Ecology And Environment

How Rivers Flow River Ecology Water Purpose of Rivers Straightening Rivers Water Flow

M. J. Joachim's image for:
"How Rivers Flow River Ecology Water Purpose of Rivers Straightening Rivers Water Flow"
Image by: 

Consequences of Redirecting the Flow of Rivers

It's only water, or is it? What is water if not a source of life and sustainability in the world? We use it to care for our bodies in every way that you can think of, and we manipulate it to manage our funds, satisfy our laziness, and ultimately destroy our planet. Rivers are by definition natural, and their flow is in accordance with the things that surround them. To straighten them is to disrupt their ultimate purpose, thereby interfering with the gifts they bring.

When you look at a mountain, you do not attempt to climb it backwards. In other words, you do not find a way to go downhill, when your goal is to reach the pinnacle. You accept the mountain for what it is, and use its resources accordingly. Rather than redirect the trails, you follow the paths provided by nature, carefully observing the surrounding area without changing it. You are the one who is faced with the challenge of getting to the top of the mountain, and you must respect that challenge without harming the mountain in the process.

So it is with water, though we might not think so when we realize the efforts taken to control its flow. That's the thing about water. It's easy to manipulate and direct according to human want and need, much more so than a mountain we might choose to climb. We can build a dam or channel to redirect the flow according to our own desires, and suddenly our lives are made easier, or are they?

How many creatures have been disrupted by our careless planning? Whose lives have we changed by not respecting the boundaries of our rivers? Are we truly better off when we create monstrous cement barriers that capture and channel our water, disrupting the natural environment they serve? Water flows downhill for a reason. It is a strong force that captures and deposits all sorts of things including soil nutrients, waste products, and just about anything in its path. The beginning of a river is a myriad of ecological systems, waiting for the motion of the water that will direct their fate.

As nature's force pushes its way downward, along the path of least resistance, it carries with it life sustaining power and fuel. Vitamins and minerals infiltrate the banks it changes with each season, and animals adapt accordingly, multiplying and decreasing with every change the river forges. Along comes man, determined to alter the landscape for his own purposes, and suddenly there is no time to adjust to the multitude of changes taking place. The natural banks that once gave wildlife easy access to their fortunes have been tampered with, and the soil beneath them is often toxic by the process.

Without warning, harmful bacteria rates skyrocket due to the unnatural changes we create. The natural balance in our ecosystem has been disrupted, and with it everything in its path, including microorganisms whose sole purpose is to destroy them. An imbalance in nature results, the consequences of which we have not foreseen and are not prepared to deal with. We busy ourselves dealing with the results of our actions, when all we really needed was to let the river run its course, and learn to use it as a resource in its natural state.

More about this author: M. J. Joachim

From Around the Web