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"Saving the environment," we are being told, "is not an issue anymore. It is a survival truth. Individuals, organizations and governments need to come together and join hands to protect what is left of our planet so that the future is not wiped out before it’s time for curtain call."

I was reminded of this while in Connemara last week.

In the first photo below we see the ruins of a small 200 year old dwelling which would have been built of dry-stone walls, a thatched roof and a reek of turf beside it for firing - all found nearby. It was, and still is, in keeping with the landscape around it.

Below it is a photo of a modern dwelling in the same area totally built with imported material which in 20-50 years time will also be a ruin but an eye-sore in the landscape.

stone house

new house


I think it must be a Celtic thing, this love of new builds. It's the same on Orkney and in mainland Scotland. Oddly enough, the English tend to love to rebuild and adapt old buildings.
Of course they have a beautiful view of the sea and islands but why not build in the outskirts of towns or cities and visit the country-side?

Of course, when they do that they leave their rubbish!
That is the benefit of living in a National Park. Here in Snowdonia, new developments are strictly controlled, not only with regard to where people can build but also the materials they can use. For example roofs have to be slate.
We also have such planning permissions here but the authorities appear to ignore such things as the demands of the environment. There are also laws about litter but no one seems to give a damn.
I personally agree that (most) old buildings are charming. However, that is a question of personal taste; other people prefer the modern. We don't know what will be viewed as beautiful and classic to people in the future. The Eiffel Tower was regarded as an eyesore when it was built. Now it is a classic, and the proud symbol of Paris and even all of France.
What is it that makes the Eiffel Tower a "classic" I wonder? Because it is odd in the place where it is? Because it is a perfect (only) example of a particular style?
Or simply because it gives people the best view of Paris?
I was using classic in an informal sense of "been there a long time and everyone knows about it," but you do raise some good questions.

It was unique when it was built (there have been some imitations, like Tokyo Tower), and especially in contrast to the rest of Paris of its era. Plus it stands in a park, so easily visible (put it in the middle of a block in Manhattan and it would look ridiculous). The lines of the construction have a pleasing symmetry and curve to them, but I admit that is also subjective? Its being odd in the place where it stands makes it striking but necessarily classic.

I wonder about the London Eye. It too has been called an eyesore against the backdrop of ole London; in a few generations will Londoners regard it the same way Parisians regard the Eiffel Tower?

Edited at 2013-08-07 12:08 (UTC)