Monday, August 29, 2005

Activists that make me laugh...

Maybe it's because I love cars. I love driving. There's no feeling like blasting down a good, twisty road with the t-tops off your "vintage" Z; your wife beside you (holding onto the armrest more tightly) as you row through the gears...the mean growl from the exhaust leak filling your ears. Mmmmmmmm...heaven.

Anyway, this story from CNN.com caught my eye: Activists join anti-car network

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- When the United States declined to ratify an international treaty that would impose limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases, four twentysomething Pittsburghers decided to take action.

They formed Car Free Pittsburgh, which promotes walking, bicycling and public transportation. The group is part of the World Carfree Network, a loose-knit coalition of more than 40 groups that believe cars hurt the environment, the economy and society.

The car-free movement is growing in the United States, although more slowly than in other countries. An estimated 100 million people participate in International Car Free Day each September 22 in 1,500 cities worldwide, according to the Sierra Club and other groups.

But it's not an easy sell, especially in an older, hilly city like Pittsburgh, one expert said.

"I think it would be an extremely difficult, if not miraculous, feat if organizations would be able to sway the general public, let alone the average Pittsburgher, to give up their cars," said Audrey Guskey, a consumer trends expert from Duquesne University.


The article goes on to explain how this movement started in Europe and has a big get-together and a magazine. However there's some problems with going "car free" in most of the US. Those that have grown up in rural areas realize what it really means to go somewhere. For me, a grocery trip is 12 miles one way. Even on a bicycle at a good pace, my milk wouldn't be in good shape on a hot Missouri day. If I need a specialty item...then I'm looking at more like 40 miles one way. Public transportation out here is basically non-existant. The closest thing is Amtrack...which makes two stops a day...and is forever off schedual (which is also 12 miles away).

In other countries with closely connected cities can form good public transportation systems easily and cheaply...but anyone who has reached the far-out deserts out west can attest to how difficult a public transportation system would be to run.

Enter the car and the expansive car culture (many of you might have noted my toyota underground link) of all kinds. From highly tuned sports cars to lifted, rock-crawling trucks to crazy lowriders, the car demonstrates the role of the individual in the US. In addition, it solves all those nagging distance problems that public transport or biking can't fix.

Enter the fun Kyoto Accords. Other than several countries have expressed problems with keeping them, I still say that global warming is still greatly overblown...and you can look here if you want to see why.

At any rate...while admire their drive to do something about what they disagree with, I still think it's funny.

2 Comments:

Blogger Editor said...

Going carfree isn't "funny" it is the future. These people get it.

Might not be possible in rural areas, but cities should have good public transit and bike lanes.

When we run out of oil, these folks will have adapted, and car addicts will be lost.

06 September, 2005 10:59  
Blogger FlaK said...

I disagree based on the "run out of oil" arguement. I remember them saying we were going to run out of oil in 20 years in elementry school. First there are so many ways to pull oil out of the ground (like sandy oil or shale oil) that have not been explored because there hasn't been a need. And never forget that oil is created over time...and that process is always continuing.

In the end, I really think it will be a moot point. I sincerely believe that we will have moved on to other energy sources long before we "run out " of oil.

15 September, 2005 20:05  

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