On this journey to the greenbelt I was taking notice of the human impact on the area. I walked along the trail to the spot where I always sit thinking about how people have interacted with this landscape for thousands of years. The path is along the dry river bed that led the Native Americans from the Colorado River to the Pedernales and the Texas hill country. Across from my perch I see houses on hilltops, but in between them and me is a long stretch of greenbelt that looks like it could go on for miles. Long ago humans were part of the landscape behaving as wild animals, today we build houses on top of the hill creating a symbolic hierarchy puts humans above the rest of creation. I believe that humans are the most precious things on this planet, but I do not think that people realize the hierarchy that currently exists actually puts people below nature.
As I look down over the dry riverbed I notice that life is still springing up around me, the trees were lush and green where they had not been last time I was here. Flowers appear and I see many spiders spinning their evening webs right before the sun begins its decent. Today, I looked down into the river bed and found two beautiful snail fossils and an oyster fossil. Life has been around for a long time and amazingly has persisted.
People shouldn’t build their homes out on hillside if they believe they’re important, as a matter of logic. Sustainability is all about putting logic into practical use, that’s how the Native American civilizations lived on this continent for so long. Now a nation that is only two hundred years old has led the way to it’s potential demise, because it focused on what it wanted instead of taking only what it needed. Aldo Leopold said it well in the forward to A Sand County Almanac:
“The whole conflict thus boils down to a question of degree. We of the minority see a law of diminishing returns in progress; our opponents do not.”