With the Southern California wildfires, there has been a lot of talk about people building houses where they shouldn’t. Carl Pope, from the Sierra Club has a great post on the subject in the Huffington post. There is also a very well researched article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, which I will quote from: ‘There are homes and structures in virtually every county along the urban-wildland boundary in California, much of which has an eco-systems of dry grass, thick brush and dense trees that Mother Nature destined to be periodically burned.’
This reminds me of the mountain lion incident that took place a few years ago in my town. A young lion had gotten lost and made its way to a yard near the public library. The city quickly divided in two camps. On one side, Mother Nature’s advocates who defended the lion’s rights. We had been encroaching on the animal’s natural habitat, after all. On the other side, the civilized citizens who were up in arms that the lives of their little ones was being threatened. The lion had to be shot at once. It was. I happened to be there when the police woman aimed her riffle at the oblivious creature. I still remember the fall, and the big thump when it touched the ground. I was relieved, I could now walk safely in the neighborhood. And I felt something bigger than just the lion incident had just happened. A case of Man and Mother Nature gone very wrong.
I wonder what happened to our survival instinct, the primal part within ourselves that should tell us where we belong within the ecosystems? It is as if our ego has taken over, and we refuse any limits set on our rights as humans. Over and over again, I am struck by our arrogance and our lack of respect for the laws of nature. And I am thinking about the post I wrote recently, about ‘Nature, What’s That?‘, regarding children’s increasing alienation from nature. Things are only going to get worse. The less we know nature, and about nature, the more likely we are to act stupidly, and do things like build houses right in the middle of mountain lion or bear territory, or fire cleansing prone areas.