Get Off My Lawn, And My Beach, And My City, And My Country, And My Planet
June 5, 2017
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Over the weekend, I got to spend some time at the beach and it was pleasant. The key to that pleasantry was going early in the morning, before the large families arrived. As I was basking in the silence, actually able to hear the waves, I thought about how nice it was right then and how it wouldn’t be so nice in a few hours.
I thought about these groups of people with screaming children and boom boxes and thought it would be really nice to not have to be around them. But obviously, they have just as much right to any public space as I do. It’s just that my quiet presence wouldn’t intrude on them, but their boisterous presence would intrude on mine. Somehow, that doesn’t seem fair.
I thought up a label for these people. They are “environment modifiers.” Wherever they go, they modify their environment to suit themselves. Natural beauty? The sound of nature? Unnecessary. We have children and portable stereos. It’s just like being in our house or our back yard, only the visuals are different.
I mulled over different ways to handle this. One idea was segmenting the beach into noisy and quiet zones. Of course you don’t say it like that. The beach is divided into “those who love the sound of children playing” and “those who love the sound of the sea”. And those are truly mutually exclusive.
And sadly, this little microcosm is applicable to our society as a whole, when the loud and obnoxious drive out the polite and quiet. When decisions are made based not on merit, but on amplitude. Where resources are acquired sorely through aggression. When acquired resources are resold to others at a profit, when the justification of that profit is solely getting there first.
“And the meek shall inherit the earth.” What a wonderful, ruinous place it will be to inherit.