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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-20-08, 07:23 PM   #1
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What else besides car-free?

I'm curious about how you see being car-free or car-light? Is it part of a bigger plan for you?

If so, what else characterizes your life besides being car-free?

For myself, I've been trying to reduce energy consumption since the invasion of Iraq. Not that I've been greatly successful. I'm still using oil at the rate that would scare most Europeans. But, my energy use at home has been reduced to about 1/2 what it was 5 years ago and I'm still looking for ways to conserve.
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Old 08-20-08, 07:40 PM   #2
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I've been a vegetarian for a while. It started out as a general unease about eating animals, but more recently I've become aware of the resource-conservation issues involved in meat vs. vegetable production. I'm also trying to eat local produce as much as I can, although the season for that isn't very long in Ontario.
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Old 08-20-08, 07:50 PM   #3
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I'm curious about how you see being car-free or car-light? Is it part of a bigger plan for you?

If so, what else characterizes your life besides being car-free?

For myself, I've been trying to reduce energy consumption since the invasion of Iraq. Not that I've been greatly successful. I'm still using oil at the rate that would scare most Europeans. But, my energy use at home has been reduced to about 1/2 what it was 5 years ago and I'm still looking for ways to conserve.
Bigger plan...I HATE DRIVING! Not really but I hate unnecessary driving, funny part is I drover 42,000 miles last year that was mostly work related. My personal miles were under 6,000. I have always been conscious of energy and the massive amount of waste generated by the general public in the US. Unfortunately most of it has been foisted off on the consumer by the manufacturers as convenience...for them Along with the crass consumerism and the gotta haves that ends up in the landfill. China is importing their trash to the US one walmart full at a time.

I avoid over packaged foods...like I NEED my corn on the cob shrink wrapped WTF is the husk for Fortunately we grow some of our stuff with more being added every year, we also buy lots of stuff from the local farmers. I only buy foods in glass or metal containers, they can be 100% recycled and are more likely to be recycled than most plastics. We buy our meat from a butcher, they wrap it in...paper! Which can be burned. Veggie kitchen scraps hit the compost barrel to get added to the garden later in the year.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Also if it isn't eatable, or medically necessary don't buy it...(bicycles are medically necessary)

Aaron
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Old 08-20-08, 08:08 PM   #4
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Damn! I love to go car free but living in a rural town in rural county
means I gotta keep my vehicles.

It's a nice place to live mind you but if I need medical attention of any
kind it's a 50 mi drive. If I need supplies of anything I can't get off the
net it's either a 50 mi or 30 mi drive .

And we used to have rail to ride to go to the doctors and shopping.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 08-20-08, 10:56 PM   #5
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Going car-free, for me, was part of a larger effort. I wanted to live in a way that that was more sustainable over the long term, and I have to say I haven't been very successful.

Getting rid of the car was easy, and has actually made my life far more enjoyable, less expensive, and less stressful, but that's only because I live in an urban area with fairly high density and a culture that tolerates that sort of thing. If I lived in a rural area, I couldn't be car free for purely practical reasons, and if I lived in southern CA or Atlanta, I'd still be car-free, but I'd pay a huge price socially for that decision.

In other areas of life, my efforts to produce less of a footprint have met with limited success. I live in a modest house, and use very little electricity to heat and light it, compared to most North Americans (my power bill is about $20/month), but it's still a very luxurious, even excessive, lifestyle by third world standards. I have a really nice computer with wireless, and I don't hesitate to replace it every two years, to keep up with improvements in software. I spend a lot on bikes, and I can't seem to live without a cell phone. I tried to go vegetarian, for climate-related reasons, and failed miserably; despite my best efforts, I still eat meat or eggs three or four times a week, dairy products daily, and don't see myself ever changing unless it becomes a prohibitively expensive luxury. For whatever reason, I just love love eating birds, fish, milk and cheese, it's like heroin or something.

Looking at the big picture, I'm not at all hopeful. The world's human population is getting larger by the minute, and large segments of it are getting richer, and, being what we are, people, once we can afford it, tend to consume everything in our path voraciously, just like any other lifeform. Given the limits of our environment, we really should have put the brakes on decades ago, but that clearly hasn't happened, so now, at this point, I'm afraid that in a couple of decades, maybe a lot less, nature will slam on the brakes for us.

I guess what this means, for us, is to simply get on our bikes, do what we can, and enjoy the ride.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:35 PM   #6
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TV free, baby. I can waste time far more productively on the internet.
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Old 08-21-08, 12:00 AM   #7
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For the past several years, I've been working to create a modest, low-maintenance and low-cost lifestyle for myself. It's not about being free of anything in particular but about keeping things in balance. I'm car-light, not car-free. I'm not vegan or vegetarian but I don't eat much meat. I try to avoid processed or heavily packaged foods, preferring to preserve local fruits and vegetables myself. I don't watch cable or broadcast television although I'll rent a movie occasionally. I avoid frivolous purchases and work at saving my money.

I find my lifestyle satisfying and comfortable. I might not have every visible sign of success by North American standards but I've got all I need and more.
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Old 08-21-08, 03:30 AM   #8
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For the past several years, I've been working to create a modest, low-maintenance and low-cost lifestyle for myself. It's not about being free of anything in particular but about keeping things in balance. I'm car-light, not car-free. I'm not vegan or vegetarian but I don't eat much meat. I try to avoid processed or heavily packaged foods, preferring to preserve local fruits and vegetables myself. I don't watch cable or broadcast television although I'll rent a movie occasionally. I avoid frivolous purchases and work at saving my money.

I find my lifestyle satisfying and comfortable. I might not have every visible sign of success by North American standards but I've got all I need and more.
That is it in a nutshell...no need to keep up with the Joneses. I have always been the odd guy on the block, always drove an older car, always fixing things myself, riding a bicycle, having the windows open on a cool summer's evening (instead of running the A/C) Now I own the block so I can do what I want And I think I am a lot better off than the Joneses

Aaron
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Last edited by wahoonc; 08-22-08 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 08-21-08, 09:05 AM   #9
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I'm definitely car light, not car free. Just not practical to be completely car free where I live.

My reasons are somewhat altruistic, somewhat economical, and somewhat practical. I was feeling guilty about driving so much (35 miles round trip to work) so I started thinking (for a year or two!) about taking the bus. This year we really "need" to replace one of our cars (has 210,000 miles) so I started thinking even more about commuting by bus so I wouldn't have to buy a new car. Lastly, I've been riding 20 miles or so before work (triathlon training) two or three times early am, then driving to work. It finally dawned on me that I should commute by bike and bike/bus! Oddly enough, gas prices hasn't been a major reason for me to go car light...

On the weekends my driving is minimal. Mainly I'll drive when I have to do things more than five miles away or so, or have to haul bigger stuff (think Home Depot). I'll also drive for family activities since I can't force my wife and daughter to ride with me everywhere. I had to drive to work the other day and I really felt guilty!

Brian
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Old 08-21-08, 09:28 AM   #10
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Car lite.

I work from home as much as I can.
All the lights are CF or LED, fans and open windows rather than AC, hang dry my clothes.

The biggest way we keep our carbon foot print small is our food.
Family vegetable garden, and some fruit bearing trees and shrubs (blueberries, peaches, apples, pears, plumbs, etc) help to keep grocery runs down. Also use the pressure cooker and can my own chili, soups, stews, etc. Get my chickens and eggs from my next door neighbor, and the freezer is stocked with meat from another neighbor's farm. And lastly we have a small pond that provides supper about once a week.
All total I'd say 70% of our food is produced and processed within five miles of my home.
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Old 08-21-08, 10:32 AM   #11
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I so love this forum. I recently had to cram all the outside stuf into my house for a storm. No I know its tme to donate stuff.
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Old 08-21-08, 05:47 PM   #12
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Hmmm... Let's see.

