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Re: [at-l] The world a viewshed

"David F. Addleton" wrote:

> snipped a bunch of stuff with which I have no argument
> > Let me cast my wild and foolish vote that the whole planet be named a
> > viewshed and all further development cease!  I'll not let my dreams be
> > shackled by practical considerations.  I'd rather hike to a different
> > drummer.
> For some reason civilization seems to move toward urbanization, leaving
> behind in its wake "Nature" to reclaim the unused landscapes. I've read
> somewhere that Americans on the East Coast now enjoy a larger forest canopy
> than existed in 1776 ... after the colonies had largely denuded the land of
> trees to satisfy their own and European demands for wood. The great,
> old-growth trees exist no longer.

They wouldn't anyway...Oaks, Maples, Walnut, Cherry, and White Pine seldom live
longer than three hundred years, so the stuff that was old growth when the
pilgrims first landed in 1620, would be long dead and fallen by now.  What we
consider old growth in New England these days were seedlings during the
Colonial period, some are even newer. As old farm plots continue to fall into
disuse, especially in the most remote areas, "old-growth" style forest will
re-establish itself, biological diversity will re-establish, etc....that is if
urban and suburban sprawl can be contained.

> Bison used to range on the piedmont.
> Human population hasn't really suffered any great decline towards their
> estimated populations of 2,000, 4,000, or even 5,000 years ago and barring
> some catastrophe I don't expect to see any decline in my life time. So
> while I may dream of an earth largely empty of homo sapiens,

Pretty grim dream,  and which homo sapiens should be killed off en-masse by
disease or catastrophe to yield this "dream-like" environment?  Should it just
be the urbanites in Manhattan, London, Paris, Atlanta, Chicago, Stuttgard,
Frankfurt, Berlin, Madrid, Tokyo, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Hong Kong, Beijing,
Ho Chi Mihn City, Mexico City, etc.?  Or should it be all those who are unable
to properly respect nature?

> I don't expect
> it to happen, but I do hope that we can, through technology and renewable
> energy sources, begin to repair some of the timeless damage we've already
> inflicted. I'd like to see something so simple as putting all the power,
> telephone, and cable lines underground ... Imagine the scenery then: and
> imagine how easily such hidden eye-sores would survive tornados and
> hurricanes.

Not a bad idea, but only cosmetic really.  They would be better protected, but
eventually they would need replacement and maintenance, and digging them up to
do so would definitely cause and visual impact.

> Electric and pipeline right of ways don't look any better than
> the gashes left on a mountain side for down hill skiiers (I don't have
> anything against skiiers, mind you ... I just wish they'd leave the forests
> alone and go above the tree line for unimpeded down hill experiences.

Even if they were placed underground (and many of the gas pipelines are) the
gashes would have to remain...why?  So the pipelines could be maintained for
one, and two, if they were allowed to reforest, either by neglect or design,
the pipelines and wire conduits would be destroyed by tree roots (which do a
nice job of shattering stone over time.) The cuts would still have to be made
in order for the pipelines and powerlines to be laid underground as well.

As far as skiing is concerned.  Above treeline skiing is by far the more
ecologically damaging mode.  Why. because on non-glaciated slopes, the snow
cover is very thin in the winter, generally just rime ice and compacted drifts
in the pockets. Despite the fact that dozens of feet of snow fall on the summit
of Mt. Washington every year, there is seldom more than a foot of it on the
ground in exposed areas, and generally you are walking on icy rocks. Only in
the lee of the mountain, in the ravines or in the forests does snow really tend
to collect, because it is protected from the wind.

Also, how do you get the skiers to the top of the mountain to use those above
treeline areas?  Ski lifts is how.  Ugly metal towers with cables and
wheelhouses at the top, permanent emplacements that need foundations, power
lines and water lines for snowmaking. All of which demand significant landscape
modification to put in place.  Unless you advocate that the only access to
these areas should be either by foot or by helicopter; both of which are
elitist suggestions, the first being reserved to the elite of the superfit, the
second to the elite of the wealthy.  By mandating that sort of ski area
development you put thousands upon thousands of people out of work...because
the ski and snowboard equipment  manufacturers would go out of business, so
would the ski areas, and all the businesses that depend on the ski areas.
Entire communities would die economically.  As for the environmental benefits
of your proposal...with helicopters you are using fossil fuels to put that
beast up in the air, and with that being the only way to get skiers to the top
of the mountain, short of trudging up themselves, there will be more of them
going and more of them crashing...

> I
> think swimming and surfing must be the most ecologically friendly sports
> around. Hikers, canoeists, and kyakers, even when following LNT ideal,
> damage the forest floor in one way or another.

Yup, there is no way to avoid impacting any system you interact with in any
way.  Even in observing a system you inevitably alter it by your mere
presence.  Why don't we just all commit suicide and put us out of the planet's
misery?  Ridiculous right?  Neither swimming of surfing are environmentally
neutral since swimmers wear sunblock which gets into the water, they also use
beaches which erode and many of which are actually artificial.  In order to
keep a beach in place long Jetties are often built to keep the samd from
migrating too far along the coast with the tides. Surfing requires surfboards,
which are made from fossil fuels and with fossil fuels, they are also laid up
with glues and resins which gas off into the atmosphere.  Surfers also use
neoprene suits, which are synthetic.

I could go on, but I hope you get the picture.


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