I’m so happy there’s another thing I can cross off my “Big Scary Problem” list.
I read an article in the paper entitled, “Urban Sprawl? There’s plenty of room.” I now know that urban sprawl is not something I need to worry about. The author looked out his airplane window on a cross-country trip, saw a whole lot of nothing down there, and decided that urban sprawl isn’t a big deal.
He compares urban sprawl to the rain forests. He says even if we’re burning up thousands of acres of rain forest each day, there are billions left. He figures that could just a blip on the global devastation radar, especially when you consider the technology that future generations will develop.
In other words, it’s a big ol’ planet, and what we’re destroying right now is only a drop in the bucket. If it gets out of hand, the next generation will figure out how to fix it.
I like the guys who pat us on the shoulder and tell us things aren’t really as bad as they seem. All those scientists talking about global warming and the ozone layer and everything – it’s just plain scary! I worry about my children.
But now these other people are saying that global warming may not even exist, and if it does, it’s not that bad. Because the warmer climate might help us grow more crops.
I happened to be downtown when Al Gore came to Portland to talk, and there were angry crowds gathered all around with signs saying he was full of hot air. I wondered who the people were. They obviously think scientists are making this stuff up. I hope they’re right. Because the things scientists keep telling us about climate change seem to be coming true, which is disconcerting to say the least.
All in all, I don’t know who to believe. Recently I flew cross country myself, from Portland to Boston. What I saw out my airplane window was a lot of checkerboards. In fact, there wasn’t one piece of earth in that whole twenty-five hundred miles that wasn’t being utilized in some way – mile after mile of land broken into large rectangles. The only place I didn’t see them was in the mountain ranges.
At the time, it was a little depressing thinking that just over a hundred and fifty years ago there were forests and grasslands and elk, deer, bears, wolves, and buffalo – millions of buffalo – meandering freely. But, you know, there’s progress to consider, and besides, it takes a lot of checkerboards to feed everyone in the urban sprawls.
When I read another article in the newspaper that same day, about the horrible life children of meth users endure, I applied the first guy’s logic and felt a lot better. He would have said something like, “Even if there are wretched children living in meth houses, there are billions of children who haven’t been exposed to meth. Besides, factoring in social advances over the next few decades, that number is actually a minuscule blip on the proverbial global children’s suffering radar.”
So I’ll scratch “Meth Children” off my “Big Scary Problem” list, too. I’ve got enough to worry about as it is.