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Saturday, August 25, 2001

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I went to a meeting of the Tucson Area Bus Riders Union this morning. It was very interesting and very nice to be around people who care about transit. It's a fairly new group. I understand they started about the fall of 2000 when one guy got a grant to do some activist work. It sounds like we will work to get more regional transit and give input to the city/county on what the riders would like and what we feel would increase riders. This could be interesting.

I also found out that the drivers could be going on strike the end of August if they don't approve what they've been offered. This really sucks since the students, both college and high school depend heavily on Suntrans and the new rerouting of all the routes started a couple weeks ago and people are still getting used to the new times and new bus stops.

Someone mentioned in the meeting that this is an infrastructure question, which I had never thought about. I realized that I love infrastructure. That's why I love roads, washes, dams, buses, skyscrapers and oil rigs. I think that what people have managed to do is magnificent from the pyramids of Egypt and the the cliff dwellings in many places to the space station. Granted, many of these were not well thought out, most were right for their time.

I'm watching the building of a oil rig in Norway and watching them move this enormous structure out to where it will be in the North Sea. It's amazing and I even had a lump in my throat a couple times. You can see the little stone houses against the green hills as this structure, towering even over many of the hills, is towed through the fjords and out to sea. It must have been an awesome sight from the shore.

I don't like it when people say we should stop building magnificent structures. We have the ability to do more damage, due to technological advances, but also have the ability to minimize damage. If we were to quit advancing, then we would die. We need to be careful about ecological problems and we need to have a valid reason to do projects, both small and large, but sometimes a valid reason to do something is just to see if it can be done. This is why people climb mountains, jump out of airplanes and race cars (none of which I plan to ever do), and why other people fight for justice and freedom and liberty, because I don't think we would survive as a species if we didn't challenge ourselves.

At the same time protecting wilderness areas and endangered species is also a challenge we need to take up so there is a balance that is needed and it is this balance that all the fighting is about. I don't see all the environmentalists giving up their cars and computers nor do I see the infrastructure builders giving up their hikes and fishing. We have to realize that we can't have it all and we need to accept that there will be tradeoffs. Since I'm on both sides I get a bit schizophrenic at times.

As the show on the oil rig ends it mentions that this was the last of the concrete oil rigs as they are already developing floating oil rigs that are easier to build, cheaper to build and safer. That's what technology is about.

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Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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