On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the major city of New Orleans, killing over 1,400 of its residents and causing billions of dollars in damage. Was this an unfortunate "act of God"? Or were humans to blame for this colossal tragedy?
The bold and often contentious audiobook Catastrophe in the Making: The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow, narrated with booming and ominous urgency by Clinton Wade, argues that it was human greed and cost-cutting bad business decisions that truly created the tragedy in New Orleans. And even more alarming, these same shortcuts are happening in other states today. Does another disaster of global consequence loom?
When houses are flattened, towns submerged, and people stranded without electricity or even food, we attribute the suffering to "natural disasters" or "acts of God." But what if they're neither? What if we, as a society, are bringing these catastrophes on ourselves? That's the provocative theory of Catastrophe in the Making, the first audiobook to recognize Hurricane Katrina not as a "perfect storm," but a tragedy of our own making - and one that could become commonplace.
The authors, one a longtime New Orleans resident, argue that breached levees and sloppy emergency response are just the most obvious examples of government failure. The true problem is more deeply rooted and insidious, and stretches far beyond the Gulf Coast. Based on the false promise of widespread prosperity, communities across the U.S. have embraced all brands of "economic development" at all costs. In Louisiana, that meant development interests turning wetlands into shipping lanes. By replacing a natural buffer against storm surges with a 75-mile long, obsolete canal that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, they guided the hurricane into the heart of New Orleans and adjacent communities. The authors reveal why, despite their geographic differences, California and Missouri are building - quite literally - toward similar destruction.
Too often, the U.S. "growth machine" generates wealth for a few and misery for many. Drawing lessons from the most expensive "natural" disaster in American history, Catastrophe in the Making tells why thoughtless development comes at a price we can ill afford.
©2009 William R. Freudenburg, Robert B. Gramling, Shirley B. Laska, and Kai T. Erikson (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Special thanks to Sasha, Stacy and Stef for sharing the Audible experience with me and being the best of company during my recovery.
The behind the scenes story of Katrina and the things that policy did to make the problem worse. It speaks to all the decisions made in order that some already ridiculously wealthy men and corporations could further enhance their bottom lines.The dredging of the canal, the loss of the estuaries and the increased vulnerability created by policies that helped only a few at the expense of an american city. It also exposes the utter incompetence that was exhibited by the political cronies appointed to positions far above their qualifications. A fast moving, highly informative study on the consequences of a lack of foresight created by the policy of government by greed.
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