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Re: [carfree_cities] Reaching the young

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  • Jon Koller
    I ve been toying around with the idea of a cartoon or online short for some time now. There was a story in the NYT about The Story of Stuff earlier this
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 26, 2009
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      I've been toying around with the idea of a cartoon or online short for some
      time now. There was a story in the NYT about "The Story of Stuff" earlier
      this year that described how teachers seek out high quality, educational
      shorts to show to their classes (cheaper, easier and better than dvd or
      vhs). A 20-30 minute show that causes students to question the current
      transportation system and makes suggestions for an alternative would be a
      highly effective way to spread the carfree message.

      -Jon

      ps see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/education/11stuff.html?_r=3&em

      On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 9:36 AM, Bob Matter <rjmatter@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 8:00 AM, J.H. Crawford <mailbox@...<mailbox%40carfree.com>>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi All,
      > >
      > > I am becoming desperately concerned about our failure
      > > to affect the course of greenhouse gas emissions. Even
      > > a deal at Copenhagen is not likely to alter emissions
      > > for a decade or more, and the reductions will almost
      > > certainly be less than agreed, and insufficient.
      > >
      > > I think that the only way to bring about prompt and
      > > significant change is to energize today's young
      > > people--say, those between 12 and 24. They are going
      > > to be the ones who are going to have to bear the
      > > brunt of our failures. They ought to be pretty angry
      > > by now about the mess we are planning to leave them.
      > >
      > > I don't have any idea how to reach this age group
      > > with a simple message:
      > >
      > > 1) We are making a really serious mess of the climate,
      > > and the effects will come in their lifetimes.
      > >
      > > 2) The technical fixes now proposed are not likely
      > > to work and will probably have serious, unintended
      > > consequences.
      > >
      > > 3) We can have a high quality of life without wrecking
      > > the planet. That life is quite different from today's
      > > life. The solutions solve a lot of other problems, too.
      > >
      > > What thoughts do you have about finding an effective
      > > way to reach this group? I don't think writing books
      > > is going to work.
      > >
      > > Best,
      > >
      > > Joel
      >
      > The first thing I'd do would be to encourage them to become vegans.
      > Ruminants are responsible for about 50 percent more greenhouse gases
      > than the entire transportation sector.
      >
      > If we could get classical economics (i.e. political economics) taught
      > in the classroom a la Henry George ("Progress and Poverty") they might
      > as adults support community ownership of land and land value taxation
      > vs. taxes on improvements, goods, and labor. Good-bye land
      > speculation and sprawl, hello density-- the largest determinant of
      > whether one walks, bikes, and takes transit.
      >
      > I am somewhat less concerned about climate change nowadays and more
      > concerned with the population crash of our western allies and all the
      > problems that foretells, like the gradual takeover of countries with
      > nuclear weapons like France by Islam.
      >
      > -Bob Matter
      > Chicago
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Christa
      I m on the other side of this coin. I m in my early 20 s and grew up in southern California. Through experiencing car-free environments in college and study
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 26, 2009
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        I'm on the other side of this coin. I'm in my early 20's and grew up in
        southern California. Through experiencing car-free environments in college
        and study abroad, I slowly adopted an appreciation for walking, cycling, and
        public transportation. Learning how to live carfree in the US is like
        learning a different language!

        I would love to use my knowledge and experience to help others in this
        field. I'm desperately looking for job opportunities to promote Livable
        Streets. Any advice?


        Best wishes,

        Christa


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • mdh6214
        I m 29, so it hasn t been that long since I ve been in that age group. The primary way to lead youth in the right direction is to set an example by taking the
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 26, 2009
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          I'm 29, so it hasn't been that long since I've been in that age group. The primary way to lead youth in the right direction is to set an example by taking the lead. Not glorifying (or forcing, for that matter) an energy-intensive lifestyle on today's youth wouldn't hurt either.

          High schools and colleges do just this: they glorify it, and in many cases, force it on the students. High schools are known for parking up the surrounding community for blocks, and one here has students parking three-deep on the street and sidewalk. In 2000, my alma mater, Florida State University, switched from a self-funded, buy-your-permit system to "universal" parking, adding $7.40/hr ($222/yr for a full-time student) for a campus parking permit, whether or not they wanted it. Parking Garage #5 just finished construction, and parking still isn't plentiful. Anyone brave enough to live next to a high school or college campus winds up having to get a towing contract for their own front lawn.

