Life after cars

I’ve been cheered over the last month or so to see more people online talking about how we are going to have to cut back on car use. The only way to deal with congestion, is if more people drive less. I’m so glad to see growing recognition that building roads does not solve this problem. We need to tackle our dire air pollution – which is killing people. We need to square up to the way driving impacts on climate chaos. We also can’t simply replace current cars with electric ones, because there are rare earths currently needed for electric cars and the planet can’t afford us over-consuming those, either.

What needs to happen next is that we need to start getting excited about the implications of a mass cutback on car travel. So, here are some benefits to contemplate.

Reduced noise pollution. How much nicer and less stressful human environments are when we aren’t bombarded by car noise!

Less air pollution – which will help with respiratory diseases, and maybe make colds a bit less awful, and improve our life expectancies.

Less time wasted commuting. How much time does a person who sits in traffic squander in a state of frustration as they breathe in the toxins from the other cars around them? Think how much quality of life could be improved by reclaiming that time!

Being bodily and mentally healthier – getting about on foot or on a bike helps reduce stress and keeps us fit. This is a great life improver, and with fewer cars on the road, walking and cycling will become safer and nicer to do.

It’s more social – if you’re on public transport or on foot, you meet people. You might even talk to them in passing and make friends with them. Loneliness is a modern western epidemic and cars don’t help us with that.

If you don’t drive to work and for leisure, you have to be more involved with your local community. People are often less willing to shit where they eat, and being more involved with the people around us builds communities and gives us better lives. If we go over to car sharing or other, more communal systems, this also requires us to be more co-operative, which is good. We’d have to restructure so that accessing key resources was less car dependent. This would be good, and would inject life and opportunities back into small towns and villages.

It saves money. Cars cost money to buy, fuel and maintain. How many people are pushed into sudden debt because of an unexpected car expense?

Being safer. Every year many people are killed and injured through car use. Think of the pain, stress, misery and grief we could end if we got more people out of their cars.

Get people off the roads, and driving will be less stressful and dangerous for those few who really need to do it. It’ll be easier to move emergency vehicles around at need as well.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Life after cars

  • garycohenblog

    In my 50’s and have never driven a car. Never took a driving lesson, never owned a car. Used public transport and walked. I have managed to get around the country attending various events over the years. My wife does own a car so in recent years I have relied on the car to take us to events and places that have either no public transport or a very limited service. In my experience public transport has become less frequent due to everyone using their cars. While saving the planet is priority in my opinion, I don’t see many people giving up there nice shiny four wheel status symbols that make them feel secure and that they are keeping up with the neighbours!
    I have often been looked at as if I am a bit of a weirdo for not having a car!

  • Christopher Blackwell

    I have had a few cars in my life, but have also had many years without one. I bought a new Totyota pickup in 2005, though I myself can’t drive any more so I have a diver. My own trips are only once a week for shopping. My driver, now co-owner of the truck, uses it a bit more than I do. However we still have the same pickup. It has never needed are pair, or more than an oil change and a tune up. I have replaced the tires twice so far and we are still coming up to the 60,000 mile point. The longest trip is our once a year trip of a hundred miles round trip to the mine and back to pick up more material for the shop. I suppose this truck may even outlast me.

  • Chad Holleman Robinette

    Unfortunately, although there is a bus system where I live, it’s very inefficient and often leaves people behind or is hours behind schedule. Maybe someday I’ll live somewhere this is practical.

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