Tuesday, 17 September 2013

RSAJ - Hypermobility

This week, for my Urban Transportation class, we read “Hypermobility: too much of a good thing?” by John Adams.  It is a very interesting read, taking a critical look at the direction in which societies, particularly develop(ed/ing) ones, are going in terms of mobility.  Much of the article can be related to WaPreG’s work and our various related interests.

Transportation in various forms can be wasteful, particularly if not done for necessity.  We all take part in wasteful travel.  What we need to do is to think about the form of transportation we are about to use and it's various impacts; environmental, social, health, etc.  In the article, Adams brings up three questions, which he calls opinion polls.
1 - Would you like a car, unlimited air miles and Bill Gate’s level of access to all the electronic modes of travel?
2 - Would you like to live in the sort of world that would result if everyone’s wish were granted?  Rephrased - would you like to live in a dangerous, ugly, bleak, crime-ridden, alienated, anonymous, undemocratic, socially polarized, fume-filled greenhouse threatened by terrorism without precedent?
3 - Would you like to live in a cleaner, safer, healthier, friendlier, more beautiful, more democratic, sustainable world in which you know your neighbours and it is safe for your children to play in the street?
These opinion polls inspired me as I read and further when I continued to read.  Answer each one in your head.  Do your answers change for each question?  For many, the answers will not be the same.  The reason is the way they are phrased; look at each one carefully and ask yourself why your answers did or did not change.  Now, when you picture the future of the earth, what is it that you see?  Do any of the opinion polls hint at what you see?  Is that what you want to see in the future?  If not, which opinion poll would you rather see?

As an example, here are my answers:
1 - I do not want a car or unlimited air miles, however the electronic modes of travel sound better to me.
2 - There is no way I want to live in this kind of world.
3 - Of course I would.
Keep in mind that my answers are influenced by an education in environmental and social justice issues.  I love walking and feel much more free with my bicycle than with an automobile.  I do drive on occasion and in my opinion, it is not as great as many drivers try to convince me that it is.  While I am a product of the world I live in, I do not understand how so many people can live a life of greed, ignoring all consequences.  The world described in question two is just what I picture in our future if people do not take a critical look at how they are living, how it impacts the planet and future generations, and make changes.  I am doing what I can to live in the world described in question three.  Not only with WaPreG, but also in my personal and academic life.

If more people looked at the consequences of their actions before acting, we would not have to react to these consequences, as they would not happen.  People are not innately bad people, nor do people seek to blindly cause environmental and social devastation.  The problem is the encouraged levels of ignorance on such vital issues.  We can make a change if we only look at every one of our actions and no matter how small a difference it makes, we must always choose the most ethical choice.

As a reader of WaPreG, you likely are making changes or would like to.  What are some hurdles and successes you have come accros along the way?

Adams, J. (2001). Hypermobility: too much of a good thing? The RSA Journal. (http://john-adams.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2006/hypermobilityforRSA.pdf)

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