Saturday, March 9, 2013

looking ahead - looking behind - climate change and an abandoned piano

Some ideas for how to deal with the problems of our time seem as naive as pioneer dreams in the westward expansion in the 19th century.

Ideas like --
--hydroponics after the planet gets too hot for plants.
--living in a biodome
--adding sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere constantly
All of these are energy and mineral resource intensive.

These notions remind me of a photo. It was a black and white photo of a rutted trail across the plains. Even though decades had passed after the last pioneer's covered wagon rumbled by, the ruts were a persistent scar on the land.

An upright piano stood at the side of the trail. Superficially, it looked like one could walk over and strike a few keys. Its owners abandoned the piano at a point in the trail where one could see that there were many long miles ahead before a place to water the animals.

I have not been able to find that picture again. If anyone knows it and can tell me I'd appreciate it.

The abandoned piano is an icon for me of a frequent mistake in foreseeing the risks. Too many of us assume that we can take the familiar with us into the unfamiliar, without understanding the fundamentals of logistics. 


  1. Well, those pioneers looked ahead and decided to abandon the familiar, and push out into the frontier... lots of people decide that it's safer and easier just not to go any farther.

    1. At least I don't remember any graves near the piano.