Time and a World of Change ~ Part V

Rainforest to hamburgers: the cost of cheap quick US food

This is part 5 of excerpts from a piece that may someday (or may not) be a chapter in a book, given adequate keystrokes in these out-of-warranty joints; enough minutes of absolute time but especially minutes with adequate clarity and passion, wisdom and focus; and a remaining pool of neurons who get along well enough with each other to produce actual words.

From the end of Part IV I have jumped to the end of the draft for this final installment, taking pity on any who might feel compelled to actually read the intervening thousand words. You’re welcome.

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

We stagger from now to now and forget how we have come here. We live in each present moment, marching in place, mindless of the path behind us and ahead. Myopia of yesterday and tomorrow makes the Big Story invisible to us. We cannot know the wisdom of the book if we forget each sentence as we read it and move on, unchanged.

Cameras from space now do what Disney did for us in early timelapse, showing us decades of change to glaciers, deserts, the night-blinding glare of cities into space, and the bleaching of the last coral reefs. We can no longer say our eyes were not equipped to see our impact over time.

We nurture a personal ecology of connectedness to place, and from that place to all places by coming to see ourselves and everything within our viewfinder held together and enmeshed in a common matrix of time.

We walk only in the present and this is our mortal predicament and impediment, while the consequences of today’s choices stretch out over the lifetimes of forests and rivers and of mountains where our distant children will make their lives.

We urgently need to train our eyes for the vision to see ahead even as we look back to see our ancestors looking forward with this hope for us in their own times past.

Google Earth Timelapse update shows Earth from 1984-2016

Timelapse – Google Earth Engine   

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fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

One thought on “Time and a World of Change ~ Part V”

  1. Your first paragraph is absolutely true and mightily well said.
    The Google timelapse is amazing.
    These new ways of seeing, comined with good ole photography, has and will have an impact on people’s awareness and concerns.

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