Saturday, September 5, 2009

Concerning Post-Peak Fuel, Climate Change, and Automobiles

We can only hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce fossil fuels usage by 50 to 80% over a period of many years.

Although some say that it is already too late to try to radically reduce, and others say it is immediately urgent, it does not take an abundance of common sense to comprehend that we are not going to change personal and collective behaviors overnight, not even to a great extent within the next 2 to 5 years.

But if we can hope that we have time to change things significantly over the next generation, then we can proceed as if what we write, say, and do, CAN make a difference.

I believe that one area (not the only one) where we can make a substantial difference is in the use of the personal automobile.

I have not had an automobile for ten years, and previously drove seldom. I rented a car for one day in that ten year period, rode with friends in trips to go exploring and/or hiking about ten or 15 times during that period. I mostly walk, sometimes ride a bus, and occasionally ride my bicycle.

My ecological behavior is a product of many years of comprehension, lifestyle learning, and much carefulness in my personal decisions. HOWEVER, I also understand that I am in a fortunate position in that my time is my own and the location that I have chosen to reside is relatively unusual, especially for the sprawl city in which I live, (Eugene, Oregon, USA)- which would be more appropriately named Roadmania... relatively unusual in that I can get almost everything that I need within walking distance of my abode (it does help some that my needs/wants are relatively scant).

However, recognizing what a super-novatic fluke the automobile is in human history (100 mere years with the acceleration of its absurd domination in the last 60 years)could open tremendous opportunity to lower greenhouse gases and free up the use of fossil fuels for more priority (and reduced within those priorities)purposes .

We need to set as a goal in the USA to reduce the use of the personal automobile by 80% in the next 20 to 40 years.

This can be done by explicitly fully committing to a plan and implement modus operandi of Private (Quasi-public) and Public allocation of resources to reorganize the people, reallocate goods and services production and distribution, and rebuild neighborhoods so that all citizens can get what they need and reasonably want within walking distance of their homes.

Not only will such ecological economic redevelopment help serve the twin crises of post-peak oil/gas and climate change, but it will go a long way towards improving the quality of life for all, allowing us to re-establish true community in our neighborhoods. If done correctly, it can also help greatly to rectify the equity and humanity problems that we now suffer from in modern life.

In Peace, Friendship, Community, Cooperation, and Solidarity,

Mike Morin
Eugene, OR, USA

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