March, 7 2010
Dampier
William L Fox
Writing

At the end of the day we sit in the hotel bar, sunburned and wind blasted on a covered terrace drinking beer with lemon slices and looking down at the port with its fishing boats, recreational sailboats, and tankers. Several palm trees stand in the foreground. It's been a dense twelve hours from the rock art cemetery to the LNG carriers, an arc of history that is confounding in its acceleration. At the fine-grained temporal level, just like the country seen up close, much happened here on an individual and family and clan level over tens of thousands of years. Humans burned the land, hunted some animals to extinction, diverted small amounts of water. Overall, however, much stayed the same even as the climate varied and people were forced to move, as the Ice Age ended and the sea levels rose. But the anthropic changes on the land wrought in the last half century far exceed the effects of natural processes. I sip my beer and think about the pearlers burning their boats, the upside down rocks, the blast radius of the bulbous ships. I'm not at all convinced we should exercise the ability to terraform our own planet.

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