The Problems of Southern California

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From reading the author’s book “Ecology of Fear,” Mike Davis’ main thesis for writing this book was to make readers become aware of the underlying problems and threats which have existed or currently exist in Southern California and how these problems shape the way we live today and in the imminent future as well. Although Davis did not really provide us with any remedies for the problems facing Southern California, this book made it very clear to the readers that problems do still exist, although at times they may sound subtle in nature. Of the numerous problems which do exist in Southern California, I will discuss only a handful of the problems that Davis provided us insight to. In the following paragraphs, the main problems of Southern California that I will discuss about are suburbanization and how it made Southern California lose its natural beauty and the effects of overdevelopment, the wild fires which occur and similarities and differences the rich and poor communities faced in terms of adversity, how suburbanization brought people closer to the wildlife, and how numerous books and movies portrayed Los Angeles as the center for calamities. The culmination of all these problems clearly shows that there are many glaring weaknesses of Southern California that need to be closely examined.
One of the main issues that the book, “Ecology of Fear,” discussed about were the inherent dangers and problems that suburbanization imposed upon the landscape of Southern California. Although suburbanization in theory and in reality did create abundant benefits to a great mass of people, especially to those who wanted to avoid the daily nuisances of urban city life, its negative consequences were quite grave indeed. Suburbanization led to a complete eradication to the natural landscape of many areas in California. The book’s vivid accounts of how the lush, green landscape was bulldozed just to build tracts of homes were a painful reminder of the beauty that was lost due to suburbanization. “In 1958 sociologist William Whyte – author of The Organization Man – had a disturbing vision as he was leaving Southern California. ‘Flying from Los Angeles to San Bernardino – an unnerving lesson in man’s infinite capacity to mess up his environment – the traveler can see a legion of bulldozers gnawing into the last remaining tract of green between the two cities’.” (Davis, p. 77)...

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...larly to Los Angelenos, that disaster could become a reality of Los Angeles if people start ignoring the warning signs that permeate throughout Southern California.
From reading Mike Davis’ book “Ecology of Fear,” my personal impression of his argument of making Southern Californians to become aware of the underlying threats and problems which exist today or have existed in the past is a commendable act on his part, but I really feel Davis overanalyzed the problems Southern Californians face. Throughout the book, Davis painted a very gloomy picture of Southern California and he never really brought a positive spin on the problems that exist in Southern California and how we can take steps to remedy these problems. Also, Davis should have recognized the fact that problems exist in other parts of the United States as well and they are not just confined to Southern California. The problems of Southern California is not all that different from the rest of the nation, which faces similar disasters that are comparable to earthquakes and wild fires, such as tornadoes, floods, thunderstorms, etc. So, in essence, problems exist in all societies and cultures and that is the reality of life.

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