Saturday, June 22, 2013
The Not So Sweet Stench of Nostalgia
To those of you who think that the environment of pre-industrial America was somehow pristine, think again. In larger cities like New York and Philadelphia, hundreds of thousands of tons of horse manure (horses being the primary mode of transport for people and freight back then) were deposited onto the streets every year and the primary mode of heat was wood, a fuel with a carbon to hydrogen ratio of nearly 10:1 (natural gas, by comparison, has a carbon to hydrogen ratio of 1:4). The air quality in these cities was terrible back then and life in a more general sense was nasty, brutish, and short....But, hey, at least they had some windmills, right?