Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thoughts on 350 Climate Action Day - Life is just better without cars.

This past saturday marked the 350.org Climate Action day. Throughout the world, and even in Redlands, people gathered to voice there support of lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere to 350ppm - a level deemed to be safe to the environment.

During the activities I was a part of here in Redlands, I had the chance to talk to a geologist on her thoughts regarding climate change. Let's suffice to say that she had some interesting arguments about what our emissions are actually doing the the atmosphere, and thus the debate could have gone on and on and on...

This conversation was the highlight of my day, however, as I was reminded just why non-motorized transportation is so important - regardless of what you think about emissions alone.

Every evening from Los Angeles to Redlands and beyond stretches bumper-to-bumper traffic over 60-80 miles of asphalt which connects to roads which connects to more roads which connects to streets which connect to parking lots and so on and so on.

What a waste of space.

This repeats the next morning, every day, 5 days a week. Each of those people are in their cars upwards of an hour or more each way - each day. Some do this by choice, but some - like my geologist friend - because they have to. Each hour you spend in that car you have your hands glued to the wheel and your mind focused on the cars in front of you.

What a waste of time and your mind!

Cars are not allowing us to have you any exercise. You sit. You can't read. You can't talk on your cellphone (thankfully, though not everyone is obeying the new laws). You can't interact with anyone else.

What kind of 'dream' is that?

So again, what is the purpose of cars?

Is it to get to work? Well, as bikecommuter.com's Jonathan Baty and I discussed last night, NO!!

Your place of work that you drive to every day is only there so you'll drive to it! This is car culture at it's finest, and it's a world wide problem. It's cheaper to build overtop our precious agricultural land (we can import food from somewhere else, right?) and make you buy a car just so you can get to work to pay for your car!! Meanwhile you're family wonders why you're late, and you have no time to actually enjoy the house you're struggling to pay the mortgage for.

This is the real fight - ending car culture.

I'm so lucky to live and work in Redlands. I don't use my car unless I absolutely need to go somewhere further than I can ride and carry the things I need with me. I get the exercise my body needs and wants, and my 'footprint' is extremely low. I support local business to get my food and services (most towns, including Redlands, still have everything within a few miles ride of home).

Generally, life is a lot nicer on a bike.

I wish this life for everyone on the planet, and that is the reason why I went for a ride on Saturday.

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