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Slow Violence is very detrimental concept as defined by Nixon. It is the slow depreciation of a country through the dumping of toxic goods, trash and other environmental problems that slowly deteriorate and ruin a 3rd world or impoverished country. Most basically it is more advanced countries taking advantage of laws and regulations of other more lax 3rd world country laws and dumping their horrible waste there. As Nixon describes an example of it, “Offloading rich-nation toxins onto the world’s poorest continent would help ease the growing pressure from the rich-nation environmentalists who were campaigning against garbage dumps and industrial effluent that they condemned as health threats and found aesthetically offensive.” (Nixon). It can also be applied to the general degradation of less developed countries resources that are not environmentally sound techniques of resource extraction. This has led to the destruction of areas and humongous dumping sites among other things in these countries that make them even worse in the long run compared to what they are now. Slow violence also leads to further degradation of the people there between socioeconomic levels and overall health. All in all, it is a very prevalent topic that happens all around the world.
Slow violence can be attributed to wealthier countries too. A common theme of wealthier countries is that more people in poverty live in cheaper housing etc. which have a higher chance of being environmentally compromised in the terms of basic thing such as dirty water, more polluted air, or higher chances of flooding etc. This has been seen throughout history in America. “The researchers found “a consistent pattern over a 30-year period of placing hazardous waste facilities in neighborhoods where poor people and people of color live.” (Erickson). In poorer areas the more affluent and those in power will take advantage of these people and locations by dumping or environmentally degrading these areas. This can also be applied to the Chesapeake Bay. The bay is taken advantage of by many companies and farmers that have little care or believe they aren’t affecting its health. They are able to pollute the bay with little economic cost to them or lax regulations on polluting. This does have a cost though at the hand of the watermen and others that enjoy the bay. They see less money for their business and lower levels of fish, crab and oysters year after year. The bay then continues to get worse and worse and more watermen are economically forced to switch jobs etc. at the hand of slow violence.
Belize is considered a 3rd world country with lots of poverty. This in my opinion would lead to the idea of slow violence being very prevalent in Belize. As this article states about Belize, “However, its forests and marine resources are under significant threat, mainly from high deforestation rates, improper solid waste management, rapid coastal development, increasing poverty, weak institutional and legal frameworks, and the recent discovery of sweet crude oil.” (Young). With such a poor environmental presence in Belize and other countries like it that are so focused on profiting and getting out of poverty environmental ethics go by the wayside for a quick dollar. This leads to further environmental degradation and over a long time period pushing the general population into further poverty. With oil also being found in Belize the government there is going to have a very difficult decision. Should they allow drilling at the cost of he environment or allow it for the economic benefits. This is the basis of slow violence with more advanced and wealthier countries being the aggressor in the “violence” of these underdeveloped countries.
All in all, the idea of slow violence is very much true and noticeable all around the globe. From more affluent people taking advantage of lower income neighborhoods or wealthier countries taking advantage of poorer countries and dumping toxic wastes and other horrible things there it is seen everywhere. This problem needs to be corrected to help all the different people that suffer at the hand of slow violence. Stronger governments with better laws that don’t allow the country and the people to be taken advantage of are needed. That is how slow violence is so prevalent in America and in other parts of the world.
Erickson, Jim. “ Targeting minority, low-Income neighborhoods for hazardous waste sites.” Targeting minority, low-Income neighborhoods for hazardous waste sites | University of Michigan News, University of Michigan, 19 Jan. 2016, ns.umich.edu/new/releases/23414-targeting-minority-low-income-neighborhoods-for- hazardous-waste-sites.
Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Harvard Univ. Press, 2013
Young, Colin A. “Belize’s Ecosystems: Threats and Challenges to Conservation in Belize.” Tropical Conservation Science, 1 Mar. 2008, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/194008290800100102#articleCitationDownloadCon tainer.
