I was just in Istanbul, and I am wondering if our efforts in the so called developed countries are really going to change the world. Turkey is a rapidly developing economy, and guess what all of these upwardly mobile people want? Cars. Istanbul is in a state of permanent grid lock, yet no one would think of cycling or walking in much of the city. In ten days, I counted 37 cyclists. I see that number in a few minutes in the provincial French town I am visiting. I think the same situatuion exists in many cities in the world. For many people in the newly affluent, or at least no longer poor societies, the automobile is a sign of status; a statement that they are moving up. They are like Americans eighty years ago. The environmental consequences of their driving are far from their minds.
One of the reasons people in Amsterdam or Copenhgen ride their bikes might be that both the Netherlands and Denmark are societies where extremes of wealth and poverty don't exist so that people aren't worried about status. But there are a billion people who dream of getting a car.
David Byrne made the same observation about Istanbul in his book "Bicycle Diaries", so maybe my observations aren't original.
We pretty much have an unintentional street Occupy Movement in one section of our city, with thousands of persons gathering for a few hours at a once a month event. With so many people moving around on sidewalks, street corners, and in the streets themselves, only a handful of unwitting motorists will now venture into the mix during that time frame.
Man, how much I dream of moving out of the US as I don't like cars and I hate traveling in interstate highways. But that's something I'll have to deal with when traveling to different cities with my parents like when I go to Disney. I once found myself scared when traveling in an interstate in Orlando with a high-volume traffic.
And yet I don't exercise that much lately.
I really don't want to give away the whole story of why I recently hate cars, but other than that, I do love the video.