Friday, March 16, 2018

Roadside Snow Reveals the Two Worlds We Navigate

There is an important distinction that is often not made, between the impact of people and the impact of the machines people use. Machines are useful, even lovable, and yet the ones with exhaust pipes are, for all their fine attributes, contributing to a chemical assault on nature. That assault may be unintentional, undramatic, and mostly invisible, yet it is relentless and permanent in effect. Some of us participate reluctantly, others obliviously.

This photo is one of the ways to visualize the difference between People World and the Machine World we participate in. Pedestrians and bicyclists (it's legal to bicycle, respectfully, on most sidewalks in Princeton) leave no trace, while the snow is symbolic of the mess cars and trucks make of the world. That dirt that can be seen will seep into the ground or be washed away as a plug of pollution in local streams during the next rain, but is also symbolic of the larger, permanent damage: the CO2 rising from the exhaust pipes up into the air.

Once that distinction is clearly drawn in the mind as well as the snow, then one can begin to gain freedom from the sorts of machines creating slow havoc, and use one's own resourcefulness and partner with nature rather than the flawed machines. The aim is not self-denial but the pleasure of freeing oneself in more and more ways from the ethically challenged machines we feel dependent upon.

No comments: