Hurricane Harvey and the Dialectics of Nature
Houston is the city where capitalism's victory over nature is the most complete - and also where nature takes its ultimate revenge
Publisher: Climate & Capitalism
Date Written: 01/09/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21276
Proyect argues that historically the shortsighted nature of capitalism has led to natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. To understand nature, the ripple effects of its manipulation and to implement laws that protect it is in our only hope to prevent catastrophes such as Hurricane Harvey in the future.
Houston, like the other regions, had "developed" real estate on top of what was viewed as empty and useless prairies ringing the city in order to build the sterile tract housing that I used to see from my car when I traveled around the city in the 1970s when I was in the Socialist Workers Party. The prairies, like the marshes in New Orleans and New Yorker, absorbed the rainwater that has now turned Harris County into something approximating Lake Michigan. The Katy Prairie is only one-fourth of what it was before the real estate developers cashed in. Like Robert Moses, the state's planners built expressways that made it easy for suburban Houstonites to commute to downtown jobs. In the eyes of capitalist politicians, this what progress amounts to.
Our future is not dictated by natures iron laws but by our ability to understand and change nature on the path to preserving it and ourselves. But unless we begin to forge an effective political instrument, all hope is lost.