Monday, October 15, 2007

A ton

I have never owned a car and never really felt the need to own one. So one thing I have never been able to wrap my mind around is why do so many people feel they need a machine that weighs a ton just to go from one place to another?

We all have legs or wheel chairs which can get us around. If I need to go further and faster than my legs can take me, I ride a bicycle. If I am going someplace that mass transit can take me, and I don't feel like biking, I can ride mass transit. If I need something bigger than I can carry, I can pretty much always get it delivered for a few dollars more.

A couple weeks ago I took the Minnesota Energy Challenge, and answered questions about my lifestyle so that my carbon footprint could be estimated and I could be told some ways to reduce it. The first questions was: How many cars are there in your household? I said zero, which is the truth. Based on that and on the size of my apartment, I was told that my carbon footprint was so much smaller than the average Minnesotans'. There are certainly things I can do to reduce it even more, and I am working on that, but I felt good that mine was already pretty small.

When I heard the MN Energy Challenge auditor talk to other folks, most of what she asked them about were their driving habits. But what I couldn't figure out was why they even had to drive in the first place. Some people say they have to drive because they have to get to their job. But my choice of job and the place I live were based on if I could get to them by foot, bike, transit, or all three. I wouldn't be able to take a job that I could only drive to, so that is nothing that would ever happen to me.

Because if you have a machine that weighs a ton, your whole life revolves around that machine. Where you work, where you buy your groceries, what you do when you are not working. In my case, my world revolves around those other three modes of transportation, which I feel always gives me more options than my car-enslaved friends.

I don't need that ton to get me around. I don't need that ball and chain. What I can't figure out is why so many other people do think they need it, and keep on needing it, despite all the environmental problems this machine causes.

It's easy for me. I'd rather that the polar bears keep their habitat and that Bangladesh and The Maldives don't wash away than that I have a machine that weighs a ton to get me from point A to point B.

2 comments:

Angelina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angelina said...

Wahoo! for legs, bicycles, and people who use these!

(And also for Google)