My post Live Larger, Drive Smaller from a few days ago has drawn some very thoughtful responses. An anonymous interlocutor charges me with inexcusable vandalism for advocating the bumper sticker idea, and I answer flippantly that SUV ownership is a far more destructive form of vandalism; the stickers are easily justified. However, s/he has a point that vandalism is vandalism and that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Arakasi makes the point that a discussion with the SUV-owning neighbor would be more fruitful than a bumper sticker, and he’s probably right — if it didn’t turn into an argument.
But who’s got the cojones to face what would probably turn out to be an ugly confrontation and one-way passport to a bad relationship with your neighbor? So maybe this fake ticket (PDF) you can put under someone’s windshield is a better solution. It conveys the anti-SUV argument much more cogently than the bumper sticker, does a better job of making the recipient think, and is non-vandalistic.
I find myself becoming more vehemently anti-car with every passing day. In part, I’m sure it’s because I see the way car drivers treat bicyclists every day, like they don’t exist and don’t matter — a car will pull out in front of a bike without a 2nd glance just because they can, because we’re not big enough to run them down. It’s astounding. I find myself resenting cars for destroying the flow of the world, for clogging everything, everywhere. It’s a bit of an overly emotional reaction, I know, but it’s how I feel — that cars are one of our culture’s greatest problems, and I feel frustrated that there seems to be so little recognition of this fact, which seems plain and obvious. Just look around – cars own almost everything you see outdoors in the city.
I used to feel like over-population was the single largest threat to humanity, and that all of our other problems flow from overpopulation. I no longer feel quite that black and white about it – overconsumption and disregard for the shared property of the environment easily contribute as much toward our trajectory down the destructive spiral. Population issues are magnified and exacerbated by irrational consumption.
Switching from a car to an SUV for one year wastes as much energy as leaving your refrigerator door open for six years. As Americans / Westerners, we all consume much more than people in the 2nd and 3rd worlds, and Americans consume much more than Europeans. But what steams me the most is totally avoidable consumption – people who accept bags at the store even when they buy only a few items, people who don’t recycle, people who own SUVs without justification, people who drive when their destination is less than a few miles and they don’t have kids or other things to haul… so much consumption is irrational and totally avoidable.
Dutch archaeologists are uncovering many of the objects seen in Heironymus Bosch’s surreal art.