I often say that among the stupid things that humans do, mining and burning coal might be the stupidest, since coal is sequestered carbon that was taken out of our atmosphere millions of years ago by plants. It was the fact that this carbon was removed from our atmosphere that let Earth's climate become hospitable to living things such as you, me, our ancestors, and our descendants, though the survival of our descendants is certainly in doubt and becoming more unlikely each day.
A close second behind coal burning in the stupid human tricks department is damming rivers.
Tennessee has a prime example of one of these debacles...The dam that created Lake Tellico and destroyed the Little Tennessee River. The Tellico Dam could not be justified in any way shape or fashion, it was simply on a list that had been made in the 1930's, TVA had an entire infrastructure with a mission to build dams, and a very few real estate people stood to make some money by reselling lakefront property created by confiscating farms and homes and destroying the ecosystem that was the Little Tennessee River, former home of the famous snail darter.
The snail darter was about to be protected by the Endangered Species Act, a law that has spawned ubiquitous misinterpretation, even by the people who enacted it into law. Here's the scoop: Endangered species are the canaries in the mine shaft of human existance. They are warning signals that human activity is killing our planet's ability to support life. As the things that humans do kill off other species ability to survive, the dirty little secret of human commerce is that we will eventually kill ourselves as a by product someone's short sighted scheme. It is nothing short of the suicide of the entire human species.
Armageddon brought on by those among us whose highest purpose in living...is to die rich.
We could be so much better than this. We could pay heed to the message of each species that certain activities of mankind are killing off and by this manner, possibly prevent our own demise.
This is a hopeful message for those with courage.
A Tellico Dam Retrospective