28 August 2012

What would Huck Finn have said?

My favourite book in childhood, and I was an avid reader, was Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Rafting down the mighty Mississippi from adventure to adventure was as romantic a vision as a boy could have. Sadly, it appears that old Miss isn't so mighty these days.

Due to the massive drought affecting the U.S., water levels in the river have dropped to one-quarter what they were last year, seriously hampering barge traffic along this major transportation route. Vessels can't be fully loaded and in some cases have gotten stuck, forcing their cargos to be moved by road. At Greenville, Mississippi, 100 barges were hung up, at a cost of $3-million a day.

Although global warming may not have caused the drought, it has surely aggravated it and it contributes to the costs. The price of ignoring climate change escalates.

At the end of Twain's great book, Huck decided to escape the woes of civilization and "light out for the territory." Unfortunately, no such option is available to us.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, about the only way you can make it through parts of the river these days is on the sort of raft Huck used back then.

    Great book. I just read it again a few months back.