[These were two separate conversations with a total of three people besides me.]
What do you think about it?
I think humans need to take much better care of nonhuman things.
But like, what’s causing it — I think it’s some natural, a lot manmade, and it’s definitely something to be worried about. It affects not only us. This is where we live. But I believe that things happen for the good of the planet eventually — like the ice age helped the planet overall.
I get what you’re saying about the long term, but how do you think people can help each other in the short term?
I feel like it’s the little things that work towards something big. Like some people say “I can’t help because I can’t do that much,” but if everyone does a smaller part, it can have positive effects. Not throwing trash away, recycling–little things.
What about things like driving less?
Driving definitely is a problem, but maybe it’s more like not to drive things that–like some cars, all they do is pollute. Maybe more efficient cars, but that’s companies’ responsibility to make more efficient cars, cars that don’t pollute.
Society doesn’t care until it’s at your back doorstep, and then it’s too late. Let’s find better ways of getting cars not to put so much emissions into the air, factories not to put so much pollution. Let’s find ways to care about the environment. America is one of the best countries in the world. We have every advantage, we just need to appreciate it more.
The third or so thing that happened was that cities, many cities, made buses better, more frequent, easier for people using wheelchairs and walkers and canes to use, and smaller.
The fifth thing that happened was that iron miners in Australia and Brazil, copper miners in Arizona and Chile, and sand and gravel miners in Utah and Washington State walked off the job.
The seventh and eighth things that happened were that several countries announced that they would not be mining or buying mined material anymore after one year. No more mines of any kind, no more mined material imported. The following year, no more smelting, no refineries. People who had been working the mines would now work to bring the mine sites back into accord with the surrounding land and water, to move them into habitability for plants and animals if possible, with people as a cautious option. It would be okay if no people could live there, as long as the people already alive could live somewhere. Because this work was dangerous–unstable terrain, poisonous residues–the former mining companies paid highly for it, and people who didn’t do it honored the people who did.
The ninth thing that happened was a surge of fertile excitement for ethanol engines, algal-fuel engines, electric engines–a flurry of testing, a fever of prototypes–as fossil-fuel companies tried to dump their assets and car companies prepared to phase out gasoline. This was quickly followed by the tenth thing, a buyback and resource recovery plan for gas cars, computers, tires, anything that soon no one would be able to make anymore.
The twelfth and thirteenth things that happened were that a lot of smaller towns voted to consolidate or disperse. A few people who wished passionately to be alone stayed in their old towns.
The fourteenth thing that happened was that some of the former mine sites began to take off ecologically–they arrived at a balance. Humans didn’t go there anymore. Other sites needed vigilance and care, like a garden, or like Central Park. Something or someone can need care forever and still be important. These sites became pilgrimage sites. Many people went at least once in their lives, if they could, to the one nearest them, to contribute to its sustenance. While there, they lived in little crescents of houses near–but not right on–the rims of pits and canyons. They all had someplace to return to when they left.
The fifteenth or so thing that happened was the building of fast roads and slow roads out of recovered resource materials: fast roads and ramps out of asphalt and metal stripped from the slow roads, transported with the last of the gasoline and the first of the electric fleets, built to expand and contract even in severe changes of temperature. There weren’t very many of them, and they mostly led between small towns and were open to the sky. Slow roads out of cinderblocks from barracks, bricks from prisons, structural glass from casinos, with gaps between the stones, raised and bioswaled on both sides, flanked by spindly new trees and undergrowth or by tough-rooted grasses and desert scrub.
There were also roads through the tan cities, roads underwater, graves of roads. You would follow them only if you were in search of a vision. People rolled on pilgrimages in power chairs replenished by the narrow solar roadways, down the green glass paths with water streaming off them from rain into roots, from wayside shelter to wayside shelter.