Some Nations Plan

While my specialty is critical thinking, especially when it comes to global issues; sometimes nations do things that I both agree with and am impressed by.

The Netherlands is working on something I believe is very logical and necessary — planning how to manage rising sea levels and global warming in the coming 100 years. They’ve planned in the past (1950’s) to manage the sea and their bodies of water in such a way that people are safe and can also enjoy the fruits of their water.? But as has become very apparent, the plans made 50 years ago are insufficient when you consider what we know now about the increasing speed that these changes take place. So instead of waiting for a major disaster, they’re devising a plan and dedicating big money to preparing NOW.

For the real details I recommend mr. Amsterdamize himself, who does a good job of laying out, in understandable terms, what the government is doing so far and what the ultimate outcome will be. Like myself, I think Marc finds it a strange contrast, going from watching the news about the gulf coast of the US scrambling to get out of the way of storms to reading about the Dutch government, planning for any storms or water disasters in the next 100 years.


  1. September 4, 2008

    So then a larger question about the US: How do we get the minds of the people here to be more like the minds of the people there?

    I understand the role media plays, and our insane ideologies, etc. but we’re at a point where reality – like these rising waters and so on – are starting to directly affect us in the US, really hit us over the head, and still the general populace is in a thousand different trances.

    Is the empire too big? The people too far gone?

    Have I been reading too much Joe Bageant?

    Mark, you go between both worlds, so to speak, often enough.
    Where do you build the bridge?

  2. September 4, 2008

    thanks, Mark!

    Chris, good point and a tough question.

    I think you’re on to something with ’empire too big’. I try not to compare the ‘Dutch Way’ with the ‘US Way’, more like region to region, Gulf Coast to the Netherlands. And culturally/historically NOLA has so much been the odd duck in the US, I think a disconnect has grown between the national and local sense of identity and connection, both publicly and politically (state/federal). That’s my general perception.

    More specifically, thinking freely, the same disconnect (or you could call it ‘polarizing diversity’) has grown wider, politically and in public perception. If you think about it, (and I know I’m going out on a limb here) it’s sort of the same thing as that most Americans aren’t really interested in what’s happening outside the US (I know there’s data on that), why would most people in other states far away in essence REALLY care (as in: do something or push for help) about what happens so far away?

    This train of thought would seem to be a bit over the top, I know, but I have nothing else that would make more sense. To be clear: I think the Dutch have come to this point, because of the small scale, because historically and logically they have been forced to work together to survive as a whole, but I think it’s unfair to compare our fortitude to the US as a whole. Sure, it’s corrupt, inhuman, incompetent, etc.

    The only thing that really still boggles me, is how on earth can there have been so many fuckups in NOLA, after so many years of talk (top Dutch engineers testifying before Congress), exchange of information/expertise, delegation trips, etc. At some point, indeed, after another and another and another hit, somebody or a group of power players should smell the coffee and stand up for what really needs to be done. I guess that still leaves us with a lot more questions and lots to answer.

    So, that, and ‘follow the money’ in D.C. What do you think, am I way off?

  3. September 5, 2008


    There’s definitely that feeling here in Detroit. The rest of the nation doesn’t give a shit about us, and there are cultural distinctions between my region and the others in the nation that I have first hand experience with that really separate us. We here have more in common with much of southern Canada (outside of useful things like State-health care etc) than say the Northeast US.

    You’d think that people would organize together and demand something be done, or do it themselves, in respect to problems like the levees in NOLA, especially when clear, proven solutions exist in the world.

    Ironically, one thing that I think unites all of America are the cultural and physical barriers of Television and Car culture. It may seem simple, but those two blocks – mentally and physically – are what prevent people from coming together on all levels. The amount of TV consumed by people every day in this nation – regardless of region – is astonishing. With the programming controlled on all levels, it’s a nation of volunteer brainwashing victims.

    And car culture – which my region had a large hand in inflicting on the world – physically separates everyone. From the atomized nature of most American homes and street layouts to a general loathing and mistrust of Urban City Life and Physical layout, people are really disconnected from one another.

    I suffer from this myself.

    One need only step slightly away though, to see the massive problems that have clear, established solutions and be dumbfounded at how such a large, relatively powerful population could be utterly defeated.

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