to fight the on-going effects for years and dedicate substantial water resources to the problem.  How horrible for them.  Thank god things like that only happen in backwards poorly-governed oligarchys and kleptocracies.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Shocked, shocked.

  1. Okay, I’ll bite. And whoever you are OtPR, you know this better than me.

    Californians could have policy spokespeople (politicians) and managers (smart people advising managers in consequential ways), ways of voting (non-Prop 13) and a development ethos (conservation, densification) that sensibly minimize the risks located in, and by my inference to this post, extended to areas way past peat bogs in Russia’s avatar in Cali.

    But, historically, if California did have those people and policies, would it create cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco? Forget the pressures on obscure place like the Delta. The myth of California is to have it all despite reality. Mike Davis pretty much covers all of this.

    Remediative technology, is all there is now.

  2. onthepublicrecord

    Well, if those policymakers and managers spoke out against building cities in floodplains, where would I live and work?

    Yeah, we’re not so good at looking at our own situations, especially if our own situations are a total bummer.