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Hamumu Journal
Something I never understand03:48 PM -- Mon May 3, 2004

Nobody (but "nutcases") will ever do anything better than lip service about the environment until it's setting them on fire and tossing them out a window. We all know that, and it's the depressing reality of human beings. The future is too hard for us to fear (probably doesn't help that we have so much to fear, hate, and lament in the present!).

But here's what is so unfathomable to me: People LIVE in LOS ANGELES. Can you imagine!? It's probably tough for people who don't live near a city like LA to understand, but I live a hundred miles or so south of it, and I can drive up towards LA, and see the death cloud completely engulfing it. It's not like there's a general smog over all of Southern California. Not at all, though I'm sure the air isn't perfectly pure (and today, our air here is filled with smoke from local brush fires, including one that was very uncomfortably close! My only comfort was the fact that surely the fire department wouldn't let the hundreds of houses between me and the brush all get burned). There really is a specific and focused cloud of smog clinging to LA itself. The air there is completely cancer-packed, filled to the gills with brown death. The EPA or whoever puts out those smog numbers says the air is actually dangerous to breathe there. But people just do it. I'm well aware that you can get used to it, but you know a large portion of the LA population leaves their city sometimes, and then comes back and sees what they're returning to. But they still return! They just live their lives in LA, and they don't even notice that they're breathing in poison! And more people move there all the time! Nevermind the insane traffic, which I have vowed never to drive in again, and the violence and everything else. The place is just disgusting. If it were my house, I'd run outside and burn it to the ground. It's done.

The real point is, even when the destruction of the environment is clearly being played out right in their face, and having direct health consequences on them, people ignore it. They have 'bigger' things to worry about, like what will happen on 24 next, and how best to handle the tough client at work. It's not like the cancer is going to get you today. It scares me.

And on a partly related note, I was thinking yesterday about this: in time, the car culture here in America will collapse and we will finally join the civilized (civilised, I suppose) world in using public transportation constantly. The reason is simple: traffic in urban areas is getting so bad that it's just not worth it! I'm totally sure that there are a large number of people in LA that drive to work who would literally get there faster by walking (unfortunately, that would increase their dosage of LA air, so maybe that's the problem). New York is really where this collapse started, but they got way ahead of everyone else, by growing in a much more packed way, leaving no room for actual movement of cars. New York is the one place in America where it's common for adults to not even have a car. Everybody there takes the subway and cabs, and there's even a whole lot of walking. I think in time, that's how all cities will be in America. That'll be good, it'll cut down on the carbon monoxide some. Of course, if people stop using the streets, the streets will empty out, and ... well, people will start driving on them again! Boy, we need electric cars.

Enviro-mumbling for the day complete.
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