Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Defying Nature

The desert in Phoenix does not resemble that of Jordan much; while Phoenix abounds in plant-life, Jordan does not. The blooms that these plants create in mid-to-late April seem to especially contrast the hard-pan found in Jordan. While there, though, I could not escape the parallels brought by my recollection of a large pool in Humayma. At first thought, this pool in the middle of a very dry desert appears to be a cistern. Upon further reflection this supposition seems unlikely because there is no evidence what-so-ever of a roof to minimize evaporation. In addition, all the other cisterns on the site were covered. Nearby Petra has similar remains of a large pool. The most likely theory put forth is that these pools were for recreational purposes alone. A further supposition is that they were built to display the ruler's ability to thwart nature. In Phoenix a similar attitude prevails. There is no visible water conservation. Since I live in a rain-forest and I am limited in how frequently I can water my lawn, I can only suppose that Phoenix does not limit lawn-watering to display man's advantage over nature. Open canals and a number of man-made lakes and rivers seem to strengthen this point. The lack of low-flush toilets and water-saving shower heads also emphasize this point. Conservation in any way was lacking in Phoenix, from recycling to the widespread use of HUMVEEs (the only hybrids are the buses). Although Phoenix may be an oasis in the desert, it cannot be one responsibly for so many people. I hope by my next visit that my hotel won't change the sheets, soap and towels against my wishes (my wife left a note not to do so) and that I find more than two recycle bins in my travels.

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