Thursday, December 27, 2007

Reigning SUV's

I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation and for standby gasoline rationing. To further conserve energy, I'm proposing tonight an extra $10 billion over the next decade to strengthen our public transportation systems. And I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense -- I tell you it is an act of patriotism.

This speech was made by President Carter in July, 1979. The Americans responded by electing Ronald Reagan, who immediately put a stop to all the reforms Carter started and began a massive economic resurgence of consumer spending that has led us to ….

Yesterday as I was waiting for my bus, I counted 81 cars with single drivers, 9 with two people and none with more than two people. At 8:45 AM, I climbed on a monster bus with 8 other people and thought about how wasteful public transportation is when no one uses it. Later, I read a newspaper report about the number of SUV’s the government had purchased in the last year. Many of them were hybrid vehicles, but they still consume more gasoline than a smart car.

When did the great Canadian dream become an SUV in every garage, two if you are really deserving?

Have we heard so many the sky is falling stories in the last fifty years that we stopped checking the heavens?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Driving's really destructive. Here's a video where an ethicist claims it's actually rude to drive. Just imagine cities and towns without single passenger vehicles. Besides climate change, there's asthma, the ugliness of car-centric communities (parking lots, urban sprawl, multi-lane arterial streets), how impersonal and rude the activity of driving is compared to walking or cycling.

My sister has been driving for so long that she grossly over-estimates walking distances and times, regularly uses drive-thru's at restaurants and banks and cannot understand why she can't control her weight by working out just 20 minutes a day while she works at an office and would rather drive around several minutes to find a close parking spot than get out and walk. It's very difficult to get out of the driving mindset once you're in it. I just bought a car myself and find I have to resist the urge to over-use it all the time.

Prairie winters are also getting warmer and there isn't as much need to take shelter in our cars and buildings as much as there used to be. Critical Mass cycling events and similar events to highlight walking as a convenient mode of transportation and apply pressure for more cycling and pedestrian friendly city planning are probably really useful, especially the more participants they pick up.