Junked Cars and Apricot Trees and the “News”

Apricot trees and land barges,  these relics from my youth, go so well together, don’t you think.

It was the age when you had a choice: to drive or to set down roots. Now, the choices are much more difficult: to build sandbags in the face of what is being called a Biblical flood, such as here in Okanagan Falls …

… or to block off a public street with your car so no one comes by to have a look at the damage. Public space, and what one can do in it, becomes private through disaster, and private public, in this case through a flood…

…caused not by “global warming” or “climate change” or “an above-average snow-pack,” although all those explanations hit the news in the last few days, but by an ill-engineered, private bridge, now removed, that sat behind this wall of sandbags …

…and which helped this creek, Shuttleworth Creek, in Okanagan Falls …

… to find a new channel through houses built in the old wetland along its margins. I met an elegant, elderly German woman dressed in a Sunday dress and bringing flowers and food to her friends on this street. She was very afraid of the menacing mountains around the valley, and the destruction looming from all sides — destruction created by the media, and, if discussions on The Tyee, are any indication, created by a desire among some to stop an oil pipeline across British Columbia through the tactic of blaming current flood events solidly on climate change, with dire predictions of looming doom and catastrophe and the moral imperative of stopping the pipeline now, to prevent a completely roque planet. As evidence, there are the events in the Okanagan-Similkameen-Kettle basins this week.  That’s reckless. It’s so blatantly wrong that it can easily be dismissed, at which point legitimate work against the pipeline and at straightening out the legal framework, will be dead in the water. The world is not ending. This is a normal spring.  There are floods, and they hurt people and their property terribly, and so far they are predictable and, despite hype and fear, normal, on a long term cycle. That we even planted apricots, or cars, in this landscape is a problem.

Even though we love them. We did this. The problem here is not with the Earth, but in the face of climate change in the Anthropocene, the severity of clashes between Earth and human infrastructure is going to increase in proportion to human refusal to change. We are being given a lesson.


2 replies »

    • I try. This one seemed pretty over the top. I was just floored at global culture, which sees only global solutions and no local issues except as a consequence of global forces. Just gasping and trying to get air, I was. Perhaps I will get it right, yet.



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