chapter  3
22 Pages

The great divorce of culture and nature

Cities are not separate from the natural world on which they depend. In a north Indian city, men and women build a new apartment structure largely by hand. They carry tiles in wooden hods on their heads, tiles formed of earthen clay that have been baked by burning wood and charcoal, which is partially oxidized wood, from the shrinking forests on hillsides far to the north. The scaffolding is of bamboo that grew in the same forests, tied with ropes of hemp from fi elds that can be seen in the hazy distance from the top of the building. Like all cities, this one uses resources transported from the land near at hand or far away.