The Flood We Make: Notes On An Unnatural Disaster

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Human meddling with Mother Nature has progressed for millennia. But never quite so effectively as now. In recent years the combined effects of global warming and other such ecologically unsavory practices as pesticide-heavy factory farming, suburban sprawl, and the draining and paving of wetlands, have magnified a string of natural disasters -- from the flooding in Mozambique and Honduras to the wildfires at Los Alamos -- into major human catastrophes.

One such 'natural' disaster was the record rainfall and massive flooding that struck Eastern North Carolina in the fall of 1999, writes Fetzer Mills Jr. in the summer issue of The Southerner.

As we approach what's predicted to be another severe hurricane season, Mills examines the man-made nature of last year's deluge and the contaminants that turned the floodwaters into what one state official called a 'witches brew.'

'On the banks of the Tar River the towns of Tarboro and Princeville were hard hit by the flooding. Historic Princeville, the first black township in the country founded in 1866 as Freedom Hill, was completely wiped out despite a dike built in the 1970s to protect it from flooding. Houses and trailers floated off their foundations. Every building in Princeville was coated with a poisonous, polluted slime as if a colossal venomous slug from a Japanese sci-fi film had attacked the town.' Go there>> (will open in new window)

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