There are places in and around our great cities, where the natural world has all but disappeared. You can make out streets and sidewalks, autos, parking garages, advertising billboards, monuments of glass and steel. But not a tree, or a blade of grass or any animal, besides of course, the Humans. There are lot’s of Humans. Only when you look up straight up through the skyscraper canyons, can you make out a star or a patch of blue. Reminders of what was there long before humans came to be. It’s not hard going to work every day in such a place to be impressed with ourselves. How we’ve transformed the earth for our benefit and convenience. But a few hundred miles up or down, there are no humans, our impact on the universe is nil. In the last 10,000 years, an instant in our long history, we’ve abandoned the nomadic life. We’ve domesticated the plants and animals. Why chase the food, when you can make it come to you? For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. There are now people on every continent and the remotest islands. From pole to pole. From Mount Everest to the Dead Sea. On the ocean bottoms, and even, occasionally in residence two miles up. Humans, like the Gods of old, living in the sky. These days there seems no where left to explore. Victims of their very success, the explorers now, pretty much, stay home.
“…New research this month finds that the more time someone spends sitting, the shorter and less robust his or her life may be. The findings were sobering: Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes. Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV. Those results hold true even for people who exercise regularly. It appears a person who does a lot of exercise but watches six hours of TV every night might have a similar mortality risk as someone who does not exercise and watches no TV…” [Read more...]