Comment 15706

By schmadrian (registered) | Posted December 14, 2007 at 14:39:14

As I've been going on and on with friends, family and acquaintances, my belief is that 'the car issue' is not one predominantly of energy use, or of pollution created...or even, on the other side of the coin, one having to do with communities, sustainable living, or common-sense movement of people. The issue of 'The Automobile' surely incorporates all of the above, but to me, its very core is one that goes beyond all this. For the automobile has become the very foundation of life in North America, the primary expression of our materialistic society. Even though it's really just a modern-day extension of the horse. Which, as we all know, was never seen as anything more than a means to get ourselves from Point A to Point B.

Never mind the fact that our transportation paradigm is founded on the car. (Imagine, if you will, if Henry Ford's efforts had not borne fruit, and that instead of a road-based transportation system, somehow, someway, we'd ended up with a rail-based one. Yes, this is alternative-reality musing. But seriously; think about it...) Because it is a much-coveted possession, such a great indicator of where you are in your life (according to the prevailing value system; all one has to do is watch tv for several hours, or pick up a few magazines and browse the ads, and you'll see what I mean about the pre-eminence of The Automobile in our North American world), to me you have to acknowledge that in order to change mindsets regarding how we should be moving people, you have to change value systems, not try to scare people into changing their default or hammer them with intelligent argument to get them to see the light.

By and large, change doesn't happen unless there's either a) a crisis, or b) a sexier option is created. (But even if we could overnight change all cars to non-petroleum fueled states, would this really accomplish anything? That is, if cars were suddenly not bad for the environment at all...and I know this is a leap for some people to even conceptualize...would that be an acceptable alternative? Would the die-hard 'energy-efficient/eco-friendly movement of the masses' proponents be satisfied? No? Why not...?)

From what I see, unless we're talking crisis, we're never going to change the mindset, never going to shift the paradigm until 16 year old males don't yearn to own their first cars, and instead are focused on actually DOING something, rather than seeing the car...merely a means of getting them around...as the be-all and end-all.

Until then, I think I'll just keep on walking.

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