Fix it again, Bob

Chicago had a health problem, so they fixed it. All their sewage ran right into their drinking water, so they turned the river around and made a new hole in the lake.

They had to hurry before someone sued them for draining the lake. Or flushing their crap into the largest river in the United States.

It’s odd that for such a major geological, engineering, and social event, so little comes up on the top of Google. It’s attracted little (electronically published) attention relative to the magnitude of this alteration of nature. The Wikipedia article states, without citation, that the Asian carp that they are trying to keep out of the Great Lakes were introduced as environmental remediation.

Speaking of the environment, this blogger is concerned that ecosystems that “evolved in isolation” are now connected so that species that “simply were not meant to cohabit” are now in contact. Adaptation to changing environment is evolution; it isn’t anything else. Yeah, I know that humans are supposed to be changing things too quickly for evolution to work, but you don’t see anyone making plans to gradually change things, either. Evolution is supposed to have got us here, but now it must stop.

The whole saga — dumping sewage in a lake, reversing the flow of a river, using carp to clean algae, using poison to kill the carp (and whatever else), possibly sterilizing the sewage… it’s an unbroken story of unintended consequences and solutions causing more problems. But we clearly need more solutions! So don’t stop now!

This one news article seems to be primary source for the blogger and the Wikipedia story, so it sets the tone for all of the easy-to-find reading. And that is one of sneering disdain for the whole project combined with a general sense that sterilizing the sewage would solve most of the problems.

Doesn’t the very pattern of events here suggest that something unexpected and undesired will follow? Shouldn’t we be talking in terms of cost and benefit rather than obvious solutions?

I am just amazed that the tourist boat ride on the river focusing on architecture covered almost all of the same material. This is obviously not a subject of popular debate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *