Green!  . . . by ALL MEANS 

John Brower

2.

  Scenic Resources for the Future

Only our own self-restraint, in a way, can assure Johnny and his contemporaries more than a world of ersatz scenery. A Reuters dispatch of last May suggests how close the world is. The dispatch tells us that a Paris clinic has found a synthetic equivalent for a month's rest in the mountains.

"Ten short visits to a clinic here will give tired Parisians treatment by Oxygen equivalent to a month's rest in the mountains, the newly open Oxygen clinic claims.

"The treatment in rooms decorated with colors to 'suit the condition of the patient' costs 15.000 francs ($37) and lasts 25 minutes for each of the ten visits.

"The center has red rooms reserved for patients who seek the tonic of mountain treatments. Green rooms, said a certified official, suggest the quiet of a rest in the country. And blue rooms provide the right atmosphere for the highly strung who would like to take it easy at the beach.

"Each room has artificial windows looking onto giant photographs of soothing land and seascapes and the temperature is regulated with the Oxygen to give an impression ranging from balmy days in sunny meadows to invigorating mountain climes. Patients take the Oxygen in transparent nylon tents."

I know of no one who is willing too exchange wildness for a synthetic. or who would consciously make decisions today that would leave his children only a scenic nylon tent in a Paris clinic, or the two-toned, streamlined equivalent we could expect in the domestic market places. Yet it takes no more than two to three moments of quiet contemplation to demonstrate how fast we are moving in this direction.

While I write, at an elevation of 1,000 feet in the Berkeley Hills, my eyes are smarting. We built here for the view of San Francisco Bay and its amazing setting. But today there is no beautiful view; there is hideous smog, a sea of it around us. "It can't happen here," we were saying just three years ago. Well here it is. And on the land around us, where just two generations ago a man could be "born on a farm in the North Berkeley Hills," there isn't room to plant another iris corm when I separate those that are now stifled by crowding. For all this our planners talk breezily, even happily, of an ultimate population of seventeen million people around the bay. To enjoy the view? To breathe the clean sea air? To stroll in the park on an Autumn afternoon? What park? . . .

 

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THE WILDNESS WITHIN US