Sunday, July 28, 2013

#209 / Beach Builders

The July 22, 2013 edition of The New Yorker has an article that poses this question: "Can the Jersey Shore be saved?" New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the Army Corps of Engineers seem to think it can be. The author of the article, John Seabrook, while sympathetic to the ambition, appears to be more skeptical. 

The beach building enterprise, referred to as "the Project" in Seabrook's article, consists of dredging sand from offshore and underwater dunes, created hundreds of thousands of years ago, and pumping the sand onto what remains of the beaches removed by Hurricane Sandy. The idea is to build a new beach, onshore not off, that the Army Corps believes will be able to withstand twenty-eight foot high waves. The cost of the enterprise is $14.38 per cubic yard of sand. The Congress has appropriated something like $5.4 billion dollars that might be turned to the task.

Here, certainly, is another example of a human activity based on the thought that we don't have to conform our actions to the laws that govern the World of Nature, but that we can create our own world, a world that we think, somehow, will be immune from the natural laws that govern the physical universe.

What comes to mind is the old saying, "shoveling sand against the tide;" or, in this case, shoveling sand against hurricane-created waves. By definition, the well-known phrase epitomizes futility

The New Yorker also ran a short poem in the July 22nd edition. It seems relevant to the question posed about saving the Jersey Shore: 

He's not the Reaper, but he does stop by 
To say, to everything that's ever lived, "Nice try."
                      - Robert N. Watson

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