This Monday, I went of on a rant about transportation, campaigns and some other stuff. Today, I red an article at grist.org. It is about the rather pessimistic tone the environmental debate have taken in USA, were the “left” wing present ideas to solve environmental problems and the right wing shoots them down, in the name of the market. This is a very simplified picture of course. And I am sure it isn’t totally like this in USA.
But it does raise a couple of new questions that I have touched before. The government need to understand that the car isn’t sacred, and that mass transit actually is a good thing. The car isn’t sacred, as the Michael Linds article that the Grist article was based on seems to assume. It is true that rich countries have a higher density of cars, as people can afford them. Does that mean that public transportation isn’t an option in the future, especially in urban areas? And the reason many drive to work from the suburbs is 1) habit and 2) lack of descent mass transit systems. So when new suburbs are built, make sure there are bus-lines! Trains may be expensive, but buses use the same infrastructure as the rest of the traffic. This is how it is done in Sweden, at least in cities that think ahead.
Michael Lind is right on one thing though… Asphalt may not be exciting, but new and low particle emitting asphalt is something to pay out for. It reduces wear and tear on the road, noise, particles and lowers fuel consumption, and thereby CO2 and NOx…
But the bottom line is that there have to be an attitude shift. I have said that before, haven’t I. Both from the politicians point of view and from the people. I am not talking about USA here, but in general. While the European governments are less conservative and are more keen on discussing CO2, there is still to much discussion and to little action. And climate denialists and traditionalists exist here to. The difference is that religion is less of an issue in the politic game in Europe and the climate model is the norm. I am not going to harp about religion being bad, because in itself there is nothing wrong with being religious. Hiding behind it or using the argument “god wants it” is a bit medieval though, right?
Ok, I got sidetracked again… Sorry. Attitude shifts… I really think that the conservative wing, regardless of continent view environmentalists as smug, self righteous, smug hippies. And there are many of them around. You know who you are! Many seems to hate cars, or even development. But is this how most people who work with environmental issues are. Is this how most interested persons out there are? Once again, to much focus is placed in the wrong places. Get serious and see opportunities instead of sticking the head in the sand. So much could be done for the environment if one started to look for opportunities. Wind and solar power and publit transportation are some of those opportunities. In Europe, they have expanded. Why haven’t they in North America? With the oil-spill, declining amount of fossil fuels, climate change, thinning glaciers and disturbed weather, it is time to open our eyes!