Friday, 20 April 2007

E-mail to a Friend

Good to hear from you! I did not design my page as a guilt-inducer, it is simply consciousness-building. I'm just trying to get people to think about things. Most of us (myself included) tend to never really stop to question why we do certain things, nor do we ask the question if it really is the best thing for us to be doing.

Living in most U.S. cities without a car is next to impossible, since everything has been designed around cars. My proposal is that we reconsider how we design cities, and how we can restore existing cities to pedestrian & cyclist friendly places. I used to be in the throes of a true love affair with the automobile. I spent a small fortune on cars. One of these days I will sit down and attempt to calculate just how much I spent on cars from the time I learned to drive (1981) until the day I gave away my last car (2000). In those two decades I bet I spent close to 150 grand. Them's plenty of bus fares! For heaven's sake, you can buy a house for that in some parts of the country.

But something happened to me. Years later, I realized just how much I no longer missed owning a car. I realized how well I was living without one. A whole new world of new-found freedom had opened up to me. Not to mention, I seemed to always have cash – something I seldom had before!

I now realize even more clearly how we are quite literally brainwashed from an early age into accepting some pretty big absurdities. I also am beginning to draw parallels between the automobile and a loss of individual autonomy, civic responsibility, and "commons", or public spaces, which in turn has led to a degradation of urban life, democratic representation and equity. I also can see the parallels to consumption and waste of natural resources (namely petroleum), Corpofascist wars in the Middle East, and degradation to our natural environment.

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