          A minority opinion is that high schools and colleges should kill off student parking and focus on their original goals of research and education. If students want parking, they say, let them lease off-campus parking spaces, which typically run for $50-400 per semester. Of course, a lot of these folks would pull out the pitchforks if their employer were to cancel free on-site employee parking.

          The problem? Driving absolutely everywhere is seen as a step forward, like graduating, becoming a homeowner, or getting your first full-time job.

          Good luck telling high-school students not to drive when that's how 100% of the faculty get to work--and when their parents get them a car at 16 so they "don't have to drive them everywhere".

          Good luck telling college students not to drive when the president of the university has two reserved parking spaces on campus (one at his house and one at his office).

          What we need, IMHO, is honest discussion about the costs of driving. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be happening, since roads are perceived as "free"--and since the cost of driving is equated with only the cost of fuel. We've all heard the right-wing battle cry that the government's only job is to "build roads"--but not to regulate whether or not said road users are actually using them safely, or even with insurance.

          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...> wrote:

          > I think that the only way to bring about prompt and
          > significant change is to energize today's young
          > people--say, those between 12 and 24. They are going
          > to be the ones who are going to have to bear the
          > brunt of our failures. They ought to be pretty angry
          > by now about the mess we are planning to leave them.
          >
          > I don't have any idea how to reach this age group
          > with a simple message:
        • Chris Bradshaw
          You re right. Kids don t read books. They hear of ideas from more immediate media and decide whether or not to adopt them. On the one hand, they are eager at
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 26, 2009
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            You're right. Kids don't read books. They hear of ideas from more
            immediate media and decide whether or not to adopt them.

            On the one hand, they are eager at age 16 to get what they have assumed is
            part of adulthood, and can become a street intimidator, rather than a street
            intimidatee. That is like just perpetuating the cycle of violence, rather
            than them saying, "enough is enough. I want a kinder, gentler streets."

            For younger kids, one saying I coined is: "Kids and Trees. If You Want Us
            Around, Give Us Some Ground."

            I came up with a slogan to sell kids before 16 to see the car as confining
            their ability to communicate who they really are, compared to a bicycle:
            "Cars cover character." Bikes are not covered by any vehicle-design laws,
            only those of physics, so kids can do whatever they want in using them to
            express who they are.

            And last week, I came up with another quip, addressed to those of all ages:

            >There has been a saying that has been used to explain how our society got
            >so
            >structured for cars, not people:
            >
            >"There are two kinds of people. Those who own cars, and those who wish
            >they
            >did."
            >
            >Now there is a change in this, due to frustrations, and we get a chance to
            >test out a variation of the saying:
            >
            >"There are two kinds of people. Those who can live without a car, and
            >those
            >who wish they could."

            A responder to that included a reference to a recent NYT article:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/automobiles/autospecial2/22CHANGE.html

            Chris Bradshaw
            "The Only Good Car is a Shared Car"
          • J.H. Crawford
            Hi All, This discussion has veered off in a different direction than I had intended. First of all, I m not really trying to lead youth. I m trying to wake
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 26, 2009
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              Hi All,

              This discussion has veered off in a different direction
              than I had intended.

              First of all, I'm not really trying to "lead" youth.
              I'm trying to wake them up and get them do their own
              thing on this, which will probably surprise me and
              nearly everyone else.

              Second, this is not focused on Carfree.com. I'll use
              the site to the extent that it helps, but this is
              much larger than my server. We need not thousands
              of young people involved but hundreds of millions.
              This needs to be another "1968". (For those of you
              too young to remember, the world, in 1965, looked
              like nothing would ever change again. By the end
              of 1968, things had changed beyond recognition. The
              change was led directly by young people, with a few
              grey heads shouting encouragement and giving quiet
              advice.)

              The people who are going to have to bear the consequences
              of our bad decisions need to get ANGRY about what
              is being handed to them. They need to be demanding
              real change that will make it possible for them
              to live out their lives, and for their grandchildren
              to live out THEIR lives, on a planet capable of
              sustaining life. Nothing that is happening now is
              going to yield that result.

              Violence is possible, but as usual it is not the
              answer. Anger, however, is not the same as violence.
              Anger channeled into productive action can make
              a huge difference. 1968 was largely fueled by anger,
              and there was quite a lot of violence, some of it
              instigated by undercover police. We need to avoid
              that this time around.

              The world needs to become uncomfortable for everyone
              over the age of 30, just like it did 40 years ago.
              Real change is like that.

              Best,

              Joel



              ----- ### -----
              J.H. Crawford . Carfree Cities
              mailbox@... . http://www.carfree.com
            • mdh6214
              One thing that seriously worries me is Americans voting habits. IIRC, American approval of the 110th Congress stood at a whopping 20%...and the 111th Congress
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 26, 2009
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                One thing that seriously worries me is Americans' voting habits. IIRC, American approval of the 110th Congress stood at a whopping 20%...and the 111th Congress is 89% incumbent.

                I encourage people to research the candidates on the ballot and vote for whoever most closely matches their views. Unfortunately, when the election comes around, the voters in my district come out to support the entrenched Democrat whose mission in Congress is to give himself farm subsidies.

                Sadly, it seems that the only political activism these days that gets media coverage is neocon astroturfing. We've all seen the footage from town hall meetings where people are demanding no public health care [unless it's Medicare].

                Historical question here: what was turnover like for the Congresses elected in 1966 and 1968?

                --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...> wrote:

                > Second, this is not focused on Carfree.com. I'll use
                > the site to the extent that it helps, but this is
                > much larger than my server. We need not thousands
                > of young people involved but hundreds of millions.
                > This needs to be another "1968". (For those of you
                > too young to remember, the world, in 1965, looked
                > like nothing would ever change again. By the end
                > of 1968, things had changed beyond recognition. The
                > change was led directly by young people, with a few
                > grey heads shouting encouragement and giving quiet
                > advice.)
                >
                > The people who are going to have to bear the consequences
                > of our bad decisions need to get ANGRY about what
                > is being handed to them. They need to be demanding
                > real change that will make it possible for them
                > to live out their lives, and for their grandchildren
                > to live out THEIR lives, on a planet capable of
                > sustaining life. Nothing that is happening now is
                > going to yield that result.
              • trailphotomt
                Hi All, I don t think that a large generalization about car-free being a new trend among young people can be made. Certain cities and areas of the country are
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 27, 2009
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                  Hi All,

                  I don't think that a large generalization about car-free being a new trend among young people can be made. Certain cities and areas of the country are seeing an amazing amount of growth in non-motorized transportation, but at the same time large segments of the country are still not experiencing such a cultural shift.

                  We also can't think of the "young" as being a monoculture. Here in Missoula, MT there are two high schools with two different cultures. One is set in our urban core with almost no parking; most of the students walk, bike, or take our public transit (since there is no room for school buses to park and drop off kids). There must be between 100-200 bikes parked at the high school ever day. The other is more suburban, and has a parking lot the size of several football fields with kids getting there with either a vehicle, dropped off by parents, or on a school bus.

                  Local culture is probably the most important factor. If there is no bicycle culture present in a city, the work that must be done to get people on board with bicycle tranportation and for them to see the need to get out of the car is hugely increased. All the blogs, books, and newspaper articles written about the new trend, environmental, and health concerns will do little.

                  Much of the cultural change that is taking place is happening in cities that already had a significant bicycle culture presence and that culture has finally grown in numbers to become more important and more visible. I agree that social interaction person to person is probably the most powerful and effective way to spread such ideas. Having that local culture that someone can connect to, have fun, learn new things, meet friends, and become engaged is important because without those opportunities all the information that is being put out there wont inspire anyone.

                  My experience is that a lot of books about such things are read by people that are already interested in the subject or are already believers. The same with blogs are true, many of my readers and the people that comment are themselves activists and other bloggers. Such things are aids to spreading such cultural ideals as being car-free or living environmentally and cannot replace the influence of friends, family, and local community

                  Thanks,

                  Lewis Kelley

                  Chair, ASUM Transportation Board
                  http://life.umt.edu/asum/asum_agencies/Transportation/
                  lewis.kelley@...

                  ttp://www.imaginenocars.blogspot.com/
                  carfreestupidity@...

                  Along the Trail Photography
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/alongthetrailphotomt/
                  trailphotomt@...
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