Thursday, February 02, 2012 and bread...

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
John Muir

When H and I went on a walk this morning, we felt small and vulnerable alongside the speeding traffic. Trucks thundered past, bottles and food wrappers piled up along the hedgerow, H and I buffeted by cold wind and exhaust fumes.
We were eventually going to reach a quiet, wild place in which H could meet his friends and run around, a place inbetween roads, called Calcot. We'd not been there before, but my friend had, and urged us to come along too, despite the traffic. When we got there it was amazing, but why did we have to experience the horrible bit to get there?

The roads around Calcot, to me this morning, were not just physical barriers to the quiet green space, but cultural walls so strong, so fast, so completely sure of their right to be there above anything else, that to cross or challenge them was recklessly stupid.
In order for me to have my nature "fix", I had to cross. (Safely, too, I hasten to add!)

These big old roads get wider and faster, each one with an "over-riding economic benefit" to the wild places they cut through.
I'm sure these roads are all Very Very Important.
As a result though, quiet places like Calcot become forgotten, almost forbidden. The building of a new road, as Important as it is, sends out a signal to society that we don't need local nature anymore, it's a luxurious resource to be disconnected from in favour of economic growth.

I don't know about you,  but I think it's time we reversed this trend and nurtured developers that love local nature and celebrate it in their designs.
Why should we continue to build roads the old way?
Why should any business be rewarded with profit and praise for creating things lined with urine-filled bottles and half eaten burgers?
Come on, where are you, the real transport and industrial innovators?
I dare you to build a road that welcomes families (and wildlife) to cross over and reach climbing trees, woodlands and wild playful places.

1 comment:

  1. So, so true and so beautifully put. As a non-driver I sometimes feel that busy roads provide a very real mental/psychic barrier as well as a physical one. It's so easy to feel trapped in town/on a housing estate because the thought of shepherding little souls alongside thundering traffic is very daunting. To reach any of our favourite wild places there is first an element of danger and unpleasantness. How very sad that it should be so.