’11th Hour’ Greens’ fundraiser

I’m sure I’ll feel oh-so-inclined to Do More about climate change after watching this film. Not that I’m feeling sick and tired of mainstream hippocracy about this stuff or anything. Just imagine Marvin: “Climate change? Don’t talk to me about climate change… I could’ve told them what to do, but of course they never asked me. No one ever asks me. And this pain in all the diodes down my left side…”

I’ll not go on.

Why I Refuse to Travel in Cars

In July 2004 I made the decision to completely stop travelling in all cars.

Since then, I have refused to get in any car whatsoever (even if it’s “going there anyway” or an electric vehicle), and although my life has become more geographically limited, I have never felt such personal feedom. I am, every day, more committed to this endeavour.

Connection to Place

Being limited in where I can go is part of why I do this; being forced to properly consider how I relate to place and speed. It is a contrived limitation that I place upon myself, but it’s been so long that I usually forget about it, and walking has become my naturnal way of going from place to place — I never feel like I’m going slowly or am being prevented from doing what I want.

I’ve offended some people, and missed out on some nice trips to the bush, but I feel so exceptionally fortunate to — almost every day — be given opportunities to appreciate, in a real and deep level, the places that I walk through. I mean anywhere, be it suburban pavement or inner-city park taking in a place slowly and on foot is truly amazing.

And some random other points:

  • Speed, and the taking-in of where one is and where one is going.
  • Devotional attachment to place.
  • Lots of places that I can’t go and lots of things I can’t do, but these limitations are positive.
  • Forces a real (human, environmental) relationship with place.

Environment

There’s also the macro-environmental thing: cars, and fossil-fueled transport generally, are killing the planet. That used to be a motivating reason for me to reduce my car usage (and my food-miles and all that); it isn’t really any more. I don’t mean that I’ve changed my mind about the environmental impacts of cars, but just that their impacts upon the urban landscape, and upon my personal experiences, are far greater than what I see of their impacts upon the arctic ice-shelf (for example). Of course, the local-environment things (streetscape, noise, etc.) are also environmental, but I don’t think revving engines or ugly streets ever brought about large-scale species destruction. And, finally (and possibly most importantly!), I really cannot be bothered with keeping up to date with all the latest scientific imformation about climate change etc. that are central to the ‘cars are environmentally bad’ argument.

People’s Reactions

What I said to my IBM colleagues in August 2007: “It’s about cars’ influence on society, urban design, the environment, and a bunch of other stuff… that I can go into if anyone cares.” They replied with silence, mostly, and “what about motorbikes?”. Other people, sympathetic people, asked “what if it were a biofueled car?” (I don’t care about the fuel source; I don’t know anything about fuel). But they were all, absolutely, respectful.

Fake World DOES Contain Humans

All has gone well, since my last post, with my intra-office carlessness. My announcement (“I don’t go in cars; don’t ask me to.”) has been met with near universal acceptance (or silence), to my great relief. I had wondered whether the conversations in the tea-room about various cars’ power-ratings and other such motorcar trivia would mean some expression of distain towards one who rejects all that. But no, nothing has come of it. They’re nice chaps, and I needn’t have worried.

So, with that bit of excitement out of the way, I’m left pondering the far-off hills and wishing that I could be in the workshop, at my bench, and writing in ink and not at a keyboard. The computer-reality is basically two-dimensional: we, the IT people, strive to make everything the same. Documents can never show age; photos must be as bright forever as they day they were taken; we care only for content, and never for context or media. A rotten state of affairs! I want my pages to yellow and my photos to fade! A world in which nothing is old gives us nothing at all — despite what Wikipedia would have us believe.

But I wont go on about that. I can’t bear to think about it, not here, in this place.

This office has begun to pall my spirits, now the novelties of The Commute and Being A Man have worn thin. I just want to run! (Well, run for a little ways, and then sit and sew my shirt, or write in my Moleskine…). I can’t dream about my workshop.