01 October 2007

Fire, the Mythical Wand to create more Habitat for Humans

Global Warming on the Dry Continent
The destructive nature of wildfires will be amplified through global warming. In the Dry Continent, Australia 'the fire weather' is ubiquitous in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). At the moment fires rage in various National Parks, especially near human settlements such as Bundeena, The Basin and 'scrubland' near Newcastle. Two houses were burnt in in “fairly rugged bushland “.

Urbanisation of bushland areas
With the human sprawl over 'bush-land' and coasts, choosing to settle in 'getting away-from-it-all” leafy locations increases the costs and health hazards. The 'non-developed' green spaces such as National Parks and Reserves adjacent to urban areas have to be regularly burnt-off.
Many private landholders incinerate their land in the good old slash & burn method. Cheaply cleared land still fetches higher prices.

Incinerating protected forests & making a killing
The recent inferno in Greece destroyed 2 % of the land of which some where Europe's richest nature reserves. 67 people were killed. Many species of animals and plants are gone or have lost their refuge. Fire, as the magic wand to create more habitat for human populations, seems to have done its trailblazing for fresh real estate. The Peloponnese, untouched by mass tourism and '10 miles of virgin coastline' are now cleansed of 'protected forests' and ready to be monetarised.

Evolving Technology

Our hominid relatives, Homo erectus or Homo ergaster used fire 790,000 ago. Homo sapiens refined the tool further for the use of slash & burn 'agriculture', and for causing violence against each other and the Earth: Firebombing, Napalm, Firestorms etc.Pandora's Box
Some mythology has it, that fire was stolen by Prometheus from the gods and given, along with meat to the humans he had created. The outwitted god Zeus went into a rage and had him chained on a rock and his liver picked daily by an eagle. The punishment for humanity was to create the first woman, Pandora, bearing a box/jar out of which all evil for human-kind could come foreward.

Boxed into her Oikos, then and now s/he is obsessed by (re) possessions, that are in smaller boxes. 'Unboxing ceremonies' are highlights of possessed consumer culture now, running out of private warehouses/boxes to store all the boxes which they fetch with their box-like internal-combustion tanks from the boxed in mall. Fire might enlarge the territory for MORE McMansions/boxes. In the end they all exit in boxes back into the fire.

In the meantime Pandora's Box is wide open...

Fire, the Magic Wand to create more Habitat for Humans, Pt I
World Fire Atlas, ESA
Prometheus, Lord Byron

Update, 021007 The Cost of Sprawl

Image 1: Part of Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin by Peter Eisenman

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