Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

July 16, 2008

Cars suck!! So, What can we do?

They do! They suck-up gas, they suck-up time, they suck-up resources and they suck-up space. But what the heck are we supposed to do? You’ll have to forgive me, I had an “I hate cars” day today and it’s most likely of my own doing which is the most frustrating part. A~ called me this morning from the store while she was out running some errands to inform me that our Ford Focus was dead. This wasn’t necessarily a surprised since when we got it a few months ago we were told that the battery was the original and was getting a bit weak after 8 yrs. The frustrating part is that while we have been trying to nurse it along through the summer months I thought just last night, “I need to check that battery and make sure it’s good, I’d hate A~ to get stuck somewhere.” Sure as heck I didn’t, I got caught up in something else and forgot about it. (Yep…I’m human!!) So now I get this call from A~ and I’m at work not more than a couple miles up the road. But I ride my bike to work, so what good am I? I borrow my co-workers car and run down to jump her (the car that is, not A~ ;-)) and head back to work. By then she’s gotten home and calls me to say our other car, the one I normally drive, is also dead. No doubt from lack of use, since I’ve driven it so rarely in the last month that I haven’t had to fill its 10 gal tank since June 9th and still have half a tank left. (Hey, that’s like a gallon a week. Dang that’s pretty good!) Anyway, so now I have two dysfunctional vehicles taking up space in our garage, and a generally bad attitude. I’ll get a new battery for the Focus and that’ll fix that problem, and I can charge the Toyota to fix that one but geez, what a pain. How much time and money do we spend on these “conveniences”? And what other option do we have? It’s kind of a quandary isn’t it?
A lot of the people that read this blog have expressed a desire to get “back to the land” so to speak; to get a little piece of land somewhere and work it, to have a bigger garden and raise a few animals, and live more sustainably. To a great degree I put myself in that group. But what does/will that mean in the future? Land out in the country is, by its very nature, out in the country and being “in the country” means quick bike rides to the store are out, as are most of the professions that many of us are in. So now we are in the position of having to drive everywhere we need to go. Not the best of circumstances to either increase our sustainability or our independence. The other thing, as was mentioned by Meadowlark the other day in a comment on “The Times are Changin Tuesday”, is that many of us already own the dread gas sucking SUV. What are we supposed to do with them? She states, "It is a dream world to think we're going to melt down all the SUV's and they'll disappear from the world." and you know what, she's right. They're here, many of us own them, and it's not realistic to think that their just going to go away and everyone is going to ride bikes or drive prius's Not only that, but what kind of impact on the local landfills do you think it would have if they suddenly got filled with old SUV's? That's not even mentioning the impact to our already stretched pocketbooks but I'll get to that tomorrow when I continue this post. Be well folks.


Chicago Mike said...

That sure explains the "frustrated" mood on FG the other day. Car problems can be the worst.

MeadowLark said...

Car problems SUCK. And invariably, it's the time when you say "I need to...blank" and then don't, that "BLANK" happens.

Just this morning I wondered if I'm too old at 45 to learn to ride a bike and ride the 9 miles on shoulderless high traffic roads to work. Maybe a scooter is a better idea for me?

Chicago Mike said...

You ask what we can do? Dude, you are doing it as quickly and efficiently as you can. I can tell.

I have to admit that I am one of those people that would love to get a peice of land, grow more food, raise animals (including the kids), etc. I have been thinking it through in gory detail and its not nearly as easy as people think. It would be a phenomenal amount of work, and even a significant risk. I need my job and so does my wife, or at least one of them for insurance. The capital necessary to do that is not inconsequential and well beyond most means.

The bottom line is that to make it work takes so much time and so much capital that having another job (or two) in the household becomes almost impossible. So you risk it all and go for it and hope that your business model (which is essentially what you must construct to make a go of it) works, OR you take intermediary action, like you are taking, and like I am working on, and keep grabbing opportunities as they come, think then act, apae.

With that said, I am keeping my fingers crossed that my wife will let me rip up three times teh yard I have torn up so far and put in solar AND wind next spring. In the middle of a subdivision. In the suburbs. In Chicago. Doing what we can with what we have or can find.

Chicago Mike said...

Sorry, did not realize how long that was getting and how far it was getting from the subject of cars.

As for cars, I want to put in solar and wind, then get me an electric, which there are a lot of getting ready to come out over the next few years.

ruralaspirations said...

We have something called a "crossover" which is really just a smaller SUV. No, we are not getting rid of it as we bought it new last year and it will be paid off at the end of this month. As you said, we can't just all ditch our big cars (and put them where?). But over time they will phase out like the gas-guzzling tanks of yesteryear (I learned on a '69 Buick Wildcat!).

But while some of us can sculpt our lives to do away with frequent driving I think ultimately what is required is much bigger. We need to fundamentally redesign our communities. I'd like to see the concept of Suburb die a swift death, replaced with communities where one can live, work, and play without having to commute. We need places for the masses to live where having a car isn't a necessity.