An Unexpected Journey, by Grant Argo

My trip to White Clay State Park this week was very unexpected. When I arrived, I meandered through the trails back to my usual spot by Cattail Pond. Unlike last week when I visited this sacred place, I saw some of the creatures that call this pond home. Three beautiful Wood Ducks were swimming around the pond and suddenly soared into the sky when I approached. Seeing these magnificent creatures with their array of colors was truly a picture-perfect moment. Mother Nature allowed me to be present during this spectacle so instead of staying stationary around this pond, I decided to hike through some unknown trails with the hope of seeing more of nature’s beauty.

Before I knew it, I was deep into the forest of the State Park. Being surrounded by a plethora of species of deciduous trees, insects, birds, and mammals is the closest we modern humans can get to connecting with our primitive ancestors. I felt at home. I felt at peace. These trails required a lot of careful navigation. Whether it be crossing rocks, roots, bridges, twists, or turns; these trails had it all. I was able to find a very small freshwater stream that was located near a surveyor’s stone erected in 1872. Here, I sat and listened to the running water while taking in all the other noises and sights that Mother Nature was gracious enough to share with me. I felt that I was one with nature, not separate from it.

This week’s article, written by Elizabeth Kolbert, titled, Louisiana’s Disappearing Coast, was truly eye opening. Never had I heard the truth about the state of Louisiana and the inevitable doom that lurks in the future. Since I was a young boy, I understood that nature is the ultimate power in this world. No matter how much humanity attempts to alter and control the world, Mother Nature always comes out on top. Reading this article and understanding how Kolbert describes the engineering pursuits that are underway in Louisiana is utterly terrifying. For example, Kolbert includes a statement from a resident which states, “But, when we as humans intervene, it rarely turns out well. That’s why we are where we are today” (Kolbert). This is perhaps the most powerful portion of Kolbert’s piece. Not only does this statement resonate with climate events underway in Louisiana, but it also ties in very well with the rest of the world. Humankind needs a major shift in its approach to the environment. We, as a species, cannot control nature. Instead, we must understand how we are negatively impacting the environment around us and then come up with practical solutions to stop or limit these negative impacts.

In addition to Kolbert’s article, the documentary produced by Spike Lee, titled, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, depicts the social, political, and economical side of disasters in Louisiana. Kolbert touched on this idea in her article as well; however, Spike Lee demonstrates how impoverished areas in New Orleans are not given the resources needed to stay protected and recover from natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. For example, the documentary depicts FEMA Director Mike Brown underplaying the possible effects that Katrina could bring. This “can-do” optimism expressed by Brown greatly contributed to Louisiana and the United States’ lack of preparation. The government was caught flatfooted and per usual, the impoverished neighborhoods of Louisiana were hit the hardest.

Judging by this week’s reading and film, as well as all the other material included in this class, it seems that the United States of America is obsessed with making the rich richer and the poor poorer. When is this going to stop? All the issues in today’s society are minute compared to the inevitable doom that climate change poses to all of civilization. When is the world going to wake up? Louisiana demonstrates the underlying truth that humans cannot and will never be able to control Mother Nature. It’s time we put our differences aside and work together to save our planet.


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