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Chan Lowe: Beach renourishment "insanity"


As those who write letters to the editor are fond of telling us, Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

When Einstein took time off (if you’ll pardon the expression), he visited corridors of thought never previously navigated by the human mind, and if his vacation began running short, he simply slowed down the clocks (Nice trick if you know how to do it). His getaways probably didn’t involve pitching an umbrella, setting up his beach chair, cracking open the cooler and happily digging his feet in the sand.

For, if it did, he’d understand the rationale behind beach renourishment. Tides ebb and flow--and coastlines, when left to themselves, alter their contours and profiles ad infinitum, subject to dynamic whim. For us mere mortals to slow down the clock involves dredges, pumps and pipelines, and the spending of much tax money just so that we might take a stand at the shore and shake our fists in the face of Mother Nature.

By Einstein’s definition, what we do year after year is insane; but if he realized that beach renourishment brings tourists who spend more money than it costs to our hotels, restaurants and attractions, then maybe the great scientist, were he still with us, might come up with a “Special Theory of Insanity” tailored for us Floridians.

In gratitude, I’d even buy the old coot a beer at the Elbo Room.

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Beachfront Hotels and Condos should be encouraged to restore there beaches whenever they wish. There should be environmental permits, similar to dock & seawall permits, but other than that, government need not be involved. Let them pay for all the sand they want.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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