Noise pollution reflects poorly on Portales
I have lived in Portales for four months, and it is the loudest town I have ever heard.
I thought this small town on the Plains would have one benefit: It would be quiet. I haven’t been that wrong since I asked for parachute pants for Christmas in ’84.
Portales is not a quiet town. It’s a car-stereo-technology-trade show that only looks like a small town. Apparently there’s a contest for the loudest low-frequency burst of horribly bad hip-hop and all the judges live on my street.
I can recall a host of stupid status symbols in the last 20 years, from a Mötley Crüe patch on a jean jacket to the second generation Hummer. But none have been as intrusive as the redundant 90-decibel booming that permeates this town.
What happened to the time when the car was the focus of the effort and the loud stereo was just a way to make people turn their heads and look? Why would you make people turn their heads with your $2,000 stereo so they can laugh at your $200 lemon?
Kids may be getting smarter these days, but their real skill is not in being technologically savvy and knowing which speakers to buy. It’s in their mastery of denial. Believe me, those smiles you get when you drive by pedestrians with your stereo booming are not signs of respect. They are the barely restrained indicators of mockery.
I write this hoping that the boomer-car kids will read it. If I tried to tell them my opinion they certainly wouldn’t hear me. If they could hear me I would say turn it down, we’ve heard enough.
Be thankful for people like Maathai
Volunteers around the world are rejoicing because Wangari Maathai has received the Nobel Peace Prize. This Kenyan woman was recognized because she organized African women into a Green Belt Movement to plant trees. This group of volunteers has planted about 30 million trees around Africa to slow deforestation and erosion.
In accepting the prize, Maathai said this “acknowledges the work of countless individuals and groups across the globe. They work quietly and often without recognition to protect the environment, promote democracy, defend human rights and ensure equality between women and me. By so doing, they plant seeds of peace.”
She called on volunteers everywhere “to intensify our commitment to our people, to reduce conflicts and poverty and thereby improve their quality of life. Let us embrace democratic governance, protect human rights and protect our environment.”
She thanked the Norwegian Nobel Committee for placing “the critical issue of environment and its linkage to democracy and peace before the world.”
She also pointed out that women are the primary caretakers, holding significant responsibility for tilling the land and feeding their families and that the 30 million trees will provide fuel, food, shelter, and income to support their children’s education and household needs.
In closing, she said, “The state of any country’s environment is a reflection of the kind of governance in place, and without good governance there can be no peace.”
Hooray for volunteers!