Car-free
TV-free
A/C-free
Cellphone-free
Drug-free (prescription, non-prescription and recreational)
Caffeine-free
Debt-free
Credit-card free
...
I'm sure there are more.

I'm afraid to leave the country in case Homeland Security finds out, thinks I'm un-American and refuses me re-entry!
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Old 08-21-08, 08:57 PM   #13
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I so love this forum. I recently had to cram all the outside stuf into my house for a storm. No I know its tme to donate stuff.
One of the side effects of using a bike for transportation is that you get a different perspective on needs and minimalism. And I'm bitten by this bug too. Why have 10 shirts in the closet when you only need 2? Why keep an inventory of CDs or books or whatever if you aren't going to use them??

They only exception to this rule seems to be: you can never have too many bikes

(Although that may turn out to be a fallacy too...)
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Old 08-21-08, 11:29 PM   #14
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Car lite.

I work from home as much as I can.
All the lights are CF or LED, fans and open windows rather than AC, hang dry my clothes.

The biggest way we keep our carbon foot print small is our food.
Family vegetable garden, and some fruit bearing trees and shrubs (blueberries, peaches, apples, pears, plumbs, etc) help to keep grocery runs down. Also use the pressure cooker and can my own chili, soups, stews, etc. Get my chickens and eggs from my next door neighbor, and the freezer is stocked with meat from another neighbor's farm. And lastly we have a small pond that provides supper about once a week.
All total I'd say 70% of our food is produced and processed within five miles of my home.
You rock.
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Old 08-21-08, 11:46 PM   #15
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They only exception to this rule seems to be: you can never have too many bikes

(Although that may turn out to be a fallacy too...)
I'm pretty sure few people will agree with me on this one, but, yes, it is a fallacy that "you can never have too many bikes." Like pants, you can only use one bike at a time, so why have a whole garage full? I can see maybe having two, you know, one for nice weather, one for snow -sort of like having winter shoes- but any more than three, and you're a collector. Personally, I have one. When I got my new touring bike a few months ago, I considered keeping the old hybrid as a winter bike, but I enjoyed the new bike so much, I soon realized that it was the only bike I wanted to ride, regardless of the weather. I get used to one bike, and the way it fits and rides, and I don't like to mess with something that works well for me. Like other areas of my life, when it comes to bikes, I'm ridiculously monogamous.
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Old 08-22-08, 12:29 AM   #16
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Car-free and straight edge, though I don't box in my life around some ideals of how to live outside no car, drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. Also I try to keep the caffeine to a minimum, butttt...

Certainly not veg. I love meat.
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Old 08-22-08, 09:09 AM   #17
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Hmmm... Let's see.

Car-free
TV-free
A/C-free
Cellphone-free
Drug-free (prescription, non-prescription and recreational)
Caffeine-free
Debt-free
Credit-card free
...
I'm sure there are more.

I'm afraid to leave the country in case Homeland Security finds out, thinks I'm un-American and refuses me re-entry!
Wow, that's quite a bit of modern stuff you're doing without there. Cool. =)

Cars, debt, drugs, and caffeine I can definitely do without. Watching television is definitely something I can do without, but I'll always have a tv set with plenty of movies to watch and video games to play. I see to harm in owning a cell phone, and in fact I like having one. I like having a credit card, gives me something to do. Can't live without the internet. And lastly, I'll never go without A/C. During the hot months of the year I can't sleep without A/C. I need to be cold to sleep comfortably.
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Old 08-22-08, 10:49 AM   #18
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Like other areas of my life, when it comes to bikes, I'm ridiculously monogamous.
Yup. Every now and then I think of getting a singlespeed or drop bar road bike to use as an alternative to the Coda, or a Walmart mountain bike for winter riding, but I haven't been able to justify it. Especially when I got my Jamis just earlier this month, and it cost my parents a pretty penny. I also saw another laptop for sale for a cheap price, and considered getting it as a backup to the one I'm typing on, but again, it wouldn't be something I needed as much as something I wanted. And unless my bike is stolen or my computer broken, I can live with one, and not two, of each.
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Old 01-28-14, 05:07 AM   #19
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I'm curious about how you see being car-free or car-light? Is it part of a bigger plan for you?

