The Distant Past: A Shroud of Disregard

The Great Wall of China

After reading Lindsay’s “China’s Three Gorges Dam,” I could not refrain myself from writing about one of the most important monuments in China’s history, The Great Wall of China. Because the Great Wall is not nearly as new as the Three Gorges Dam, it poses subtler questions about its effects on nature. It in fact is so old that it seems like a part of nature itself, much like how we consider the Stonehenge to be a part of nature. But in actuality, it is the product of the human hand, literally.

I cannot help to wonder how such a huge structure, over five thousand miles long, would have affected nature and its animals. How many habitats were destroyed with the construction of this unthinkably massive wall? Such questions inundate my mind, for I would never have thought that this revered structure, built to prevent destruction of humanity from war, ironically, could have caused major damage to nature. I am very surprised that I had never thought of this topic before, but then again, the Great Wall successfully shrouded itself with its blanket of grass and trees in order to blend into nature.

I wonder why there is always controversy about recent technological structures that could harm nature such as the Three Gorges Dam but not about things of the past such as the Great Wall. Is destroying nature with human technology a concept strictly limited to the present and the future? Why do we not talk about things of the distant past and their effects? Is it because humans were not harmful before, but are becoming increasingly so as we progress through time? And if this is true, how are we evolving so quickly? What are our outlooks for the future? I don’t know about you, but my mind is sufficiently blown.

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