THE DREAM AND THE REALITY
compiled by Dee Finney
|10-15-01 - DREAM - I don't know where I was. I was given a tiny gold
When the key was inserted into the gold lock, there was a mechanism around
that lock that opened a larger lock.
I was then observing dark grey cities - like gun-metal grey really ugly
Air Pollution before late Victorian times
Air pollution has been recognised from the earliest of times with odor an issue in the cities of ancient Egypt and smoke of concern to Roman administrators and lawyers. However, this recognition tended to lead to ad hoc responses rather than a strategic and coherent approach to the regulation of early air pollution problems. Indeed, Mieck (1990) has argued that the numerous pollution decrees from the Middle Ages are essentially a response to single sources of what he terms pollution artisanale as distinct from the later and broader pollution industrielle, that characterised an industrialising world.
The need for strategic approaches to urban air pollution grew in late 18 th century Britain..This took place in cities such as Manchester where the steam engine had been adopted with great enthusiasm. The first steam powered cotton mill in Manchester was constructed by Richard Arkwright in 1782 and occupied a building five stories high and two hundred feet long. By 1800 there were many more along with furnaces and refineries which created an air pollution problem which aroused administrative concern (Bowler & Brimblecombe, 2000a). From medieval times smoke and other nuisance offences in English cities were usually addressed through the Court Leet. By the 1790's the Manchester Court Leet ceased to exercise effective controls over the cities growing sanitary problems. Even contemporary writers saw this as an outmoded form of government and it was especially weakened by the growth of industry beyond the jurisdiction of parish boundaries, limited options for enforcement and difficulties over defining what reasonably constituted a nuisance (Redford & Russell, 1939). The problem Mieck's terms as pollution artisanale had been replaced by pollution industrielle
Manchester benefited from an improvement Act of 1792 (32 Geo III) which allowed to city to set up a new body, the Police Commissioners which rapidly gained importance. This body began to respond to urban sanitary issues from late 1799, and rapidly added smoke from steam engines as an issue of concern. Using the powers of the 1792 Act a Nuisance Committee with standardised procedures was addressing the issue of smoky chimneys. Central legislation regarding nuisances from steam engines developed in an Act of 1821 (1+2 Geo IV c.41) which led to the Manchester Police Commission imediately giving notice to all owners of steam engines that they meet the provisions of the new act. Despite their enthusiasm to abate smoke the commission's resolve proved weak (Bowler & Brimblecombe, 2000a).
One important action of the Manchester Police Commission was the development of the office of Inspector of Nuisance. In 1799 the Commission appointed a constable to inspect the streets and report on nuisances and offences contrary to the Act of Parliament. By the 1820's these duties fell to Nuisance Inspectors, who reported to the Nuisance Committee.
This post became increasingly a part of improving the environment of English towns and of the 19 th century Public Health Act 1875. The notion of sanitary reform formed an important element in the changes of civic administration in the 19 th century. This is often seen as deriving from the work of indviduals such as Chadwick, but was felt much more widely than this (e.g. Diederiks & Jeurgens, 1990). Smoke abatement cannot be separated from sanitary reform because so much of the legislation about smoke abatement occurs within sanitary legislation. In Britain, legislation on this matter abounds within Public Health Acts (e.g. 1848, 1875), Sanitary Acts (e.g. 1866) and other Acts such as the Towns Improvements Clauses Act (1847). A further connection between sanitary reform and smoke is seen in the development of nuisance inspectors, who investigated urban smoke among other things.
They were often seen as an aid to the Medical Officer of Health. Early Medical Officers derived from the medical profession, but there was no formal training for Inspector's of Nuisance. However, by 1867 The Sanitary Institute set about certifying inspectors and developing professional competence. Such qualifications were not compulsory, but by the 1880's many urban districts had highly qualified inspectors and it rapidly became a desired quality in applicants for posts.
Despite the activity and agitation over smoke in English cities from the earliest years of the 19 th century, it appears not to have lessened the growing problem of smoke. This is true even of a city such as Manchester, which had tried to reform the way in which it approached this nuisance. There were economic forces that constrained councils to bend to the will of industrialists, but administrative and technical difficulties were also important. It was not until the Public Health Act of 1872/1875 that there was a more uniform approach to the smoke problem throughout England.
