By: Hayley Prihoda, Dunn’s Woods Restoration Project Intern
Yesterday, around 8pm, the eye of Hurricane Sandy touched-base over the Eastern Coast of the United States, devastating New Jersey and New Work and affecting at least a dozen other states. Reports claim that at least a few dozen lives have been lost to the storm and today over 7 million homes are left without power. Airline flights were canceled, state roadways were closed, and subways systems were closed from Washington D.C. to Boston: good thing too, as shocking pictures of the flooding of an underground station in New York City began to surface in the news. This storm was more powerful than the Northeast has seen in nearly a century.
While we repair the damage of the storm and keep all the families who have been affected in our thoughts, I think it is also important to take a moment to reflect on the severity of the storms of recent years and the measures that can be taken to protect ourselves against them. In his book, The Nature Principle, Richard Louv addresses the prevailing notion that there is a safe location, a haven to escape to when natural disasters seem to threaten our livelihood. Is there a place were we are not at nature’s will? Will the technological advances of man every be able to overcome the forces of nature? And, is this even the question we should be asking?
It is possible, I believe, that rather than trying to combat nature, the best thing we can do it learn to live within it. The threats of natural disaster will never be truly erased and attempting to run from them will be a frivolous pursuit. Many, for instance, questioned the decisions of families who chose to return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. However, can they be blamed for wanting to return to the location of their heritage, the place where they felt at home? When these questions are raised, it is useful to turn to Louv’s suggestion that “the future will belong to the nature-smart.”
Therefore, as we continue into the age of technological advancement, it may be prudent to also look to our past for answers. If we can learn to live within nature while simultaneously enjoying the advancements of the modern world, we may become the best equipped to address these threats when we encounter them. Nature and technology need not be at odds.