The ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastating effects on New Orleans has occasioned reviews of what has been done since then to lessen the potential effects of the next such storm.
One of the key items on such a list, obviously, is the storm surge barrier about 12 miles east of the New Orleans - intended to thwart a wall of ocean from heading straight for the city, it's nearly two miles long and one of the largest projects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has ever built.
An item in yesterday's Washington Post also describes efforts to reshape the Mississippi River delta in a way that helps rebuild wetlands - wetlands that help mitigate the effects of oncoming storms but have been washed away by earlier efforts to "fix" the river. (I'd provide a link to this very interesting article, except that I can find no trace of it on the WP website.)
Next, I suppose, we'll hear of some brilliant scheme to prevent the rupture of the San Andreas Fault by pouring billions of tons of epoxy into it?
We may flatter ourselves that we can hold off, or reverse, geologic change; I'm not convinced. On a small scale and a short time frame (the foundation wall of my house, 20 years) it might just be possible. But when we consider the massive forces at work over a huge area in southern Louisiana, I'm not at all sure. In the long run (which admittedly, most of us won't be here to see) we may just be building the potential for a more cataclysmic disaster. It may make more sense to work harder to understand what's occurring on the grand scale, and perhaps develop plans to get ourselves out of the way.
We probably won't. It's human nature to try to master, even alter, the world we live in; it's Mother Nature to demonstrate to us that we can't.