I watched a TED talk about the coming transition away from a fossil fuel based economy the morning of my trip to Six Flags. My timing could have been better. I drove an hour to see the great attraction, where I kept thinking, look at all this excess! Look at the fields of cars that burned gas all the way here to come to these lots so huge and so far from the attraction that there are trams ferrying people as far as half a mile. Look at the rides, big, metal monstrosities designed to entertain, with powerful and inefficient motors that use fuel all day long to satisfy the teeming masses, willing to wait for hours for a minute’s worth of yippee. Look at the shops with wide open doors, blasting air conditioning to form an artificial barrier from the outside. Look at the hordes of people carrying plastic bottles filled with sugar water, carelessly scarfing down plates of fried food, throwing away more than enough to feed a starving adult. The heat, the noise, the self-centered streak that runs through every person is maddening. You see a real ugly side of humans when you give them overdose – inducing levels of stimuli coupled with the illusion of scarcity.
This can’t be the best way for us to use the resources that we know to be finite. But what is one to do? Is it right to stand on my principles and deny my family (and myself) a good time, knowing that if I don’t go, thousands of people will in my place? Or, should I just say that amusement parks and the like are a product of the time we live in and I might as well enjoy them in moderation while I am here, trusting that future people will figure it out?
Had a good time though.