Saturday, October 25, 2008

RIVERS V. DRAINAGE DITCHES


These pictures are from out last metro adventure to the Value Village thrift store in MacKenzie. Apparently, it's a chain? Based out of HOTlanta? Who knew.

Anyway, the pictures are from this drainage ditch that we had to cross to get from the street to the parking lot in front of the store. While we were crossing this ditch, we had a mini debate about its merits as an urban watershed. Melissa was pretty upset by its existence and cited it as one of the many environmental injustices humans perpetuate every day. I, on the other hand, did not quite agree. I found the ditch somewhat endearing; it reminds me of the Los Angeles river. But my reason for appreciating the ditch goes far beyond simple nostalgia. This appreciation is based upon hope; the notion of what this ditch could be if we'd simply pay attention to it. It made me think about the common belief among those in the environmental community that human activities are fundamentally environmentally destructive, which, Personally, I don't think this is the case.

Well, no. They are. Right now, anyway. But, they don't have to be. And they shouldn't be. And that's what I'm trying to get at.

I believe that every organism on the planet is equal; we are all made of the same things and breathe with the same exuberant thirst for life. We're all a part of the same collective existance and that existence that makes life possible. And that means that we all, in some way, contribute to each other's existance and the overall perpetuation of life on earth. So, in that sense, humans have as much a stake in making the world work as do the ants, birch trees, and antelope herds. Our cultures and creations and ideas matter just as much as theirs and in that way, humans and "nature" can never be two separate, abstract concepts. Without them, there can't be an us; without us the world should be a much less exciting place. But we don't frame it that way. We always think of humanity as somehow being separated from the rest of existence; we're either better or worse, smarter or dumber, faster or slower. We seek the regularity and dependability that we assume comes with human intervention. We're scared of "nature;" it's that scary noise in the forest, that cold October wind, that tinder dry bush on the hillside. We know nature is unpredictable and, by definition, wild. That scares us.

But it doesn't have to be this way. I wonder what the world would be like if we thought of ourselves as an integral part of nature as opposed to constantly trying to escape or overcome it. What if instead of trying to either attempting to emulate or destroy nature, we became nature? Then, maybe the drainage ditches we create could be rivers. Our homes could be habitats and our roads migratory paths. Our world wouldn't be lined with concrete or plastic, we'd be smarter and more thoughtful than that.

We'd be better than that; we'd be better than this.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

1 comment:

Liz said...

How was value village!? I wanna hear about it!

 
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