Aug 09 2016
Speaking from personal experience, I can readily affirm that being half‑blind has its advantages. For one thing, I can no longer see much of the plastic trash that litters local trails and waters. And that’s not the only upside. The Turneresque fog through which I now view the world also obscures the recent clearcuts scarring many Adirondack forests. These clearcuts aren’t limited to privately owned and managed timberlands, either. In recent years, New York has itself chosen to turn a half‑blind eye to the “forever wild” clause in the state constitution, the better to construct a network of snowmobile superhighways (aka Class II Community Connector Trails) through the heart of the Adirondack Park. The local Chambers of Commerce hope that the resulting swarms of lead‑footed “sledders” will leave drifts of dollars in their wake, drifts deep enough to gladden the heart of every convenience store operator and tavern owner in the mountains. But are these bullish expectations likely to be realized? There’s good reason to be skeptical. At a time when snowless winters bid fair to become the Adirondack norm, the state’s decision to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to build raceways for snow machines seems little better than a reckless gamble.
In any case, this latest orgy of state‑sponsored tree‑felling and road‑building in notionally “protected” forests is just one small manifestation of a much larger and more pervasive phenomenon: the unchallenged dominance of mass consumerism in the economies of the developed world. And nothing better exemplifies our enslavement to the ethos of perpetual consumption than the Pokémon GO craze. Who would have thought that sane adults would devote their free time to the pursuit of imaginary — but reassuringly cuddly — monsters, creatures conjured up out of nothing and then plopped down among the suburbs, strip malls, and office towers that characterize the 21st century’s built environment? Not I.
Still, my failure to anticipate the newest new big thing is easily explained… Read more…
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