Thursday, August 30, 2007

Clonmacnoise and New Orleans

People make mistakes. When they do they can throw good money after bad to fix them or they can admit their error and rectify the situation.
Clonmacnoise is a small monastery in Ireland that was once a thriving town it “flanks the east side of the River Shannon, in a shallow valley close to the flood plain”.

When over the course of many years the town kept flooding and the expanded settlements could not be protected people moved on. There were other places more suitable to live in. The same has happened in many locations. When people learned the area was prone to natural disasters they choose to live elsewhere. Sometimes it takes years to happen but sitting like king Canut denying the power of nature will result in you getting your feet wet eventually.

In some cases the cost benefit analysis is such that it is worth engineering your way around natural obstacles. Holland and London have both for the moment succeeded in keeping out tidal flooding.

New Orleans is underwater and sinking. You can pay billions to save areas that are underwater but would that money serve better helping those who were displaced from these areas? The argument that “The Bush administration actually wants these neighborhoods below sea level to die on the vine” is meant as a damning indictment but may actually be the factual and sensible policy of the Bush Administration.

Are the subaqua areas of New Orleans worth saving? Or is that throwing money into a hole. Money that should be spent helping the people who decided to live in an area that nature likes to beat up occasionally. Do these people want to live in that area anymore having seen first hand how Canut style ranting at the sea does nothing? At the end of the day a city is just a bunch of people, The people of New Orleans should be listened to to see what they want done with the money donated to help them.

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