Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Message from High

Please understand that this shot is a picture of Bogota facing West. Imagining panning the camera to the left for another 30 degrees and seeing just as many buildings!
Since we could not leave yesterday, as described in my previous post, and since the showery weather had cleared, I was able to take the aerial tram up to Montserrat, a historic church built on a ledge above the city.

I looked down feeling amazement and sadness. There just seemed that this high plain had too many people. My mind wandered to places I had been which gave massive views of cities such as the Sears Tower in Cicago, the Empire State Building in New York, The Space Needle in Seattle,the Eifel Tower, and the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Damn, I thought. There are sure a lot of people. Even more, these below represented only a tiny fraction of the millions I had seen in villages and towns along the roads throughout my adventure. I looked over at the historic chapel and listened to mass broadcast through loadspeakers which blared a message of hope and faith. Trivial guitar music and the drone of the priest's voice mingled with leftover electric Christmas ornaments which littered this height.

I stood there in the cool mountain breeze and forced away my urge to explain what I saw or to come up with ideas to problems which were, in themselves, too great to tackle. So often I have said on this trip to my naturalist guide whose life is dedicated to preserve natural resources from unbridled consumption, that there are simply too many people.

I turned away from the view and began taking numerous pictures of flowers and plants in the lovely garden. I wanted to see the small more than the large. It felt safer that way.


  1. Beautiful outlook with those clouds a wide vista, and I agree - we could solve a lot of problems with fewer people. I've had that notion since I was about 6.

  2. Definitely too many people -- everywhere these days. Glad you found more beautiful things to see. It is a terrific capture though. Stay safe!


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  4. The temptation to respond to this post with a soapbox rant on the subject of overpopulation is so overwhelming I don't dare use my own words, which are habitually intemperate on all political subjects. So I'll use Al Gore's words instead.

    An Inconvenient Truth, his book on global climate change, is very graphics-heavy. The many photographs and charts drive his point home and add to the force of his words. Right now I have the book open to an aerial view of Tokyo taken in 1996, as impressive and terrifying as your photograph of Bogota.

    On the page before that there is a graph showing the increase in human population from the first emergence of modern humans (about 160,000 BCE) to the present. The abrupt upward swing at the modern end of that graph is likewise impressive and terrifying, and so is the caption:

    "It took more than 10,000 generations for the human population to reach 2 billion. Then it began to rocket upward from 2 billion to 9 billion in the course of a single lifetime: ours. We have a moral obligation to take into account this dramatic change in terms of the relationship between our species and our planet."

  5. Raksha, that is graphic! I knew we had exploded, I didn't realize how much in our lifetime! Scary.

  6. It's pretty scary, all right. I have the book open to the same graph I looked at earlier. To clarify, the global population is not presently 9.1 billion. In 1945 it was 2.3 billion and in 2006 it was 6.5 billion. That means the global population almost tripled in our lifetime, which is plenty scary enough! If it continues at the present rate of increase, it is projected to reach 9.1 billion by 2050.