November 24, 2010

Odious comparisons XII - The minority of well-being

One day I noted a fact that caused me some irritation, namely, that if only the very wealthy continue to enjoy the natural scenery and outdoor sports, there would not be problems of sustainability in natural areas, nor resource predation, nor wear, contamination or uncontrolled erosion.

This statement is somewhat disturbing and undemocratic, I know, but I am sorry to admit that it is true. Let me explain: Originally, there were few true mountaineers, hikers, climbers, skiers, very few. Most people had very little available leisure time and fewer resources for which, at the time, were real adventures. Only a small group of vocational and nature lovers made the effort to enjoy grateful natural resorts. Then there were the minority of well-being. Those had more leisure time, and amenities and were the first to practice leisure tourism and discover that the beaches were good for something more than fishing, and the skis could be used not only to get from one town to another on the mountain.

Fortunately, years of progress have facilitated the emergence of a middle class with more money and some free time. Thus the leisure industry in the landscape emerged and everything else, including the environmental impact. The apartments populated coast lines, the mountains were invaded, mussels disappeared from beaches and trash piled in the roadsides. So regulations became necessary, the laws of coastline, preserves and closures (until public-spiritedness once finally comes out). All this was not necessary when a few privileged enjoyed it. It's the democratization that brings progress, luckily for all.

It is not a question of classes; it is a matter of numbers.

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