It’s Not Nice to Fool (Around With) Mother Nature, or Carl Hiassen’s Vindication

Sometimes it seems this world has lots of mean people—greedy, self-centered, and unthinking. They’re amassing money, ignoring real needs, and destroying the environment.

It’s even easier to find bad guys in Florida, at least according to author Carl Hiassen, who’s been beating on this drum for decades.  Usually categorized as a mystery writer, Hiassen is truly a social satiricist, attacking the profiteers, idiots and bad guys who value the all-mighty dollar at the cost of the natural world and common decency.

Many of his plot points seem impossible—rodents with tongues dyed blue, an Orange Bowl Queen kidnapped by a local terrorist cell, an evil developer so obsessed with Barbie he remakes his flings into doubles.

Lo and behold here comes real life to prove anything is possible, even Hiassen’s visions.  Recently a sinkhole near Disney World gobbled up a resort with no warning. Slowly, slowly the villas, elevator shaft and walkways cracked and shattered, then sank into the ground.  Fortunately all visitors and staff were evacuated with no injuries.

I have to wonder if Mother Nature is finally flexing her muscles to take revenge.  In Hiaasen’s books, humankind has so brutalized the native flora and fauna that any benevolent balance seems impossible.  Even the folks charged with creating and enforcing laws to protect, not only the environment but also people, gleefully ignore, cheat, and steal to cover their own assets and asses.

An official with the USGS said humans are accelerating the problem of “sinkhole alley.”  Development creates surfaces off which water must run off, then go underground to cut through weak rock and exacerbate the problem.

Is Hiaasen an extremist or a prophet?  An hysteric or a pragmatist?  We may be getting a response from Mother Nature.