Twelve Years Car Free
Today, Peggy and I celebrate 12 years of automobile non-ownership.
12 years of reducing our personal carbon footprints by almost 13,000 pounds of CO2 each year, for a total of over 150,000 pounds.
12 years of not blowing the putrid stench of our exhaust into the faces and lungs of pedestrians and bicyclists.
12 years of not buying expensive gasoline refined from oil which innocent people are killed over.
12 years of not paying gasoline taxes for habitat destroying road construction.
12 years of not wasting money on tires and car maintenance
12 years of not paying for car insurance.
12 years of not contributing to gridlock.
12 years of healthful exercise derived from walking and bicycling instead of sitting in cars.
12 years of withholding financial support for the destructive biosphere-polluting automobile and oil industries.
12 years of a greatly reduced responsibility for the substantial numbers of living creatures being sacrificed along our highways as roadkill; squirrels, rabbits, deer, birds, honeybees, butterflies, and all the rest.
12 years of conserving what's left of our dwindling oil supplies as the world reaches peak-oil production and economic decline.
12 years of practical experience getting ourselves around on foot, and, with bicycles fitted with utility trailers.
The above are only twelve of countless reasons we celebrate our decision to live without an automobile. To read more about our commitment to being car-free, read our 10th Anniversary post here.
The Chevrolet pictured above appears to be a 1941 Special DeLuxe Sport Sedan fitted with a 1940 Master Deluxe hood that has no way of ever closing properly because of the '41 grille re-design. This was a "wildly popular" best selling car in America in 1941. I especially like the improvised 2x4 wood bumper brackets on this one, with plumbers tape holding the bumper on. The car is a prop out in front of a roadside-Americana auto-themed restaurant in old-town Victorville, along a ragged stretch of what's left of the fabled Route 66, The Mother Road.
I know a lot about cars, the older ones that is. Like most boys of my era, I grew up infatuated with them, totally immersed in the stylish, sexy, hot-rod auto-culture of the 1950s. I could name just about every make, year, and model up through the 1960s. I rebuilt my own engines, repaired transmissions, did my own brake jobs, carburetor rebuilds, and tune-ups. I did auto-body work, and, for awhile, made my living taking apart wrecks and putting them back together, but that was a long time ago. My love affair with automobiles, except as post-industrial artifacts, has been over for many years.
That old Chevy is the style of car that populated the world I was born into. A giddy post-war world of about 2.25 billion people. A world full of promise with a bright shiny future being created for us by the folks at GM ("See The USA, In Your Chevrolet"), General Electric ("Live Better, Electrically"), and DuPont ("Better Living Through Chemistry").
Yeah, the old slogans still echo fresh in my mind, 60 years later, as our gridlocked auto-infrastructure devours more & more tax dollars while it crumbles into disrepair, as our antiquated overburdened coal-fired, gas-powered, uranium fed, hydro-electric charged (as in dammed rivers, or should I say ruined rivers?) electricity grid crashes on a regular basis, leaving millions without power for weeks on end, and our water, air, and food become evermore contaminated with the wonders of modern chemistry.
But, not to worry, the same folks are bringing us new technologies to remedy the incredible destruction caused by the previous ones, and some of them are already on the market, if we'll only start buying into them.
Soon, much of America's remaining open land will be slathered over with whirring aluminum & plastic windmills generating "clean" electricity, while killing birds along their migratory flyways, and destroying expansive scenic vistas (been to Palm Springs lately?).
We'll have mile upon mile of photovoltaic panels glaring in the sun from the surface of former Southwest desert wildlife habitat, all fenced in by chain-link and barbed wire to protect the crap from vandals and terrorists, all of it strip-mined & manufactured from the dwindling resources the world is now at war over, so we humans can continue to power our empire of destruction.
Yes, clean energy is coming folks, and zero emissions electric cars, so we can all have a clear conscience as we sit in the midst of our oppressive mind-numbing gridlocked bureaucratic crime-ridden war-ravaged nightmarish consumer-driven industrial civilization steeped in bankrupt ideology, failed technologies, and moral irresponsibility.
I've been listening to the salesmen of Capitalism and growth for 63 years now and the only thing that changes is the label on the cure-all snake oil bottle.
It's too late to patch all the monstrous holes in this Titanic and there's 5 billion too many of us to fit in the lifeboats.
It's way past time that we face the gravity of our predicament with the appropriate humility and show compassion for one another as the world we know disintegrates around us. We're all in this together, there's no one to blame but ourselves.
It's not the Muslims, the Jews, or the Palestinians, not the Christians, or the Pagans, the Gays, Lesbians, or Homophobes, and it's not the Democrats, Republicans, Commies, or Anarchists.
It's not even God, or Satan!
And, it's just the way things happened, we're the victims of our own success.
We achieved too much too fast without soon enough gaining sufficient insight into the destructive consequences of our extraordinary power to alter and overpopulate the natural world we depend upon.
A world of 6.5 billion people, all scrambling for precious resources, is now reaching Peak Everything and we're not at all prepared for the downside of the curve.
So, hang on friends, and hold each other close in your hearts, because our great super-highway is fast becoming a very difficult and bumpy little trail to an extremely different future.
I played with my photo of the '41 Chevy in Photoshop, feathering the image with an oval mask, adding poster edge effects from the Artistic menu in the filters tools, and then slightly increasing the color saturation with the Image, Adjustments tool.