Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Gas Reflections

In conversation with my mom recently, she lamented that she is not able to come and visit more often; not only does she have a busy work schedule, but now that gas prices are so high it is necessary to cut back on driving. I sympathized, but couldn't resist (as a sometimes-obnoxious carless person) a comment about how the market is forcing us into change now, that rising gas prices were going to kill the (fossil-fueled) car and change society as we know it in North America.

I said all this with a certain amount of glee, but then felt bad once my mom wailed in response, "it's not my fault that my family is spread all over the country!" Nor is it her fault that North American values and culture has created a situation that is unsustainable, but it is people like my mom (and just about everyone else I know) who are going to be feeling the crunch as things start to change. It is unfortunate.

Recently, Tim and I came across an interesting radio show on people who seem to have anticipated the change needed and have responded dramatically, changing not only how they live their lives, but how various infrastructures work in their communities. The show was a podcast of CBC's Quirks and Quarks, a science show for the masses. In it, host Bob McDonald "look[s] at 6 communities around the world that are trying to become carbon neutral. Featured are: Samso, Denmark; EcoVillage at Ithaca; Freiburg, Germany; Sherford, UK;Greensburg, KS; Dongtan, China."

Download and be inspired! We need to keep our eyes on people and projects like these in order to remain hopeful. The greatest burden during this transition period will be on regular people and such change could quickly become overwhelming. It's nice to know that there are those out there who are making small but significant steps that others could (eventually) follow.

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