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Re:grim climate numbers

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  • Karen Sandness
    Climate change is a fashionable topic here in the States, as well, but I see almost no one addressing the elephant in the garage, namely, America s
    Message 1 of 4 , May 3, 2007
      Climate change is a fashionable topic here in the States, as well, but
      I see almost no one addressing the elephant in the garage, namely,
      America's overwhelming dependence on the automobile, supposedly
      responsible for 1/3 of all U.S. greenhouse emissions.

      The "helpful hints" given in popular newspapers and magazines include
      replacing conventional light bulbs with fluorescent ones or paying
      one's utility company extra to subsidize the use of wind power, and
      some even refer indirectly to the problem of automobile exhaust by
      saying, "Keep your tires properly inflated to increase gas mileage" or
      "Combine errands into one trip" or "Replace one car trip a week with
      transit or cycling," or "Buy a Prius" or even, misguidedly, "Buy a
      vehicle that runs on ethanol."

      However, I have never seen a popular article that says, "Get rid of
      your car" or, for people trapped in car-dependent communities, as I
      currently am, "Have no more than one car per household and use it as
      little as possible." Another suggestion that I never see is, "Urge your
      local government to adopt pedestrian-friendly and transit-friendly
      construction, zoning, and retrofitting standards, and to ban all
      sprawl-engendering development."

      Meanwhile, suburban sprawl continues unchecked, with only a few "New
      Urbanist" designs scattered among the strip malls, and even some of
      these New Urban areas are essentially car-dependent.

      This is especially sad because another hot topic in the popular press
      is the problem of elderly people who keep driving after their eyesight
      or mental acuity dims. Having faced this situation within my own
      extended family, I can understand how not driving reduces an older
      adult to the helplessness of a child, but writers on this topic
      concentrate not on expanding alternatives to driving but on
      psychological strategies for getting older people to surrender their
      driving privileges.

      I feel as if I'm in a country that is walking over a cliff with its
      eyes open.

      In transit,
      Karen Sandness
    • dawie_coetzee
      The effect of scale on all the better alternative fuel solutions is not generally appreciated. The greater the overall reduction in vehicle use, the more
      Message 2 of 4 , May 4, 2007
        The effect of scale on all the better alternative fuel solutions is
        not generally appreciated. The greater the overall reduction in
        vehicle use, the more biodiesel/ethanol/biomethane begins to make
        sense. All these solutions really come into their own in a low-
        demand, localized, appropriate-technology scenario. Simply unplugging
        petroleum and plugging in biofuels won't work.

        A 90%+ reduction in vehicle use would take both the fuel and motor
        industries beyond a critical point at which their current
        methodologies are no longer viable. Then, both fuels and vehicles
        capable of being made using handicraft techniques and small, power-
        diffuse organizational structures would be required - in vastly
        reduced quantities, of course. All the biofuel processes, especially
        ethanol!, are as exquisitely suited to such conditions as they are
        unsuited to the conditions that currently prevail.

        The fuel and motor industries derive their power from the
        perpetuation and expansion of their current methodologies, which
        effectively renders them technologically and therefore economically
        invulnerable. That, rather than the loss of discrete operational
        profits, is why they will resist any real reduction in the use or
        rate of consumption of automobiles. New, supposedly efficient designs
        tend to rely more heavily on these methodologies and therefore
        further entrench the power of these industries. That is the real
        reason not to buy a Prius.

        That is also why better cities are the only real solution to the
        problems of vehicle emissions and resource depletion.

        Dawie Coetzee



        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Karen Sandness <ksandness@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Climate change is a fashionable topic here in the States, as well,
        but
        > I see almost no one addressing the elephant in the garage, namely,
        > America's overwhelming dependence on the automobile, supposedly
        > responsible for 1/3 of all U.S. greenhouse emissions.
        >
        ...
        >
        > In transit,
        > Karen Sandness
        >
      • primemgmt
        I see almost no one addressing the elephant in the garage, namely, America s overwhelming dependence on the automobile I agree with your point, the cure to
        Message 3 of 4 , May 4, 2007
          "I see almost no one addressing the elephant in the garage, namely,
          America's overwhelming dependence on the automobile"

          I agree with your point, the cure to the problem is an entire
          culture change. I often wonder if it is possible in the US,
          particularly the south where the mention of riding the bus gets you
          a crazed look from neighbors. Sigh.

          I was watching PBS last night and caught the very end of a car-free
          city in Italy (not Venice). It was a small town of around 600
          people, on the coast, does anyone know the name of this town? There
          could be many like it I suppose, but just wondering if anyone saw
          this show and has the name.

          Thanks,

          JR
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