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Sunday, June 9, 2013

What are we doing to our Earth?

One of the main items in the news of the last days are the floodings in Central Europe. A couple of rivers - Elbe, Donau and Weser - are way too high and they flood almost all of what used to be former East Germany. Also Tjechia and Bulgaria have problems.

What causes these floodings? Yes, it has rained a lot but the biggest problems lays in the fact that these rivers have almost no natural flooding area's. In Belgium and Holland, we are much more aware of the thread of high water in our rivers. Our dikes are much higher and firmer than those in Germany.

Another part of the problem is that nearly every house nowadays is connected to a sewer system that carries water immediately to a canal or river. In the old days, there were practically no sewers. The drains and water pipes just went into the garden, or to a nearby brook.

Only 50 years ago, there were a lot more brooks and small streams, and water needed to thread its way before it reached a major river.

Due to industrialization, most rivers are equipped to carry big ships and make travelling times shorter. The enviromment is of lesser concern.

So we are mostly to blame for what happens now. The earth is being populated more and more, and inevitably this will cause more problems. Not so much the warming of the earth contributes to this. We should go back to nature, but can we do that?

I do feel pity for those whose house is under water as we have been in this situation as well and I know how bad it is. Our own house was filled up with river water for over a week in the 1950s and afterwards it took my grandma and mother weeks to clean everything up. And we still have a (faint) water line in our living room, after all these years. Let's just hope the insurances will pay up.

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