Is it ethical to stop floods?

Our ethical columnist discusses the recent bad weather and flooding in England.

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Politics

This is a bit of random text from Kyle to test the new global option to add a message at the top of every article. This bit is linked somewhere.

Dear Ethan,

First, let me say that I’m an avid reader of your brilliant column! Second….what is the most ethical way to stop floods? We have all watched the tragic scenes of floodwaters rising in English towns, and many proposals have been put forward for preventing floods in the future. But some of these proposals sound unethical to me. What’s your advice?

Jemima Routledge,

Dear Jemima,

Yes, the floods are indeed tragic. I have barely been able to watch the evening news – all those awful, heartwrenching scenes of water naturally breaking its banks, like tears of rage bursting forth, only to find its watery path blocked by brick homes, shops, cars, groups of ‘residents’, and journalists in wellies (who are no doubt poisoning the water with their serpent-like camera cables, the rubber on their boots – stolen from the sap of a murdered tree – and their Gaia-phobic bile).

If it isn’t bad enough that we caused the earth to weep in this manner in the first place – with our ceaseless carbon-mongering – now we have the blind arrogance to stand in the way of these floods of anger, to try to stop them, to ask: How can we prevent such a thing from happening again?! I have a different question: Who are we to prevent floods? It is akin to saying: How can we stop a child from crying? Should we seal her tearducts with an anti-weeping dam, perhaps, or dig mini-ditches beneath her eyes to catch and disperse her salty secretion? That would be shocking, wouldn’t it – something that the NAZIS might have done. Well, it’s just as shocking to call for rivers to be sealed off and dammed in (DAMNED, more like). We’ve had speciesism; now we have aquaism, too.

You ask what my flood advice is? To leave the rivers alone. To let them burst and run free and wash away the grotesque footprint that has been left by farmers, factories and ‘residents’, just as the sea washes away prints left in the sand by flipflop-wearing holidaymakers/planet-destroyers. (I am always horrified by the audacity of people who call themselves ‘residents’, as if they OWN the land. You are guests here, not ‘residents’! On the other hand, my OED tells me that the word ‘residence’ can also mean ‘that which settles as a deposit; the residuum or deposit left after any chemical process’. Now that sounds like a good description of these gangs of humans who set up chemicalised and smog-producing camps – otherwise known as ‘local communities’ – in areas of natural beauty where rivers run wild.)

Let’s not beat around the bush here, Jemima: these floods are of man’s making. We have prodded and cajoled the environment, mocked it and muddied it, and then we’re surprised when it fights back! What do we expect? These floods are the natural equivalent of Cho Seung-hui’s college massacre – when you push someone or some thing too far, guess what: it breaks.

Some people have asked: Where is the proof that these floods are a product of global warming? In the Daily Mail (eeeurrghhh!!!!!!!!!!!!) the once-respectable weatherman John Kettley wrote: ‘In my view, none of the severe weather we have experienced is proof of “climate change”. It is just a poor summer – nothing more, nothing less – something that was the norm throughout most of the Sixties.’ I cannot believe that people like this – DENIERS – still have jobs. Note how he puts ‘climate change’ in quote marks! How grotesque! Imagine someone putting Hitler’s ‘genocide’ of the Jews in quote marks. Having the likes of Kettley working in the area of weather is like putting David Irving in charge of a Holocaust Museum (or perhaps ‘Holocaust’ Museum) or allowing Rose West to run a halfway house for young prostitutes and runaways. I urge all environmentalists who care for justice and tolerance to join my new campaign: ‘Kick Kettley out of Public Life!’ Email me for details.

So they want proof that these watery uprisings are a response to our rape of nature, do they? Tell me this: what is proof? I don’t mean to come over all Pontius Pilate (a man I detest for his destruction of trees in the name of making crucifixes; I wince for nature every time I see a brainwashed Christian wearing a cross around his or her neck), but Pilate did have a point: what is truth? Those asking for proof that the floods are a rebellion against warming are just trying to avoid the OBVIOUS FACTS. Besides, proof is an arrogant human concept, beloved of oil-funded scientists and twisted politicians. I shall not play their disgusting game, suffice to say: I know and you know and NATURE KNOWS that these floods are the first stirrings of a climate catastrophe to come.

And you know what? On this basis we should welcome the floods. Some people tell me that sounds a bit harsh. Sheba is looking over my shoulder as I write this and has just begged me: ‘Please don’t include that sentence! The children will get bullied about their “mad dad” again.’ Well, I shall tell you what I just told her, Jemima: the people who tell me I’m being harsh are the same people who FLY overseas, who SHOP at Tesco and who WATCH TV (things I never do) – in short, they are the ones who created this climate catastrophe and yet they attack ME for simply welcoming nature’s warning to them about their behaviour (which they will no doubt ignore).

I’m with Jeremy Leggett, a former adviser to the government no less, who says the floods are ‘bills’ from God who is lurking behind the ‘gathering clouds’. More than that, I’m with the Guardian columnist Madeleine Bunting who, seven years ago, during a previous outbreak of nature’s weeping, effectively said ‘bring it on!’ ‘Apathetic about climate change and out of touch with the environment, Britain needs a short sharp shock’, said Bunting. ‘The best chance Britain has is a course of environmental ECT: lots of small, nasty shocks where it really hurts. So roll on [floods], they’ve got a lot to teach us. The more floods, the merrier.’

Yes! Let the floodwaters rise, and the nastier and more shocking their consequences, the better. That’ll teach us to build towns and villages in green spaces, to drive cars and take holidays, to think ourselves above nature. My goodness, Jemima, how kind nature is! Her floods are not horrible or unnatural – they are a selfless lesson for humanity about its disgusting behaviour. That nature can be so kind to us even after EVERYTHING we’ve done to her is enough to make me weep floods of tears, too.

Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at {encode=”” title=””}. Read his earlier columns here.

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Topics Politics


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