We're driving I-5 from LA back home in Oregon. As we descend the "grapevine" into the central California valley, it's dusk, and we can see a string cars on two highways as far as the eye can see, off to the horizon as flat as the ocean. I had to ask, "Where are all these vehicles going?'
Compressing time in this writing, the next day I ask a similar question. This time the question is inspired by the constant stream of trucks. What are the hauling? Why? In this valley one may think about food, produce from from surrounding farms. Miles and miles of orchards and at least once a mile or so long feedlot filled with thousands of cattle helps one realize how much food is produced in this valley. The continuous line of cars and trucks traveling more than a mile a minute reminds one of the thousands, actually millions of persons who need to be fed every day. Food, a driving force behind all this driving.
Is that it? Occasionally one recognizes a load of steel, or pallets, or machinery. That's not food, but often it's related to the food industry, the harvesting, the processing, the transporting of food. Food continues to motivate the travel. And people, workers going to and from the field and the processing plants.
Now there's a truck loaded with lumber and another with logs. It's a stretch to say that related to food. Those products are more likely to be connected to building something and that suggests homes, as well as many other things. Shelter, safety, comfort from cold and heat, better health, clothing are all rather basic to the human life, right up there in importance with food: shelter, clothing and health care.
Could that be it, that all transportation is related to those basic needs? Yet, we're on the road, like thousands of others who are not transporting food other than what we might eat as we drive. Why are we driving 900 miles from Oregon to southern California? In our case it was to attend a family member's college graduation and to visit with relatives. Human relations causes us to travel; family, friendships. Churches and religions are also based on relationship and sharing a common belief.
Of course, some are driving for business purposes, but what is the business? Is it related to food or the care of our physical bodies? Often, but not always. Some are visiting Disneyland. While these individuals will eat, wear clothing, stay in shelters and maybe be with their family or friends, they traveled for leisure. They had extra time and money so they traveled to do something fun.
Overly simplistic and weakly developed we are all about food, physical care, relationships and extra resources. We'll have to revisit those categories again another time. But for now I need to dress for the day, eat some breakfast, email some friends and work in the wood shop and yard.
Finally, to keep this link indefinitely I will add it here. It's a story about Roger Robinson and his work to keep Denali clean. http://sustainablesummits.org/roger-robinson-the-denali-story-the-clean-climb-program/