Smith Island and the inhabitants of it are slowly and steadily watching their beloved island fade away into the ocean. The island has been retreating due to “erosion”, as the locals call it, for decades. The island is in serious peril in many different aspects. The island itself is being flooded with water from the rising sea level. And from sea level rise stems a lot of the other problems on smith island. The younger generation is deciding to not stay on the island for many different reasons. The watermen culture is slowly being lost as many watermen get too old for the job with a very small generation replacing them. Another large problem is that the population of smith island is steadily decreasing with less people wanting to live there. A final problem on Smith island is that the economy is drying up and decreasing for many reasons. All in all, the problems of smith island stem mainly from sea level rise and lead to the question, “What will Smith island do?”.
Smith island is a small island in the Chesapeake Bay that is about 9 miles away by boat from Crisfield. The community of Smith island is spread out over three areas called Rhodes Point, Tylerton and Ewell. There are roads linking the three areas which locals use to drive their cars or golf carts around. The island is known for its unique dialect where locals talk with speech patterns from original English. Due to their isolation from the mainland the dialect continued to grow and became more and more unique. The main industry in the island is from crabs particularly soft shell crabs and other seafood. The community was founded on the basis of living off the water and being a waterman. There is also a very strong religious aspect to the island that used to exist. Today that religious aspect is not as apparent, but the main religion of the past there was Methodism. Methodism lined up very well with the townspeople’s values and their viewpoints on the bay. Smith island is largely considered the last pearl of the Chesapeake in the sense that it is the last true island with a unique island culture in the Chesapeake, especially in regards to the watermen there.
As pure and pristine as Smith island is there are still many problems with the area that all revolve around the fact of sea level rise and land subsidence. The Watermen culture is a largely retreating style of life on Smith Island. In the past centuries the lifestyle was somewhat lucrative and the people of that time benefited largely from the Bay and their prime location on it. Being on an island that was 9 miles away away from the main land gave the people of Smith island a huge advantage for hunting waterfowl, fishing, and crabbing. In the last two to three decades many people have had easy access to the island and fishing areas around it with the help of better and faster boats. Another point to make is that the people on Smith island have harder times crabbing, fishing and hunting with restrictions that apply to them and less bountiful harvests that in the past. “Environmental impacts in the Bay –reduced oxygen levels, high nitrogen from run-off, depleted underwater grasses and loss of wetlands–have caused declining crab population and lost revenue for Smith Island watermen.” (Smith Island Vision Plan, 10). This has led to many watermen having children that do not want to fill in for them and carry on the watermen tradition. With less profits being made year after year at Smith island from crabbing and other harvests more and more of the younger generations at Smith Island do not want to become a part of the profession. This has led to a decreased amount of watermen on the island carrying on the tradition of the Smith Island Watermen. The younger generations end up going to the mainland to find better and more profitable jobs.
In addition, the general population of Smith Island is decreasing rapidly. “The population of Smith Island has decreased significantly over the past several decades.” (Smith Island Vision Plan, 30). With less and less people living on the island and the younger generation leaving for the mainland there is a large gap in age between the elderly and the younger generation of the island. This has led to volunteer responders and firefighters having to volunteer much longer than their predecessors. Eventually they will be too old to participate in being volunteer firefighters and first responders. When his happens what generation will be on the island to help the elderly and support the community with the next closest responders being on the mainland, 45 min away by boat.“The population numbers have dropped to a point where planning for basic services and infrastructure is challenging.” (Smith Island Vision Plan, 40) This is one small aspect of why smith Islands population needs to be replaced. It has created a large strain on the town to recruit more people to come to the island. They plan to achieve this goal and others as outlined in the Smith Island vision plan, a 40 page “solution” to their islands problems.
All these problems mainly stem from the problem of sea level rise, or as the locals refer to it, Erosion. With sea level slowly, or in some cases very suddenly, rising to the inhabitants of Smith islands doorsteps they have realized the problem. The older generations have also experienced parts of the island that when they were younger disappear into the Bay. The majority of islanders do not believe in sea level rise at all though. This has led to the term erosion being used to describe their problems. With this problem in mind the Smith Islanders are desperately seeking government aide and help from the army corps of engineers to build more bulkheads and other structures to stop wave action and other natural forces from destroying the island (Smith Island Vision Plan, 12). “To date, Tylerton has taken the most aggressive steps toward shoreline protection through a combination of bulkhead installation and shoreline hardening with riprap.” (Smith Island Vision Plan, 12). In conclusion the only viable solution to the townspeople of Smith Island is hardening the shoreline and fortifying it with bulkheads, breakwaters and other anti-erosion tactics.
Will Smith Island survive the test of time with the tactic of shoreline hardening? No, not with the pattern of sea level rise being about 1 foot higher every year. At that rate Smith island will be under water within the next century. Holland island is a prime example of a similar island that existed. This island had a rich history but was slowly “eroding” away. This led to the iconic Holland Island House which was the last house on the island that was slowly and surely slipping into the Chesapeake Bay. Eventually the house collapsed completely into the Bay and the island is almost completely covered with water now. This is how smith Islands story will also be written unless serious changes are made to the environment, climate change, and other problems in the world. Unfortunately, this is almost defiantly not going to happen and Smith Island will not be here one day.
In conclusion, Smith island is eventually going to fall to the peril of the Bay. Sea level rise will inevitably keep rising and the land will continue to subside which will slowly and surely wipe away Smith Island until it is a similar and sad story like Holland Island. Bulkheads and other projects to prevent erosion will help but will not work for long. the bulkheads and other preventative measures will elongate Smith islands time by a mere blink in the eyes of nature. All in all, Smith Island is going to disappear along with the culture and lifestyle of the Iconic Smith Island Watermen. At the hand of Sea Level Rise
“Smith Island Vision Plan.” Smith Island, Smith Island United , washcoll- my.sharepoint.com/personal/mhardesty2_washcoll_edu/_layouts/15/onedrive.aspx?slr id=6f97219e-f092-4000-c419 03aa59090ef7&FolderCTID=0x01200067F0F716884ADF408E64FBEA3BF0B623&id=%2Fp ersonal%2Fmhardesty2_washcoll_edu%2FDocuments%2FChesapeake%20Semester%2F CS%202017%2FChesapeake%20Semester%20%28Shared%29%2FJourney%202%2FReadi ngs%2FOct%2019th%2FFinal%20Vision%20Plan%20Smith%20Island%2Epdf&parent=%2 Fpersonal%2Fmhardesty2_washcoll_edu%2FDocuments%2FChesapeake%20Semester% 2FCS%202017%2FChesapeake%20Semester%20%28Shared%29%2FJourney%202%2FRe adings%2FOct%2019th.
Humans in general have little to no respect for the land they live on. This was very apparent when tobacco was a staple crop of the Chesapeake Tide water area in the 1600s up until the 1800s. The people of this time period had little respect for the land and cared almost purely about money and power. They had a disregard for the land and a disregard for the forces of nature too. This general disregard for nature was a large part of the basic idea that humans could do whatever they wanted to the land they lived on. There basic attitude toward nature was that they had to defeat it in a way or tame it. This idea stemmed from England mainly and how England was a large city with little to no forested areas around the general public. Most basically humans of these time periods had little to no respect for nature even though they so heavily relied on it for so many things.
