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Part 7: overpopulation in 21st century America--quality of life in an overcrowded world

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Part 7: Quality of life, big cities, crowding, gridlock, human spirit

My friend John Muir, the first environmentalist, said many years ago, "Tell me what you will of the benefactions of city civilization, of the sweet security of streets---all as part of the natural up-growth of man towards the high destiny we hear so much of. I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found. If the death exhalations that brood the broad towns in which we so fondly compact ourselves were made visible, we should flee as from a plague. All are more or less sick; there is not a perfectly sane man in all of San Francisco."

Nor, for that matter, in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Denver as well as most other overcrowded, gridlocked, and congested cities, swarming with too many people. How can anyone love breathing toxic air, drive a car in bumper-to-bumper traffic, deal with road rage in others and themselves, and stack themselves up in tiny cubicle apartment buildings? They call it living? I pitch other words into the circle: loss of spirit, loss of community, loss of grass, loss of connection with nature!


The bigger the city, the more crazy and unbalanced people multiply in it. Muir wasn't far off in his exclamation that not a single sane man lived in "City by the Bay" that Tony Bennett sang about with his mesmerizing love song, "I left my heart in"."

In big cities, you hear fire engines screaming, ambulances flashing in the night, police sirens at all hours, honking horns, gridlocked traffic, train whistles blowing. You see so many citizens flipping the bird at one another, beggars on every corner, and a loss of connection as everyone sees everyone else as a threat. No one looks anyone in the eyes while walking down the street for fear of"name the phobia." For visuals, graffiti adorns millions of city buildings.

At one time, Detroit, Michigan, at its zenith, became known as the "Murder Capital of the World." I worked there for 15 years to witness it. I mean, those boys shot up the joint. Over one million people fled the city in the last 30 years leaving it a wasteland. They fled car-jackings at stop lights. Drugs flowed everywhere, and desperate people overwhelmed homeless shelters.

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Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
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