Henry David Thoreau in the passage entitled “Sounds” describes lucidly how a peaceful village is transformed due to the developments that occurred after the arrival of the railroad. The statement -“The rays which stream through the shutter will be no longer remembered when the shutter is wholly removed…” gives the precise meaning of the entire passage. Though both advantages, as well as disadvantages of this change, are mentioned, it is the negative impacts of railroads that are predominantly projected.
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The author describes the place where he stays and how the woods near his place are cut down for the railroad. As he says the whistle of the train has become so regular that people instead of looking at the time depend on the whistle to wake up and do all their routine works. He says that these have become so regular just like the morning sunrise. The cloud of smoke rising high pollutes the environment and the non-human counterparts.
He also describes how people have developed their businesses and improved their financial status. They have become richer and have improved in punctuality since the railroad was invented. He says that the standard of living has improved a lot because of these changes and there is improvement in education among the children. However, the author says that he has never seen where the trains go and it has not done much help to a local person like him. Similarly, it has also harmed the habitat of the birds and the owls take up the strain especially due to the noise and other pollution (Thoreau).
Inevitably the increasing population has put immense pressure on the limited resources of the earth such as land, water, and other natural resources. For instance, the forest is cut down in different parts of the world for agricultural purposes, human settlement, infrastructure, and other activities. This has resulted in increased degradation of natural ecosystems and is eroding the life-supporting systems that uphold human civilization. Deforestation is a local problem that can have global consequences and is a threat in a long run. Additionally, globalization is converting Earth into a single social system. The entire life support system is now threatened by these activities, and it is extremely essential to protect and cherish this life-supporting system.
Sustainable development needs to be emphasized by the global community. The degradation of the resources such as soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, species extinction, and other problems, deforestation could lead to increasing global temperate and other global consequences. Hence it becomes essential for the involvement of the global community and the local government in the conservation process. In conclusion, I would like to say that it is essential to create awareness among the local community to think globally and act locally in a sustainable manner.
Though Henry describes the changes that occurred in the small village because of the new railroads, similar changes have occurred all over the world and the new generation hardly knows or hardly can imagine the way the environment was before these developments. Today vehicular pollution has increased tremendously and requirements for natural resources such as coal and petroleum products are high.
When compared to the cars, buses and other vehicles, the pollution from trains is less. It is important that new technologies need to be economically and environmentally sustainable. Priority is to introduce and enforce policies that will help to minimize, if not eliminate, risks posed by human activities on flora and fauna resources. This will not only help the present generation but also the future generation.
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Thoreau, H.D. Sounds In: America as a second creation by David Nye chapter 7 & 8 (2008). Web.