| Quote #7
Then she saw the stumps at the edges of the settlement, and gasped. "Trees...," she whispered in horror. "You cut down trees."
Shay squeezed her hand. "Only in this valley. It seems weird at first, but it's the way the pre-Rusties lived too, you know? And we're planting more on the other side of the mountain, pushing into the orchids." (24.3-4)
The Smokies have a complex relationship to the natural world: they plant new trees, but they also have to cut down old trees. It's a delicate balancing act, with "starving without technology" on one side and "destroying the world through meddling" on the other. (That sounds like an awesome circus.)
| Quote #8
Life was much more intense than in the city. She bathed in a river so cold that she had to jump in screaming, and she ate food pulled from the fire hot enough to burn her tongue, which city food never did. Of course, she missed shampoo that didn't sting her eyes, and flush toilets (she'd learned to her horror what "latrines" were), and mostly medspray. (28.4)
Here's why we love Tally, because she can see both the good and the bad in a situation. So, living much closer to the natural world means that things are more interesting and intense in a good way. (Kind of like that time she rode the roller coaster with Shay—it was intense and fun to be scared.) But on the downside, there's no good shampoo and no medspray. Love that medspray!
| Quote #9
The Smokies hunted, but they were like the rangers, killing only species that didn't belong in this part of the world or that had gotten out of control thanks to the Rusties' meddling. (28.6)
So the Smokies are totally good in relation to the environment, right? They hunt, but only non-native species; they cut down trees, but they plant more; and they don't even pour toxic material into the river, like normal cities. Great, but is it sustainable? What if they fix all the "Rusties' meddling"—how will they reorganize their society to maintain nature instead of changing it?