Many tobacco farmers of the time period from the 1600s to the 1700s profited off of nature at the expense of other humans and the land itself. As Wendell Berry states, “Humans who do not experience them (floods, rains etc.) are exempt only because they are paying (or underpaying) other humans such as farmers to deal with nature on their behalf.” (518). Slaves were the humans or farmers that suffered then. They worked the land and did whatever their masters told them to do. They were the ones that had to deal with the rain, the flooding, and all the other problems that nature may have thrown their way. More specifically they had to make sure the cultivation of tobacco went well and go through all the steps of taking care of it. Nature would present many problems for the slaves of this time period. Some of the problems would be dealing with tobacco flea beetles, cultivation, and maintenance of the plant. Meanwhile the masters are profiting off of the slaves and nature. They have little respect for nature or the slaves, but are creating large fortunes for themselves. This large neglect of the land was something that Aldo Leopold passionately describes in his writing called “The Land Ethic”. The basic idea of this writing is that humans have little connection with their land and care about it for monetary gain. As Aldo Leopold writes, “The farmers continued only those practices that yielded an immediate and visible economic gain for themselves.” (11). This pattern of disregard for land is seen today and goes all the way back into history, especially with tobacco. Overall the theme of money helping people from having to deal with nature is very apparent throughout history as well as the use of land being taken advantage of for monetary gain.
Throughout human history the advantage of wealth has benefited many while leaving other humans in the dirt. This theme is very recognizable during the height of tobacco cultivation due to slavery and its forced labor. They were the group that suffered when nature released its wrath on the land while their masters or the plantation owners benefited off of them. Another theme that goes with this is the disregard for land ethics. Plantation owners thought in a monetary sense leading to them stripping and ravaging the land with tobacco cultivation through the intense labor of slavery. All in all, tobacco horticulture clearly shows how wealth led to certain individuals not having to deal with the hardships of nature all the while having little to no ethics for the land they used.
Leopold, Aldo, 1886-1948. A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949. Print.
Berry , Wendell. Preserving Wildness: An Essay. Wyoming Outdoor Council, 1986.
Being outside in nature is one of the most priceless things humans have the ability to do. You can lose yourself in nature from admiring the wildlife, taking in the view of a large body of water, to staring at the magnificent inter workings of a tree. Taking a walk in nature is a very rewarding and awing experience. Unfortunately, not as many people in this day and age take advantage of slowing down and getting lost in nature or simply just walking. It is a basic human function that dates back to the earliest human beings. Humans then would walk around in search of food, materials, water, and other reasons. Today humans can walk on trails or through a wooded area to admire it. Walking is also linked to better health and when you walk in a natural setting such as a forest it is even healthier for you. As McCurdy states, “Walking in nature promotes total health, both physical and mental.”. It is unfortunate that not as many people today take the time to benefit from something as simple as a walk through the woods.
This disconnect between people and their natural setting is a huge problem. It goes back to Aldo Leopold and his writings on human’s land ethic. People do not care as much about the land and what grows or lives there from a natural point of view. As Richard Long says from Five, Six, pick up sticks, “A walk expresses space and freedom and the knowledge of it can live in the imagination of anyone, and that is another space too.” (565) . A walk is so much more than simply strolling down a path, it’s a journey where you mind can run free and think about whatever it wants. It is also a journey into the past. “A walk is just one more layer, a mark, laid upon thousands of other layers of human and geographic history on the surface of the land.” (Long, 565). Humans walked this earth for thousands of years before our generation. To think about another human being hundreds or thousands of years ago taking the same steps you just took is a captivating feeling. “What were they doing”, “who were they”, “why were they here” are some of the questions that could run through your brain. It’s a very mysterious feeling to think in those terms and what was happening on this land long ago. And to think something as simple as a walk can get you lost in the landscape and contemplating your own life or another person who took the same steps as you. Overall walks in nature are a common theme throughout human history that our current generation needs to take more advantage of, especially in this day and age.
All in all, a walk, the most basic idea or concept to humans, is actually a journey that can retrace human footsteps from ages ago that also benefits a person’s physical and mental health. People need to be taking more walks to benefit themselves in so many different ways. It also gves people more of a land ethic because they see all that nature has to offer. Overall a walk in the woods is much more than a few steps from point A to B, it is a journey.
