Saturday, March 05, 2011

The full empty highways

Imagine if you brought an alien here, or someone from the past, or any other outsider. And then showed them rush hour traffic on the highways. Imagine trying to defend the way we do things.

Yes, all of these vehicles can carry from four to eight times as much as we're asking them to carry. Yes, we're using one to two tonnes of materials per vehicle, yet almost all of them carry a single person and maybe a briefcase. Yes, we're polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink to do it, and paving so much of the world that we have environmental problems caused by just the heat reflection on the asphalt, to say nothing of the actual mining and paving. Yes, we pour almost half of our total energy output and about the same amount of our industry on making the vehicles and the infrastructure that gives them fuel and repairs and places to be. Yes, many of us spend frustrating hours every day stuck in traffic that can't move because the roads are so full of mostly-empty cars. Yes, the money we spend on this fuels racism, terrorism, and atrocities, many of them committed against us. Yes, our sons are dying in a faraway land to secure rights to keep this going a few more years.

No, of course I can't share a car or take a bus. What if I need to run an errand after work? Really, don't you know what's important?

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