As the world shirnks, where do I stand

Old Jan 1st, 2000, 01:36 PM
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As the world shirnks, where do I stand

As we move into the next millinum, and the world gets more crowded, Americans will have to learn to exist in less space, something the Chinese and Indian folks have reconciled with ages ago, since their world has always been overpopulated. It will affect travel, convenience and comfort, most assuredly. I have been thinking that we should take a few lessons from Asia, and take pleasure in smaller things, sunsets, flower arrangements, trips around home, etc. We have been extensive world travellers, but feel now that maybe we are missing much around home, and will travel within the US more in future. Comments, anyone?
Old Jan 1st, 2000, 10:03 PM
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Hi! Hope your New Year has been good so far. Hate to disagree with you about staying home but as the millenium has come and another birthday shortly I also believe that I have too many places to visit in too short a time. I am in mid 50's and there is much to do in places I've wanted to see. There are too many countries I haven't seen yet. I also have traveled in the US and there are places here too.
Old Jan 2nd, 2000, 12:00 AM
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Americans have been learning to exist in less space since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock (even before, if you consider Native American migrations). And we've been without a "frontier" for about a century now, so our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents all had to learn to live in a fixed amount of territory.

I guess my point is that this doesn't seem to be anything new. Sure, there are more people in the world now than there were two hundred years ago, but my perception of crowding is different (Daniel Boone would reputedly move when he could see his neighbor's chimney smoke!).

There are still lots of places in the US (and even Europe) that seem pretty spacious to me (Wyoming and Scotland, for example). There are also places in the world that seem terribly crowded(Venice, Atlanta), but these are local problems that have occurred in various places throughout history.

Having said that, I wish more people would take your approach and learn to live in less space. I personally am very grateful to all those people who love to be crammed together in Manhattan, since that leaves more room for me
Old Jan 2nd, 2000, 06:59 AM
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We are extensive European travelers from the US and frequently meet other US travelers who know nothing about their home country. Riding on a train through mountains, I may remark that it looks similar to the Rockies and the people answer that they have never seen them. Travel along the coast of Italy and notice some similarities to the California coast and the people I am with mention that they've never done that, but they've been all over Europe. It seems sad to me how much people are missing back home.
Old Jan 2nd, 2000, 09:04 AM
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Back when driving was fun, there used to be a slogan: See America First. And it's still a good idea. There are beauty spots in America within short distances from some of our most-crowded urban areas. Upstate New York, desert parks near Los Angeles, the mountain wilds outside Atlanta, Lincoln country south of Chicago, and on and on. Europe, during the "off" season, is an entirely different place. The crowds are gone, the Americans with kids have mostly departed, and things are much less hectic...and often cost less. And Europe -- as well as Asia -- offer vast areas of unpopulated solitude. Norway, central and Pyrenees France, northern Spain, Italy south of Naples, Sicily, central Turkey, the list could go on and on. Southern New Zealand, western China, Mongolia, western Australia, etc.
Old Jan 2nd, 2000, 10:12 AM
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Americans have much to learn about living in their own space, because they have the luxurious illusion that the environment is infinite.

Perhaps the greatest split in the US is the metropolitan/rural split -- such that those in the cities think that rural areas are their reserve playground and those in the rural areas don't believe they should have to fund an infrastructure for denser populations. Thus one sees mass transit repeatedly voted down or underfunded, while land use is often decided in terms of tourism rather than preservation of the ecosystem OR keeping agriculture a viable lifestyle.

I daresay most Americans on this forum come from the urbs and suburbs and, yes, they should see their own country -- all aspects of it, not just "purple mountains' majesty."

When they visit Europe, they should understand what they're seeing: the problems of much denser population and development, some of which have been solved well and some very poorly.

The truth is, dealing with denser population requires giving up some individual autonomy (e.g., the car), and Americans will fight that all the way.

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