McCurdy, Leyla. “Walking in Nature Prescription for Better Health.” Every Body Walk, National Environmental Education Foundation, 2 June 2017, everybodywalk.org/walking-in-nature-prescription-for-better-health/.
Richard Long, Excerpt from Five Sic Pick Up Sticks (London: Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 1980); reprinted in R.H. Fuches, Richard Long (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheism Foundation, 1986), 236.
The world revolves around the concept of money. People will do virtually anything to make money or reach economic success. This can lead to people taking advantage of others, committing crimes, or in a more common way, taking advantage of their land. People taking advantage of their lands can be seen all throughout history. The planting of tobacco for instance left the soils of the south in disarray and led to a large increase in slavery. Forestry, the iron industry, and coal mining desolated the areas surrounding the Chesapeake Bay region and elsewhere. Throughout all of history there are vast amounts of evidence of people looking to get rich quick and treating their land as a short term solution for economic gain. Unfortunately, this is the typical human nature, making money fast and doing whatever it takes to get there.
History repeats itself time and time again in the sense of economic return. As Aldo Leopold discusses, from “The Land Ethic”, the concept of how farmers from south western Wisconsin were losing all their top soil (10). The farmers were told they needed to adopt special practices for five years to help mitigate the problem with help from the public/ government for Civilian Conservation Corp labor, machinery and materials (Leopold 10). After the five year contract the farmers abandoned these practices to reduce top soil erosion (Leopold, 10-11). “The farmers continued only those practices that yielded an immediate and visible economic gain for themselves.” (Leopold, 11). This instance in history and many other like it represents the general nature of the public regarding land use. They can use it however they desire and will use it for a financial gain at the cost of the land, the waterways, the surrounding landscape, and the general public living in the vicinity.
Another instance of how money and economic gain run the world is noted in Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Use”. He examines the nature of conservation systems and how they have little impact unless they can attach an economic trait to an organism or ecosystem. “When one of these non-economic categories is threatened and if we happen to love it, we invent subterfuges to give it economic importance.” (Leopold, 14). Leopold goes into detail on song birds for instance which in reality have little economic gain but more of an intrinsic value to humans. “Ornithologists jumped to the rescue with some distinctly shaky evidence to the effect that insects would eat us up if birds failed to control them.” (Leopold, 14). This clearly represents the large importance that economics has in the governmental level of protection and the public’s view. With this lack of land ethics how will the world and all of its inhabitants continue to prosper with humans at the helm?
The word land ethics entails the ethic use of land by humans and how humans should use it. Today humans have little to no sense of land ethics and this can clearly be seen by where our world is headed with large problems such as pollution of waterways, climate change, and many other environmental problems. However, there are many organizations and people fighting for nature and the land, including the organisms in it. This gives hope to the current generations living on this earth and the future generations, so that they might have a world similar to how we have it. A world without exponential environmental disasters and problems that previous generations left them with to solve. All in all, we need view the world and land on it more ethically, not economically; and as Aldo Leopold said “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.” (Leopold, 35).
Leopold, Aldo, 1886-1948. A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There. New York :Oxford University Press, 1949. Print.
America would not be where it is today without the large labor force it procured to build and grow the basic infrastructure of this country as well as the accumulation of wealth from free or cheap labor. Throughout the creation of what we know today as America there has been the presence of many different labor forces. These labor forces varied considerably throughout our country’s history; but virtually all these labor forces were taken advantage of in one way or another. The different labor forces used over the years consisted of indentured servants, slaves, immigrants, child labor, and many others. It is very apparent to see these people’s remnants in the form of wealth acquired from them, recreations and stories of their living conditions, food acquisition and so much more. America as we know it today was created to a large extent on “dirty labor” (“dirty” *money*).
