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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #250 - ecology: Transport: Getting out of the car (fr, it, pt) [machine translation] civilization

Date Wed, 10 Jun 2015 13:31:09 +0300

The private car is at the heart of our modern societies. It has become the main means of transport, and now largely determines our industrial organization, commercial, social. But it is also the center of the current ecological crisis. ---- Mass production of automobiles from the early twentieth century, made possible thanks to technical progress (combustion engine, assembly lines, mining) and the oil flowing in streams, has increased steadily since then and the world now has more than 1 billion vehicles on the road. ---- Offering freedom, ease and speed of travel, the car accompanied the great social changes of the last century, such as distance between workplace and home, the development of residential areas, the concentration of commercial activities in peripheral areas of cities , or the creation of huge industrial production areas, with their social struggles and economic disasters (Detroit city in the United States, Seguin Island in Paris).

Gradually, the car has become essential for the majority of the population, with the exception of residents and inhabitants of city centers sometimes have other means of transport (cycling, public transport). And great marketing reinforcement, it even became a symbol of individual identity, everyone can express their personality in choosing the make, model, color ... This is the absolute triumph of the consumer society Mass: transform a tool (travel) instrument of personal expression.

Resource intensive and time

In his thundering boom, the automotive industry has led to the development of many sectors, with their share of social conflicts, environmental disasters and imperialist relations. Rubber for the tires (with the genocide of Congolese and native Amazonian forests to exploit rubber), oil for gasoline and its derived plastics (wars in the Middle East, oil spills), metals to the body (and social struggles mining accidents), glass for windows, and now electronic.

In France, the car is thus the third natural resource consumption station, behind the construction and packaging, with about 20% of the total consumption of aluminum and steel, and 10% of that of plastics. This not to mention the construction of roads, parking lots, oil infrastructure, etc.

The car is also, directly or indirectly, one of the main current polluters. By noise, the emission of fine particles causing asthma, allergies and cancers, and CO2 emissions contributing to climate warming. Indirectly through the impact of all the above industries related to it, by the massive asphalting and fragmentation of natural areas, pollution discharges and breakages. But the car is more a notorious assassin, with approximately 1.3 million deaths per year by accident in the world, and 20 to 50 million injured-es.

At a time of global ecological crisis, it appears urgent to drastically reduce the use of cars in our daily lives. And that one does not come we promise "clean" cars, because it consumes resources to build a car regardless of its fuel, and it is still no power perfectly "green" (or agrofuels or renouvelables1, not to mention nuclear ...).

How one would do without a car?

If we removed the car, we already gain in free time. Philippe Bihouix in Age Low Tech, believes that the activities of some way to the car represent between 30% and 40% of French GDP (construction and maintenance, extraction and processing of raw materials, infrastructure, government, medical, signage, cleaning blackened facades, etc.).

So without a car, we could remove much of these activities, take the opportunity to redistribute and reduce working time. And we reorient transport to a lighter system for society and the environment, based mainly on public transit, cycling and motorized two-wheelers.

Continue to dream and think about the cities cleared of cars. Keep some space for trams, bicycles, buses, even when it would release vast areas to develop urban agriculture and more user-friendly public spaces. And just as quickly it would move, since the average speed of cars in Paris today is 13 km / h, barely faster than a bike! Imagine also the villages develop new local services and local circuits of production and distribution, which are currently concentrated in shopping centers or cities, accessible by car.

Social reorganization

Of course there is no question for the moment to pass completely from the car. We are too used es the opportunities it offers, and the establishment of an alternative transportation system and changing the economic and social fabric, based for now on the car, take time.

Even in the future, it will surely be necessary to keep motor vehicles for some public services (ambulances, fire), for deliveries, or even for private travel in poorly equipped areas with other means of transport. But these vehicles could be different today, designed and operated so as to save resources and energy. Smaller, simpler, slower, durable, repairable and standardized, shared within consumer groups. Many possibilities exist, but require a social and economic reorganization totally opposed to the capitalist logic.

Jocelyn (AL Gard)

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