01 January 2008

We're all Aztecs now

Cars have done much to destroy life, not only directly but also indirectly by taking over our cities, poisoning our air, destroying communities... and the list goes on. Here's yet another angle, from the New York Times via Grist:
Motorized outdoor enthusiasts are converging in increasing numbers on Western public lands [in the United States] - not only in areas marked for such outdoor enthusiasm, but in wilderness areas where rules against off-roading are nearly impossible to enforce. Registration of all-terrain vehicles and motorbikes in four Western [US] states tripled from 1998 to 2006. The surge is traceable to the booming outdoor-recreation industry, as well as the culture of sprawl: In some places, houses have been pushed out so far that federally owned land is just a big backyard - albeit a public backyard where no individual has to take the specific blame for vehicle-aggravated erosion and water pollution. Off-roaders deny criticism that they're out to defile untouched nature, arguing that public land is there for public use. "[Groups lobbying for wilderness designations] think it has to be kept in this pristine state," says one motorcycle-shop owner. "These people don't even use it." Which is, of course, the point.
Regarding the header of this post:
Michael Harner, in his 1997 article The Enigma of Aztec Sacrifice, estimates the number of persons sacrificed in central Mexico in the 15th century as high as 250,000 per year. Source
That's towards the higher end of the range of estimates. Worldwide, about 1.2 million are killed on the roads annually.

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