Saturday, September 22 is World Car-Free Day! OurStreets Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Downtown Council and a few local groups are celebrating it on Friday, September 21st. In honor of this blessed event, I’m posting a few car-toons.
The U.S.A. (including Minnesota) remain “The Land of the Cars!” Here’s a new American flag proposal so outsiders will know what we’re all about:
Other cities around the world are banning cars, like Pontevedra Spain. Yet we in Saint Paul are still proposing $118 million garage rebuilds, or our state DOT is proposing to widen I-94, having just spent a quarter billion dollars to widen I-35E and even more money widening numerous other roadways. Despite all this asphalt (or maybe because of it), we spend close to ten forty-hour weeks per year stuck in our cars…
And we spend many thousands of dollars, per person, every year for gas, oil, insurance, maintenance, parking, depreciation, highways, accidents, oil wars, oil spills and countless other “externalities”.
Driving is like a drug pushed by the Auto-Industrial Complex, and we’re so addicted we can only manage fantasies like “Magic Driverless Green Cars” or pathetic, token political gestures. Much of the country and a majority of its current leadership deny that climate change and various problems associated with transportation, land use, population and consumerism even exist!
Often the folks preaching climate change denial are the rich or their paid industrial apologists. In the short run these folks can afford to “adapt” to climate change because they have multiple homes, private yachts and excellent flood and fire insurance. The less wealth you have, however, the less you can adapt to climate change. Just ask the folks in Bangladesh, Puerto Rico, Houston or the Carolinas.
But we have a choice. We can do like Pontevedra and radically change our land use, try to reduce our overall consumption, and take back space from cars…
…Or we can just keep driving.
I hope we choose the former.
Happy Car-Free Day!