If so, what else characterizes your life besides being car-free?
Being fit.

One of the main reasons I am car light is because it gives me an opportunity to exercise more.


And there's an element of fun and adventure in there too ... being car free for many years meant that I had the money for travel to other parts of the world. Close to home, being car light or car free has encouraged me to explore my local area. It can be a bit of an adventure to see where this road leads and that road goes, and the lengthen my cycling distances to go further afield.
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Old 01-28-14, 06:33 AM   #20
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I'm curious about how you see being car-free or car-light? Is it part of a bigger plan for you?

If so, what else characterizes your life besides being car-free?

For myself, I've been trying to reduce energy consumption since the invasion of Iraq. Not that I've been greatly successful. I'm still using oil at the rate that would scare most Europeans. But, my energy use at home has been reduced to about 1/2 what it was 5 years ago and I'm still looking for ways to conserve.
Wow! How things have changed around here! Almost all of the seventeen replies you got in '08 mentioned what folks were doing to reduce their energy consumption and live more sustainable, planet-friendly lives, while there were no wacky climate-denial posts, no one's sincerity was questioned, and nobody was branded as smug.

Thanks to Machka for bringing this thread back to life. It's a real eye-opener.
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Old 01-28-14, 10:12 AM   #21
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Wow! How things have changed around here! Almost all of the seventeen replies you got in '08 mentioned what folks were doing to reduce their energy consumption and live more sustainable, planet-friendly lives, while there were no wacky climate-denial posts, no one's sincerity was questioned, and nobody was branded as smug.

Thanks to Machka for bringing this thread back to life. It's a real eye-opener.
All the posters' responses stated what they were personally doing, and their own goals or rationale for their own behavior, without any smug proselytizing about why anybody/everybody else should be doing the same.
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Old 01-28-14, 10:13 AM   #22
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I'm not fully car free but I am slowly inching my way towards being off the grid and not for doomsday reasons.
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Old 01-28-14, 04:10 PM   #23
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All the posters' responses stated what they were personally doing, and their own goals or rationale for their own behavior, without any smug proselytizing about why anybody/everybody else should be doing the same.
So you're proselytizing that anybody/everybody should be smug-free?
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Old 01-28-14, 05:45 PM   #24
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So you're proselytizing that anybody/everybody should be smug-free?

Smug happens.
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Old 01-28-14, 07:33 PM   #25
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One of the side effects of using a bike for transportation is that you get a different perspective on needs and minimalism. And I'm bitten by this bug too. Why have 10 shirts in the closet when you only need 2? Why keep an inventory of CDs or books or whatever if you aren't going to use them??

They only exception to this rule seems to be: you can never have too many bikes

(Although that may turn out to be a fallacy too...)
I get this perspective and have lived this way for periods of time. I lived off $5000.00 in 1996. I was realy proud of that. Now I like to think of that minimalist phase as a really experimental and exciting time of my life. It was awesome.

Things have changed..

I am absolutely a materialist. I like having 10 shirts because I like to vary how I present myself in all aspects of my life. Books, music dvd's (my newest love), cooking tools including odds and ends I won't always use and furniture. I like having things, it really makes me comfortable. Oh yeah, I have two operable bikes and one that I'm fixing up. 3 computers and some other toys. I can't wait to inherit my dad's tool box full of tools.

I'm writing this because I like the contrast of our experience and respect our differences. I'm car lite but I'll get a moving truck. Being able to use a bike as often as possible is a big part of my life.
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