Thursday, November 05, 2009

Quote of the Day

A good illustration why international cooperation on climate change is so challenging:

Current American attempts to persuade China to emit less carbon, are, as one distingushed economist put it, akin to a “nation of SUV drivers trying to tell a nation of bicyclists not to drive mopeds.’’ To have any global credibility, the United States must stop enacting new policies that encourage SUV lifestyles.

This was an excerpt from a discussion of how the home buyer's tax credit encourages suburban sprawl. The suburbs are a great place to raise a family, there is no denying that. Even so, I have a perhaps idealized vision in my head of what it is like to live in a high-density urban area. Basically what it comes down to is that I hate driving cars and I hate sitting in traffic even more. I want to be able to walk to the places I need to go, and for those that I can't walk to I want to be able to sit on a subway. Its simply not possible to do those sorts of things in a city like Indianapolis, which is extremely sparse as cities go, which means it is basically impossible to get anywhere without a car.

I am really a very anti-car person. I think they affect Americans in all sorts of negative ways that are very under appreciated. I was in Amsterdam in May, and it was super relaxing, and most of the locals struck me as very relaxed, calm people. Marijuana jokes aside, the people in Amsterdam ride their bikes or walk everywhere. They are never sitting in a car or stuck in traffic. So of course they aren't stressed! And when driving somewhere, it is purely lost time or even negative time, as nothing else of substance can be accomplished and it isn't particularly relaxing. I would almost relish riding a subway for 30 minutes every day, where I could relax and read my weekly Economist, listen to music and sip on my coffee, ignoring everything around me. Maybe I just don't have an appreciation for what it is like to sit in a crowded subway car, but the prospect of having an efficient, fast public transit system that allows me to avoid driving a car is a major factor that will decide where I want to live in the future.

The other problem could be that I don't have an especially nice car, but that isn't likely to change for another decade or more =).

No comments: