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Uncategorized30 Aug 2008 10:51 am

Give me some time, I’m thinking.

I am not car-free any longer, again. Does this mean the experiment is over before the summer actually ends? Seems a little hypocritical to continue it under the circumstances.

I look at the car parked in front of my house. It’s bugging me to see it out there. I wasn’t missing it a whole lot.

I’m actually disappointed that it’s back so soon. I’m just getting up a head of steam here.

Driving Four Blocks

An interesting diversion takes my attention away: a friend invites me to lunch and I suggest a local restaurant on Central street, a few blocks away by the Post Office, very, very walkable, I’ve done it so often I cannot count the times. He’s on his way from Chicago, driving.

Driving? Don’t worry, it gets worse. We drive to the restaurant in his car.

There is a backstory here: his mobility is greatly impaired by pain and a spinal condition made worse today by his over-exerting himself over the weekend. He said he might make it to the restaurant walking but would not make it back. I wish there were another way to avoid the car but today is not the day.

Key point: walkable communities depend on your being able to walk to take advantage of them, or at least have prosthetic assistance in the form of wheelchair or walkers. It’s just that using the car to solve every disability movement problem seems like killing a fly with a shotgun. Now I’m thinking about this car challenge instead what to do with my own car, haunting me like a spectre.

I’m stewing about it but have no answer.

I’m also stewing about my own car. Use it? Use it selectively? Call the whole thing off and admit defeat?

No, not that yet. This car-free summer always was about understanding the impact of not having a car. I’ve not yet plumbed the possibilities even for the good weather seasons. There are some things I want to try yet where the car doesn’t figure in.

My wife offers two choices: keep it and use it sparingly or truly get rid of it and call it a day.

I’m thinking about that, too.

An Eco Bull Session

Late tonight, Amanda and I have another bull session catching up like last night. The subject turns to global warming, a topic lost in the current hoo-hah over high gas prices. My own experiment this summer never had anything to do with the rise in gas prices. It was inspired by a combination of our increasing ecology awareness and household economics overall.

But Amanda brings up the very dark topic of global warming feedback loops. In other word, the scenarios in which global warming folds back upon itself, worsening other climactic conditions to the point that there is no recovery. She cites three: loss of polar ice making the earth warm more rapidly once it lacks the reflective snow and ice; interruption of the thermohaline effect that creates the Gulf Stream; and the melting of the Siberian permafrost, which will release enormous amounts of carbon now trapped in the ice.

I’m realizing there is real reason to continue the attempt to go car-free and that one summer is just not enough.

“Now what?” indeed.

Stay tuned.

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