Thursday, August 19, 2010

A weighty question

It's just a thought, and possibly a very naive thought, but do you think that we, as a civilisation, are getting too heavy for our own good?

I don't mean obesity, although it's true that we all seem to be considerably larger than our grandparents, what concerns me is
the fabricated world that we're creating to accommodate the ever-increasing size of our world population.

I was on a bus in the City yesterday, all around me new buildings were rearing up behind safety hoardings. When completed they threaten to overwhelm the existing shops and offices and create an entirely new skyline that will be much closer to the sky than anything previously witnessed.
They are large, they are imposing . . . and they are incredibly heavy.

Nor is just the buildings that weigh heavily on the London streets. The buses, particularly the tourist-carrying coaches, are larger and heavier . . . the lorries have doubled in size and number over the past twenty years . . . cumbersome, weighty cars have difficulty in manoeuvring the narrow streets.
Added to all this, there are more of us . . . many, many more of us. We are larger . . . we are heavier . . . and we are everywhere.

This rapid growth can be experienced worldwide. Think about it for a moment, where does all the material come from that's needed to fabricate the growing number of homes and offices from Washington to Beijing? Where do we find the fuel to power our accelerating number of vehicles?
It all comes from beneath our feet, from under the ground.
We dig down for oil, for minerals, for clay, for coal. Cities such as Bath were created by the excavation of stone from the surrounding hillsides, leaving dangerously hollow hills that are only now being made safe.
But what of the overall health of our planet that is being drained of oil, emptied of coal and minerals, and made fragile by the miles of sewers and underground piping?

Is it so very simplistic to think that, in excavating the substance from beneath our feet and piling it on the surface, we might be affecting the integrity of the planet itself? Was our fragile globe designed to lose vast quantities of its sub-strata and then be asked to bear so much extra weight? Were the shifting, tectonic plates that underpin our massive structures designed to accept such stress?
An egg, with its content intact, is amazingly strong. An empty egg-shell is incredibly fragile.
Do you see my point?

I wish I could see a happy ending to these musings, but I'm left with the disturbing mental picture of our depleted planet being squeezed of its life to satisfy the demands of our rapacious species.

Tell me, how do we walk more lightly on the earth?
We need to, if the vital source of our sustenance and well being is to continue to support us.