Exploited Landscapes

The natural world performs many unacknowledged and undervalued services for humankind. These services, such as water purification and storage, air quality management, food chain management, production of raw materials, both renewable and nonrenewable, along with a host of others, are routinely exploited with little or no consideration for the source. Taking a river canyon’s riparian habitat out of service to use for water storage seems benign until one begins to understand the magnitude of the trade-off involved. Our best hope for the future is to value these services and add that value to the cost of doing business. The real cost of diminishing these resources would give pause to any entity set on exploiting them. Although strangely beautiful in some instances, the form of our plundering stands as some of the most noticeable formal contrasts we inflict on the landscape.

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