When i was younger, and perhaps more innocent, i used to think there was something beautiful about the condensation trails left by jet planes crossing the sky.
Even now, i have to admit that there is something aesthetically pleasing in these vast man-made brushstrokes across the heavens..at the same time as i recognise how incongruous they are in the sky above a National Park. Indeed the presence of multiple parallel and crisscrossing contrails in the airspace over the central Sierra de Guadarrama is entirely incompatible with the concept of natural beauty or the conservation thereof. This artificial celestial decor is, much more than roads or ski-lifts, proof of human invasiveness, the fact that there is no natural preserve where you can hope to get away from the omnipresent, once naked – now petrochemically clad – ape.
And it’s not only a question of aesthetics or visual impact on the environment..i recall a day in the Pedriza this Summer when due to clouds you couldn’t always see the airliners or their contrails, but you could certainly hear them..but no, there’s more to it than this. Can you recall a day in the middle of a large city when you have been disgusted by the black fumes issuing from the exhaust of a passing bus or truck? Yes, contrails, also known as vapor trails, are usually a pretty white and made up of water vapor, but just how clean do you think the exhaust by-products of aviation fuel combustion might be? Don’t be fooled by the apparently innocuous whiteness or the idea that “it’s far away up in the sky”..what us apes put up in the sky usually comes down sooner or later, and when that shit comes down it’s an environmental pollutant as dangerous and unhealthy as any other..for the unfortunate animal and plant life below.
Strange little planet..of polyester clad apes flying around the atmosphere.. sometimes at supersonic speeds..spreading their trash so wide that even Antarctic penguins cannot hope to escape it.
I often laugh to myself when people remark on the “clean fresh mountain air” of the Sierra.. things are not always what they seem!
PS Here’s an article from National Geographic with some more information on this..