Saturday, 8 November 2008
One thing that’s often talked about on simplicity and eco blogs is the use of cars. While I have absolutely no doubt that we really must cut back our use of said vehicles, but there are times when, no matter what’s said about using your legs or a bicycle, that a car should be accepted as the preferred method of transport.
Let’s say you work shifts and finish really late. Or that you’re going to a friends who lives quite a way away. Or even the cinema, the bowling alley or the local social club (but only if you won’t be drinking). Not everywhere is safe to be walking around late at night, especially not if you’re a woman, and unless you’re a really good cyclist who can easily manoeuvre out of sticky situations, in my opinion you’re better off in a car.
I try to use my car less than I used to, even though I neither walk more than a couple of hundred yards or use a bike, but even if I was fit and healthy, I’d still use it at night and especially if I had to travel though a less pleasant part of town than the one I’m lucky enough to live in. Why should I put myself in danger to save the planet? I do what I can, but there’s a limit. I’m not a martyr to the cause and neither should anybody else be. Well, I don't think they should be, anyway.
In fact, there are some places - although not in this town, fortunately - where I wouldn’t walk even if broad daylight let alone at night. If a person has to regularly go to or through those kind of places, I certainly wouldn’t condemn them for using a car.
What I don't like is when people continue to make short, unnecessary trips in their cars. Every day I see neighbours go out in their cars and within minutes they're back. They can't have gone far so surely they could have walked it? Ok, so maybe now and then they're not feeling too well, or have to take something heavy somewhere, but I'm pretty sure that most of the time it's just down to laziness and/or the need for everything to be done quickly.
I know I use my car more than I'd like to, but I have reason to and I do try to combine my trips as much as possible. It's rare that I just nip out for one thing these days. Instead I plan ahead so that I know what I'm likely to be needing and do as much as I can in one hit.
Neither do I like the use of cars that are TOO BIG for a person’s needs. One person can manage fine in a small hatchback and an average family has plenty of space in a medium sized MPV. When I see single people in big, posh cars or mum and her two kids doing the school run in a huge 4x4, my immediate thought is that they’re merely showing off. They’re using stuff to increase their worth within society. Ha! What worth?
It’s what you do, how you do it and why you do it that shows a person’s true worth, not what they drive or own.
They say they have these cars to ‘stay safe’, but what’s so unsafe about taking the kids to school by foot?
Stay safe by all means, I’m all for that, but only when there‘s a real possibility of danger.
Image Credit: Knots