More than half provoked by the recent car-related death of the mom of one of the sweetest, geekiest girls I've ever met, this blog is dedicated to my hatred of cars. However, I'm not going to list off a bunch of reasons you may or not agree with. I'm also not going to try and convince you to stop driving a car (although SUVs are a different matter). What I will do is explain my top 5 reasons why I do not like cars.
1) They encourage unsustainable lifestyles
With the daily use of cars major changes occurred in the average American's lifestyle. Add plastics to the mix and you've got a recipe for disposables that lead us right where we are today: facing down the biggest crisis mankind's ever been aware of. We have too much waste, too little food, too little oxygen, too few plants, and very little time. There are a lot of easy choices that anyone could make any day of the week to deal with this problem, even in small ways. Our indoctrination into a way of life powered by instant mobility and instant gratification is one that cars make possible, even though it's obviously not good for us.
2) Car-related fatalities are excessive
According to the 1999 National Transportation Safety Board's Report to Congress:
Each year highway accidents take tens of thousands of lives and cost the Nation billions of dollars in lost productivity and property damage. In 1999, approximately 41,611 people were killed and 3,200,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. The human and economic costs are staggering, costing about $137 billion in medical costs and property damage losses. That equates to about $375 million each day lost on highway crashes.$375 million every single day! Even if you don't care about the deaths of strangers (which is hard to do [see reason 3 below]), think of all the money in taxes it is costing you EVERY DAY to support a system "driven" on automobiles.
3) Cars are driven by people
While a lot has been said -- some even intelligently -- about the Grand Theft Auto franchise, I find the players' fascination with reckless driving to be the most telling. I don't mean to imply that GTA encourages bad driving. It does, however, bring up a pertinent point about how drivers interact with one another. The violence inherent in GTA never really bothers anyone because no one cares about the death of a non-person. Unfortunately, this lack of concern stretches into RL too, and has been since long before the PS2 was ever even a gleam in a programmer's eye.
One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic. - Joseph StalinUnfortunately, Stalin had it right. But it's not just the deaths of strangers that don't matter to us, it's also pretty much everything else about them. All other drivers are outside our Monkeysphere and there's very little one can do to change that. No one driver will ever car about safety for others like s/he should, which means people will continue to do stupid and dangerous things and die or cause the deaths of others. If driving continues to be treated as something we're entitled to rather than a responsibility it will be mishandled and accidents will happen.
4) More wheels = less walking
Think just a minute about the green spaces around you. Is there a park nearby? Do you have a backyard? For several years I lived in places where it made no sense to go outdoors to be in nature because everything was so over developed. When people can't even find a place to sit beneath a tree for a while undisturbed by others, I think that's a problem. And, granted, I don't think everyone shares my joy of sitting around in the woods, but green spaces do more for us than you'd think... Including the increasing property values and drawing new business/tourism, which is good for everyone in the community.
5) Cars use oil
3,633 American troops, and a minimum of 67,945 Iraqi civilians have died since Congress rolled over and let Bush declare war in Iraq. While you can debate the pros and cons til your eyes fall out, it won't change the fact that we're in Iraq for the oil. And if you are driving a car then you are supporting the war. It's that simple. Is driving your car really worth buying into the death and destruction that we are leveling against an entire nation?