Leave No Trace

 
 
I am not certain how many people in this country heard of the Principles of Leave No Trace, such as the conventional ones being explained here, or the updated ones discussed here. Heavy development, as people jump onto the train of "prosperity and wealth" rush, has put a giant footprint on our daily living environment. I have no idea how long this is going to last before the nature acts back on us. In fact, this is already happenning and it’s taking tolls in a massive scale (see here and here for comprehensive accounts).
 
Humans love to creat legacies and leave marks, unfortunately often with no sensible rationals and in harmful ways to mother nature, and it backfires.
 
We used to be only capable of doing such damages with largely limited and local impacts. Now we are reaching out and engaging a globalized endeavor in a collaborative fashion. I have this IPod nano originally designed in California, with electronic components patented by Japan and Korea and made in Taiwan, assembled in China by a young lady (of course), distributed by a Hongkong dealer, retailed back into the USA for profitable end users, and technically-serviced by people in India. Call it a smaller planet, however, more vulnerable to hostile activities and easier to destroy. In particular for the part that is at the bottom of this hierarchical globalization order, such as this country.
 
But…, there always will be an end for every party. Within an evolutionary time scale of the Universe, human civilization is nothing but a snapshot. Like other things, without exception, it came into existence and will eventually phase out. Along the course of species evolution on earth, we individuals are merely a blink of eyes. We will be all dead in several decades if not sooner by this Shanghai air, water, food quality, and mannerless drivers. What will we be able to hand over to our children? A huge mess that we recklessly left behind. Some imaginary and predictive studies have tried to look deeper into the impact of human activities on the ecosystem of our planet (see here and here for earth without humans). I think this clearly indicates a lack of vision and courage to look beyond the horizon, beyond personal goodness and beyond immediate comforts, and repeated failures to address emerging issues with effective public policy makings. What can be a better testimony to this failure than living in a material-chasing and deeply-polluted city?
 
Why can’t we just clean the street here in Shanghai for all people using it (never mind the air, that is too much to ask)? A simple question but went unanswered, particularly given the fact that we can all clean our own rooms for ourselves.
 
Ok, go hike the mountains, but please, leave no trace.

Yueyang Road’s Abbey Road

Ok, It has been three months now, for me, in this strange city. It is busy, loud, remote and faceless. Walking down the street in the heart of Shanghai, I start missing that quiet little town nowhere in the snowy Rocky Mountains.
 
I sit right on the street in my office every day and night, witnessing all the impatient traffics passing through honking and polluting. I still feel myself a visitor who can not manage to fit in. My friend called it "A Sin City". Well, he never jumped into a subway cart, he never left this corner of the town, how could he know better anyway? He is just another scientist with critical opinions. It’s nothing but a first-place rejection. I know the Sin City that is right in the middle of Nevada desert, cash-driven and soulless. In spite of all its charms, it is fake. It’s not a city you call home, people are not real people, money is played in unrealistic games. With all its fantasies, it is heartless. You are a tourist, a gambler, a retiree, a college kid, a lover, a loser, …, you are rushing in and out of the Sin City. Maybe my friend has his point. It does resemble that Sin City of Nevada here in Shanghai. Neon lights can only shine in darkness. That goes the speechless skyline, a dandy tower standing by another, and so on. People call it trendy, futuristic, conceptual, cutting-edge, anti-past-postmodern, whatever.
 
Today we’ve watched in our neighborhood a bogus band playing Beatles in a restaurant named "Abbey Road", on Yueyang Road.