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7438Re: [carfree_cities] Is the oil dependence problem on the radar?

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  • Simon Baddeley
    Jun 18, 2004
      Does this really surprise?

      To some it's like being on the Titanic (v.comfortable, v.secure and
      assured). Imagine you knew ahead of times that you were inevitably going to
      hit an iceberg in a week's time and that even if you changed course no-one
      on board would save themselves as the collision was unavoidable. First of
      all you would find it difficult to convince many on board of this scenario.
      Then when you explained even to those who accepted the scenario that
      whatever people did would only make any difference in a future beyond the
      life time of all on board.

      Then what of the story of the monkey traps? Put a desired piece of food in a
      jar with an entrance wide enough for the beast to get its hand and arm into
      the jar. Once the monkey has made a fist round the desired object it becomes
      easy to catch, because capture and possible death is preferable to letting
      go the object of desire. If people could be martyred for a Messiah and the
      promise of everlasting life, is it surprising if the denizens of a consumer
      society are ready to die for their possessions and the way of life it offers
      on earth and promises for the future?

      None of these depressing observations on our nature and condition makes me
      any less resolute. What I don't intend to become is a sandwich board man
      pacing the decks among the partying passengers declaiming that "We're all
      going to die!!". That in me that is anxious for some validation thinks of
      future historians asking what what people like me were doing in the early
      years of the 20th Century.

      If we fail then there won't be any history anyway.

      My maxim is that in this endeavour you are always losing until you win. The
      proponents of most great causes never live to see them succeed. It is being
      able to keep going with angry and compassionate reasoning in these
      circumstances that is a test of character and leadership. I fall short of
      that but it is my aspiration to avoid that enormous temptation to do nothing
      because I can do so little.

      I have a little test. There are nice environmentalist's I meet who I realise
      after a while have yearning for global Armageddon for the fleeting pleasure
      of watching all those feckless consumer vandals earn the wages of their
      sins. Me too! But it's not good enough to think like that.


      On 4/6/04 11:42 pm, "Mike Morin" <mikemorin@...> wrote:

      > Joe wrote:
      >> I still feel like most of the country really doesn t get
      >> it. What does everyone else think?
      > I think you're correct. Judging by the choices made by American consumers
      > (e.g. the preponderance of SUVs), I would have to conclude that the majority
      > of Americans are unaware of the imminent shortages of fuel, the problems of
      > global warming and other sorts of pollution, the availability and
      > desirability of walkable environments, or they just don't or won't believe
      > it.
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