Jamestown, which is considered the first successful English settlement, is one of the first areas where a labor force was largely needed. Indentured servants were the first answer to this demand for labor. The Virginia Company had a difficult time finding people that were willing to go to a new land where the outcome was unknown. They solved this problem by giving people passage to the new world as well as room and board in exchange for 4-7 years of work or servitude. After an indentured servants contract was completed, if they hadn’t died already, they would typically get land as well as other things. With a large amount of indentured servants in the new colony of Jamestown the elites of the time could have things completed. A base was built, food was collected (to a limited extent), and other projects were completed with mainly the indentured servant workforce. There were limited laws in place for the indentured servants and many died during their contract period. When conditions became horrible at the colony dead indentured servants were known to be tossed into trash dumps and other horrible places because of the lack of care for their life and the horrendous conditions in the colony. Another cause of indentured servant’s deaths as well as others deaths was disease. Many people became sick upon getting to the new colony and would pass away within a few weeks of arriving. Indentured servant’s lives were not given much value and their deaths were disregarded by many. Overall Indentured servants were the main workhorse used during this time and up into the 17th century to complete many things such as building, farming and other jobs.
Tobacco was introduced to the young colony of Jamestown in 1613 by John Rolfe. This crop led to the expansion and advancement of the English colony as well as the survival of it. Upon introduction tobacco was grown everywhere and anywhere. Colonists were said to have planted it right outside their houses and everywhere possible (Young). With the new crop of tobacco and the lucrative market people flooded into the area seeking their fortune. The more powerful elites of the colony quickly started growing tobacco and creating farms or plantations. These farms started to grow in the acreage and the amount of workers. These workers were indentured servants and slaves. It started with indentured servants mainly who would work the large tobacco fields making their bosses rich. The many new people that came to the colony brought over slaves and many more indentured servants. This led to a large labor force in the colony. With more money flowing from England back to the colony the rise of materialism started to show. Overall the colony quickly became infatuated with tobacco which brought in lots of money that was earned from the labor of indentured servants and slaves.
As time went on tobacco quickly expanded all around the Chesapeake and elsewhere. Plantations grew exponentially in size and amount. And with more tobacco being grown more labor was needed to harvest this crop. Tobacco in itself was a very labor intensive crop. The process of growing tobacco was clearing old forests and then planting tobacco for about three years until the tobacco plants started to get smaller. After this corn and wheat were planted until the ground would go fallow. The labor for this process started to be provided almost exclusively from black slaves. The triangle trade quickly expanded bringing slaves to North America, sugar tobacco and other goods to Europe and finally rum, textiles and other goods to Africa. “Between 13,000 and 20,000 slaves were brought into Virginia and Maryland between 1619 and 1697 and approximately 96,000 arrived from 1698 (When colonial records of slave imports are more complete) to 1774 when the transatlantic salve trade into the Chesapeake ended.” (Walsh, 11). Slaves during the early 1700s had many different jobs. Every trade or plantation had slaves in this time, if the person could afford them. They would work as blacksmiths, field workers, hunters, fishermen, and many other things. Slaves during this time were treated horribly for the most part. On average, at a plantation slaves would work from dawn till dusk and then have to go back to their “house” or slave quarters. They were provided with minimal food which led to them having to forage and look for other means of nutrition. Slaves would work their whole entire lives till death usually and not receive a penny. With thousands upon thousands of slaves in the colony all being exploited by their masters the colony continued to grow in wealth and size. With this free labor source not much could stop the expansion of the colony.