Chapter II of the book written by William H. MacLeish, The Day Before America, explores the subsistence of several distinct civilizations in pre-Columbian America, thus making the interesting observation that America was not necessarily a young land at the time of its discovery. The chapter examines the Calusa peoples who fished, gathered, and hunted on the coast of Florida (in the later part of the 15th century), the Chacoan civilization, rooted in the area around the Mississippi floodplain, who experimented with the growing of corn in the fertile river sediments (A.D. 900-1100), the peoples of the Chaco Canyon, who ingeniously adapted to a dry, desert existence in the area of northwestern New Mexico (A.D. 500), the People of the Cape, true mariners and expert woodsmen who eked out their existence on the Pacific coast (late 14009s), the Prairie People who lived in the heartland of America hunted bison extensively and planted crops according to riverine cycles (late in the 15th century), and the Onondaga, People of the Great Hill, who farmed in the fertile valleys of central New York. As they adapted to their natural environments, each of these early cultures was unique in its utilization of the existing terrain and of the readily available natural resources, or lack of them. The Chaco Canyon people for example, devised innovative irrigation systems for capturing the infrequent and precious rainfall.
But these early civilizations did not live on the land without a noticeable impact to the environment. Hunting, fishing, harvesting of the forests, and early agricultural practices, were all responsible for significant and devastating ecological effects. In some cases entire forests were cut and the bark on the larger, less manageable, trees was stripped bare; some animal and marine species were hunted or fished-out, and their dwindling numbers left them weakened and nearly extinct. The Calusa peoples were so fond of shellfish, both in their diet and for the making of tools, that "shell dumps" littered large areas of the landscape. When the natural resources of the area they had settled deteriorated, pre-Columbian societies simply moved into new, unspoiled territory. Abandonment of entire settlements was a way of life. As population density increased, so did disease, hunger, and malnutrition. With increasing populations a need for management was triggered and problems of living in a hierarchical society began to emerge. Shortened growing seasons, dwindling rainfall, failing resources, and cultural pressures, all played a significant role in the abandonment of settled areas.
OREN LYONS, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation, speaking on behalf of the indigenous people of North America, said the current quest for peace of the indigenous people was an attempt to renew the previous way of life of the native people of North America -- the way in which they had lived before the people came from "over the sea". Freedom had been a way of life. Ceremonies had been held to honour the life-giving forces of the world. Generosity and equal sharing, respect, care and love for elders and children had been the basic teachings. They had been taught that there would come a time when the world would be covered with smoke and the water would no longer be clean. The issue of nuclear and toxic waste dumps was a great concern to the people he represented, he said. Over 300 treaties between the indigenous people and the United States and Canada had been violated.
Human rights violations and confiscation of peoples' land had occurred within the violation of treaties. Also religious sites had been violated. Land was and had always been the issue for the indigenous people, he continued. All of the problems had come from across the sea and had worked to crush the nations of the indigenous people. Laws had been created to justify such actions.
He said he stood for the spirit of his people and declared their will to survive. The current generation had the responsibility of choosing a path of regeneration. Common sense, responsibility, brotherhood and peace must guide a way to regeneration.
CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The fact of environmental change has been constant throughout the human occupation of Illinois, but how and why people have changed Illinois has varied with time and with people's expectations of the landscape. Natural Illinois has been perceived variously as wilderness to be quelled, destiny to be fulfilled, and progress to be enjoyed.
Beginning roughly in the early 1800s, Illinois has been swept by waves of environmental change as people of successive eras converted the natural environment to economic goods--and did so not always aware of or concerned with the consequences to ecological systems.
Complex in cause and effect, these waves of change coincided approximately with Illinois' presettlement, agricultural, industrial, and post-industrial eras. Each era had a characteristic system of production (and associated pollution), a characteristic artifact, and a characteristic urban form. The economy of each was powered by a characteristic "general engine" fueled by a characteristic energy source.
For example, in the early 19th century, Illinois' mainly subsistence economy ran on muscle and wood; these provided the energy to scattered farmsteads in a society whose general engine was the human body and whose characteristic "urban" form was the frontier trading post. After 1820 or so, the horse (hitched to plows or wagons) powered a still-dispersed society that had come to consist of developed farms linked economically to rural small towns. After the Civil War, horses fueled by hay and oats were replaced by coal-powered steam engines; the railroad and the factory were the typical artifacts of industrial Illinois, and together they made possible the densely built (and densely polluted) modern city. Since 1920, the "automobile subdivision" has become the typical urban form in a landscape whose characteristic urban artifact is the shopping mall, which functions in a society in which petroleum energy and the internal combustion engine are undoing the urban concentrations of the 19th century.