A Trail Parable

The Hummer and the Hybrid: A Trail Parable

Our old car worked fine on our favorite ride - the narrow dirt road in the beautiful stream valley.  Nothing wrong at all, but we knew there were some newer amenities that were missing, which might make it easier for grandmother to ride in it.

Our parents contacted our rich uncle - Uncle Sam. He said no problem - we were worth it - he would help us.  Funds were getting tight but for the right project they could still be found.  But Uncle Sam always had his conditions.  He would buy us a new car...but it had to be a Hummer.

 "But...Uncle Sam, we want to help preserve the environment,  we want a Hybrid."

 "Hybrids aren't for everyone, children.  And they aren't safe.  I know some claim they are…but not like the protection you’ll get with a Hummer.   Besides, a Hybrid can’t fit two bicycles side by side, inside it."

 "But Uncle Sam, Hybrids ARE for everyone, they ARE safe.  And we can put one bicycle on the roof rack, the other inside"..

 "No no - it's a Hummer or nothing. I have my guidelines - they must be followed."

 "Mom, dad, please talk to Uncle Sam.  We will help you make our case.  We have learned a lot about Hybrids, and we can give you lots of reasons to show Uncle Sam that getting a Hybrid is good for the environment.  It’s good for all of us.  The future too.  Didn't we say our family was going green?"

 "Children, your Uncle Sam has spoken.  Who are we to try to change his mind? We know what’s best.  The Hummer's not hurting the environment.  If you don't accept the Hummer, we might end up with nothing but the car we have."

A Helpful Town: A True Story

Some geologists found a site that had some unusual tiny fossils (graptolites, for those of you who are curious). The fossils could be found among the stones at the end of a road near a small town on Britain's coast.  This attracted geology enthusiasts every weekend to hunt for the fossils.  

The town officials learned that there were now many cars parking at the end of the road.   It was just a rough, stony place, so the officials decided to put in a parking area for the visitors. Unfortunately they forgot to ask the visitors why they were coming to this particular place. The town paved over the entire stony area containing the fossils.  The officials were surprised when no one came anymore, and the new parking area was empty. 

What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet;

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

from "Inversnaid"

Gerard Manley Hopkins


"If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it." - Lyndon B. Johnson

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." - Ansel Adams

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”   - Henry David Thoreau 

"Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it."  Theodore Roosevelt

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit."  - Edward Abbey 

"Awareness inevitably leads to concern."  - Roger Tory Peterson

"It is difficult  get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair