Car Sick

“If a group of aliens came to this planet and said they would bring us all sorts of goodies like jet skis, tomatoes in January, computers, and so on (or at least they would bring them to the richest of us), on the multiple conditions that we offer up to them a yearly sacrifice of a half-million human lives, change our planet’s climate, individually spend increasing amounts of time serving them, and socially devote an ever-increasing amount of land and other resources to their service, we would rebel in a flash. Or at least I hope we would.” – Jan Lundberg, Anti-Road activist making analogy to car culture, Alliance for a Paving Moratorium

The EPA is considering reversing a Bush Administration decision that has prevented many states from taking action to reduce global warming from cars. You can sign the petition HERE, and then consider the issue even further. Some say that the most destructive aspect of cars is destroying mountains to  access metals to build the car itself. Sorry hybrid lovers – sorry electric idealists – sorry LA! According to, A car causes more pollution before it’s ever driven than in its entire lifetime of driving. The EPA now estimates that mountaintop removal will double over the next decade, destroying forests, river systems, animals, and anything else that may be in the way.

When you combine that with ever-increasing road-building, which requires 250,000 tons of sand and gravel per mile, in addition to millions of annual deaths, and tens of millions of annual injuries caused by car accidents, we can’t help but wonder if arranging your life to do most things locally isn’t the best option? Maybe those locavores are on to something? Anyone else wanna give up their cubicle to work from home?

I could even go into the energy required to build certain bike frames (and how no matter how far you ride it, you could never compensate for the energy used to make the alloys) but I’ll save that for another day. Get out your walking shoes… hmm..wonder what those are made out of and how much the person was paid who glued on the sole and stiched the seams?

2 Responses to Car Sick

  1. Ari says:

    If you already own a car, the most eco thing you can do is to keep it and use it as little as possible. And carpool bitches. All these people who run out and buy brand new hybrids have their hearts in the right place but haven’t been told the whole truth about what it took to produce that spankin’ new car.

    There’s a whole nation of people that think they’re green gods just because they drive hybrids. Nevermind that they’ll roll their shiny new Priuses over to a steakhouse and chow. Want to really take a step in the right direction for the environment? Just go vegan. The University of Chicago released a study recently that literally said that a vegan in a Hummer leaves of less of a carbon footprint than a meat-eater on a bicycle. Food for thought.

  2. EY says:


    I’m struggling with this post. I know hybrids aren’t the end-all-be all solution, and I’ll go with you on the ‘more polution in production’ aspect.

    However, first, I think we’d all agree that hybrids are better than SUV’s, and your running the risk by denoucning hybrids of turning people back to SUVs, because, ‘hey, if they’re both bad, I might as well drive the Range Rover I wanted anyway’. Not a great idea, I’d think.

    Further, for those of us in New York Metro, your stance against cars is great. We really don’t need them. On average, I’ve driven less than once in a two month period for the last two years.

    However, while there may be a ‘car culture’, most people can’t work from home, and often don’t live in places with public transportation systems as extensive as ours. We also travel over terrian that isn’t easily suited to walking (to cold, to much rain, etc), and often need to carry more than we can on a bike or in our hands.

    Without a major overturn of the current marketplace, back to extensively local economies, it seems more responsible to promote carpooling, hybrids, public transportation whenever available, and simply doing the best you can rather than trying to convince people to give up something that most cannot.

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