Road Sharing, Taking Back the Streets

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I really have to take some time to talk about what is in my opinion, the only environmental issue that really matters. The issue that is the root cause of nearly all of our environmental and public health problems across the world. Yes, it’s CAR CULTURE!!!

Nine of the ten largest corporations on our planet are either oil/energy companies or auto manufacturers. The other one, which is sitting at number two behind Royal Dutch Shell, is Walmart, which is where you drive to in your car you just filled up with gasoline to go to in order to buy things to fill up your house. There is an incoceivably massive amount of power behind these corporations. They invest billions selling consumer/dominator/car (whatever you want to call it) culture to consumers, and are recording record profit even in times of worldwide economic despair. It’s pretty obvious that car culture was invented by corporations for the engineering of their own profit at the expense of other living things and deepening the dominator culture that exists because of the monumental chasm of ignorance and disconnect that has been inserted between consumers and the realities of industrial production. The other industries that are intimately associated with car culture are also recording record profits since 2008; especially fast food, pharmaceuticals, and banks. If you want more examples or evidence of this, send me a message.

Citizens join the Walk for WOK (Writ of Kalikasan) to support the Road Sharing Movement in Manila, Philippines.

Citizens join the Walk for WOK (Writ of Kalikasan) to support the Road Sharing Movement in Manila, Philippines.

There is now a serious movement in Manila to release the grip that car culture has on the city. The car culture is much different here, than in the United States because only two percent of Filipinos own vehicles, compared to 89% in the United States. Far fewer people actually depend on car culture in the Philippines, but just as many people buy into it. Most people use public or shared transportation conveyances in Manila, jeepneys, shared taxis, taxis, and tricycles. The roads in Manila are not designed for the extremely heavy use they get. It is generally extremely unsafe to walk or ride a bicycle in Manila because there is little infrastructure that is dedicated for those methods of transportation. Bad air quality along main streets and the heat also make people unwilling to walk or cycle.

I urge anyone, not just Filipinos, to think about the lifestyle benefits that would come from allocating more of the roads to bicycle and pedestrian traffic. This isn’t about painting lines and slogans on the streets and sidewalks. This is about actually participating in a shedding of the de facto car culture. Manila is a densely populated city, so this cultural transformation, if anything, makes MORE sense here than in most of the other larger cities in the world. ¬†Lack of exercise and bad air quality are contributing to many of the health issues that people are experiencing in the Philippines.

The cities of the present must be designed more thoughtfully and take into account what we now understand about the requirements for sustainable human life. People are discovering the errors of the unchecked globalized industrial models of the past and a technological revolution is being awakened that combines “archaic” values and a democratic technic. This is about retraining ourselves about how we can have civilization without dependence on profit, greed, car culture, or on oil period. It’s all about what actually happens on the streets, not what we talk about on the internet.

There is no new information involved here. The information has been consciously and intentionally suppressed by those who stand to profit from its suppression. I realize the irony, and you could even argue hypocrisy, of me using a computer and the internet, which both implements of globalization that require electricity, to make this argument, but we are going to have to figure out how to de-globalize our technology systems to be more sustainable. We just have to actually do it. We already know how to do it. It’s not impossible. I really urge people to give this movement a shot and see what it can do for their lives. The benefits outweigh the sacrifices.

Start small. Be thoughtful. Be intentional.

Larry Maurin

Larry Maurin

Larry is an Environmental Scientist and an avid birder with years of experience in forest and stream ecology, restoration, and monitoring. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Asia (Watershed Management and Rehabilitation Project in Marikina City, Philippines) and Africa (Ikelenge, Zambia). Larry holds a Permaculture Design Certificate and works full-time at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco, California.
Larry Maurin

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