“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
― Lao Tzu
One of the reasons I moved to Albuquerque was to work on urban sustainability. The majority of the world lives in cities. Cities are important places! On a trip to Taos I had a chance to decompress beneath the extraordinary sky and consider urban life from a rural perspective.
I see our cities as an integral part of nature, and don’t think they need to be places where we want to escape from. We can do better making them living and breathing landscapes. The soundscapes, the night skies, the ecosystem functions of our cities can all be restored to produce high quality habitat that nurtures human life. We don’t have to leave the city to learn about nature. We are part of it. Activities such as walking, cycling and growing food help us learn. Cycling teaches me conservation and efficiency for example, since my energy is so precious and limited, and it reminds me to carry only what I need, to travel light.
Cycling helps me tune in to places. There are no walls around me when I ride. I feel like I belong. But when I visited the mountains above Taos, it was much quieter and I felt at ease and could pay attention to the subtle things a little more. At our campsite I realized the automatic beeping from our car key fob was a significant disturbance to the soundscape, so I started locking the car with the key only, in simple mechanical fashion. That way the car doesn’t beep. Much better! Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by the magnitude of problems in the world we sabotage our journey towards solutions before we even start. But big successes are made up of small victories. Taking the opportunities presented, however tiny, add up, and carry us a long way. Especially when we collaborate, embrace our cities and each do our part.
Here are some tips on making a difference from our National Parks. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/sound/difference.htm