Slavery changed a lot in America after the revolutionary war but mainly after the civil war. Slaves were now free to pursue jobs and make a living for themselves. Many flocked towards the cities to find work. With the rise of materialism, the new techniques in food preservation, and the strong influence of the industrial revolution, a workforce was again needed for the output of many different goods. Child labor and a majority of the black population were the answer to this need for cheap labor. Another large labor force was immigrants, “when manufacturing jobs were dirty, dangerous, and heavily regimented, immigrant workers were the mainstay of industrial employment.” (Hirschman, Mogford). They were given jobs that had horrible conditions and did not pay much. There were little to any workforce regulations and if there were they were typically ignored. The factory owners sometimes offered their workers room and board, which the workers had to pay for. The room and board offered was usually horrible and costly, which allowed the factory owners to have even more control over their workers. The labor force of this time period was largely taken advantage of. Apart from long hours and horrible conditions people would die on the job. With the large disregard of basic human rights by factory owners towards their workers, the rise of the union was formed and continued to expand. America was teeming with thousands of different goods that needed to be transported. Overall these goods and outputs were made and shipped at the expense of immigrants, blacks, children, women and others who lived and worked in dismal conditions that shaped America and presence of the union today.
All in all, America as we know it today was built on the backs of many different people that had to work hard for almost nothing. They suffered and worked the land or worked in factories expanding America and its vast wealth. There is no possible way America would be where it is today without the ample labor from indentured servants, slaves, freed blacks, immigrants, children, women and others. Overall our country was founded and built on other people and makes you question, are we being taken advantage of or taking advantage of a group of people today in the labor force?
Hirschman, Charles, and Elizabeth Mogford. “Immigration and the American Industrial Revolution From 1880 to 1920.” Social science research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Dec. 2009, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760060/. Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.
Young, Jason . “The History of Tobacco and Its Growth Throughout the World.” The History of Tobacco and Its Growth Throughout the World, Stanford , web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/trade_environment/health/htobacco.html. Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.
Walsh, Lorena S. “The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Colonial Chesapeake Slavery.” OAH Magazine of History, vol. 17, no. 3, 2003, pp. 11–15. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25163594.
In today’s society, everything moves fast with little time to stop and think. People are going from one activity to the next in such a rush they don’t take any time to think and look around. I also have noticed myself doing this. I’ll be in such rush to go from point A to point B or complete task A then task B that I forget to stop and just actually look at what I’m doing and take in the surrounding area. I believe that society has changed so much from what it used to be. When the Indians were around they took time to do things in a simpler way. This is something I believe we should look on with envy.
As Berry states in “An entrance to the woods”, “But my mind is still keyed to seventy-miles an hour. And having come here so fast my mind is still busy with work.” (721). This is a large problem that plagues today’s society. People want to move fast and get things done fast. They want to drive as fast as they can to get somewhere. Even Berry admits that he does this. He feels as though he is still busy with work when in reality he is at a campsite in the woods. I can relate in the sense that when I am driving somewhere I am speeding there; trying to weave in and out of traffic to get to my destination. Why would I do this? I am in no rush, I have no deadline. I can simply take my time and enjoy the ride. Of course, I don’t. like so many others I am in a “natural rush”. If you were to travel to New York City and simply watch all the people and cars you would notice one common thing after a while. The majority of people are in a rush to get somewhere. You would see people rushing to work, speeding and honking at others in cars, and others speed walking while on their phones. This is what society has taught us; you need to be going fast and getting things done fast.
This weekend when I was driving from my house to visit a friend at Bloomsburg university I noticed my speed was between 70-80mph. I suddenly slammed on the breaks to a mere 40 mph and asked myself, “Why am I rushing?”. I look out the window and stop to notice the landscape and the surrounding area. It is a perfectly sunny day with huge white puffy clouds in the sky and green everywhere. I noticed lush mountain landscapes and a few trees starting to change from green to fantastic shades of orange, yellow, and red. It was a sight to behold. The drive then changed from me staring intently at the road and the speed limit postings to a joy ride. I was immediately lost in the drive. People began passing me in the dotted yellow as I am staring out the window of the truck taking in the view thinking to myself, “They are in such a rush that they are missing out on so much.” Overall, I really connected with what Berry was saying and applied it to my life. Sometimes you just need to slow down and enjoy the ride.
Berry, Wendell. “An Entrance to the Woods.” Recollected Essays, 1965-1980, North Point Press, 1981, pp. 718–728