Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hero of the Environment - Public Health

Our next Hero of the Environment is (drum roll)  Henry Ford.

Ford was one of a cadre of inspired innovators who transformed post-Civil War America into the modern age.  Ford understood how machinery, especially machines for moving objects, would vastly improve life.  The machines had to be reliable, they had to be accessible (a.k.a. affordable).  He didn’t invent the automobile nor the assembly line process, but he did perfect them.  Around the turn of the twentieth century he stated a goal to create "a motor car for the great multitude."

That he did.  In an even more startling move, in 1915 he dropped the price of the Model T from $850 to $290 and sold 1 million cars that year.  There was a noticable side-effect – big cities began to smell a whole lot better.  Fewer children were hurt in the streets.  Illness receded.

Alas, in our highly insulated time, many folks are clueless to the environment of cities in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Transport yourself through time and a walk along a New York sidewalk and you notice – it stinks!

Before Ford and his colleagues perfected machines to move people and goods around, it was horsepower (and sometimes oxen and mule) that did the work.  Horses are beautiful animals (yours truly adores them) but when packed into small areas, well, a single horse produces (drops?) fifteen to thirty pounds of manure (politely).  Gravity insured that such products reached the ground immediately.

Do the math:  150,000 horse in New York (for example) dropping 15 – 30 pounds of manure daily and also collectively adding 40,000 gallons of had to go somewhere.

Henry Ford
In addition, horse powered conveyances were affected by, well, the horse.  The skittishness of horses added a dangerous level of unpredictability – any number of things could shock and spook the animals.   Forget the stampede, children were particularly at risk from horses kicking, biting, or trampling.  So, in a real sense, Henry Ford helped to save the children.

Ford also brought fresher air, cleaner water, safer streets, and an overall improvement in quality of life for all citizens, not just the well-heeled.

Oh, Ford also paid his employees well enough to retain them from competitors and enable them to purchase the products they built.  Radical. 

Ford, thrill seeker

Truly, Henry Ford – Hero of the Environment.

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