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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 03-16-09, 02:46 PM   #1
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Economy better, I'm not happy

I hope this economic turn down lasts awhile. Most people I know were always trying to keep up with others and not thinking about what they were doing. I'll not happy about people losing their jobs or homes but hope this last long enough to affect their mindset. I was one who lost a job and it hasn't been easy but we prepared for a time like this. People just need to learn to enjoy life instead of trying to buy happiness.
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Old 03-16-09, 03:09 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I want it to last, but I do want it to make people think again about buying needless rubbish, perhaps being nice to each other and generally appreciated the world and nature instead of destroying everything. It has certainly changed my mind about buying crap.
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Old 03-16-09, 03:17 PM   #3
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I struggle with this question.

I do most certainly think that we need to fundamentally address lots of life issues: how we play, work, live, move, and (ultimately) consume. And it is true that nothing forces us to face up to such questions so abruptly as hardship. I will even grant that some good things can come from a severe economic hardship.

However, I have two reasons for not wishing this on us. First, out of solidarity with my fellow humans, I do not want them to be hurt by this. Second, I suspect that forced change is far less effective than intentional change. Go ahead and call me naive (and my own thoughts about this are why I struggle about it), but I really think that we will not change our ways until we simply open our minds to what needs to be done. We have to want to change. Being forced to change will make us squirm and resist and do other horrible things instead.

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Old 03-16-09, 03:50 PM   #4
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I struggle with this question.

I do most certainly think that we need to fundamentally address lots of life issues: how we play, work, live, move, and (ultimately) consume. And it is true that nothing forces us to face up to such questions so abruptly as hardship. I will even grant that some good things can come from a severe economic hardship.

However, I have two reasons for not wishing this on us. First, out of solidarity with my fellow humans, I do not want them to be hurt by this. Second, I suspect that forced change is far less effective than intentional change. Go ahead and call me naive (and my own thoughts about this are why I struggle about it), but I really think that we will not change our ways until we simply open our minds to what needs to be done. We have to want to change. Being forced to change will make us squirm and resist and do other horrible things instead.

j
I agree. In the 70s were faced with a manufactured fuel shortage and the solutions were gas lines and odd or een gas days. As a result people started buying smaller more fuel efficient cars. The government stepped in and decided to force the people into more of these cars by setting CAFE standards. Those standards were designed to reduce the number of full sized cars made and sold in this country. The result at first was to get rid of the full sized station wagon as the vehicle of choice for the Suburan and urban spraw dwellers. Once it was discovered that the shortage of fuel was manufactured and prices and supply stabolized I am sure some believed the small car had come into its own.

During that time Honda accords grew to be closer to a full sized car. First Mini Vans replaced station wagons and then SUVs. At one point SUVs and light trucks were the best selling vehicles in the market taking the spot of almost 50 percent of all US car sales. I think it waas 2005 or so that the F series Ford pickup was the best selling vehicle in the world even if almost all of their trucks were sold in the US.

Unless people have a change of thinking on their own through education or advertising once conditions return to what people consider normal it is human nature to return to what people want rather than what they need. In other words people have to want to change rather than be forced to change.
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Old 03-17-09, 05:01 AM   #5
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I struggle with this question.

I do most certainly think that we need to fundamentally address lots of life issues: how we play, work, live, move, and (ultimately) consume. And it is true that nothing forces us to face up to such questions so abruptly as hardship. I will even grant that some good things can come from a severe economic hardship.

However, I have two reasons for not wishing this on us. First, out of solidarity with my fellow humans, I do not want them to be hurt by this. Second, I suspect that forced change is far less effective than intentional change. Go ahead and call me naive (and my own thoughts about this are why I struggle about it), but I really think that we will not change our ways until we simply open our minds to what needs to be done. We have to want to change. Being forced to change will make us squirm and resist and do other horrible things instead.

j
Yes, I may of come off seeming a little brutal but want a global mindset to change. The times lately has given me plenty of thinking time which has changed my mindset to what I consider a better way of living.
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Old 03-17-09, 11:10 AM   #6
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I struggle with this question.

I do most certainly think that we need to fundamentally address lots of life issues: how we play, work, live, move, and (ultimately) consume. And it is true that nothing forces us to face up to such questions so abruptly as hardship. I will even grant that some good things can come from a severe economic hardship.

However, I have two reasons for not wishing this on us. First, out of solidarity with my fellow humans, I do not want them to be hurt by this. Second, I suspect that forced change is far less effective than intentional change. Go ahead and call me naive (and my own thoughts about this are why I struggle about it), but I really think that we will not change our ways until we simply open our minds to what needs to be done. We have to want to change. Being forced to change will make us squirm and resist and do other horrible things instead.

j
I agree that a forced change is far less effective that intentional change, unfortunately I think we are well beyond the point that people at least here in the US can make that intentional change on their own on a large enough scale to really make any changes in a short enough time. Since I have sold my car and started riding my bike everywhere, a lot of my friends have mentioned they thought it was a great thing to do, and that it was really awesome that I have made the effort to make a positive effect and take action on something I felt strongly about, but not a single one of those people owns a bike and I can't see any of them switching over if they can drive instead.

People (as a general rule) don't want to work hard for the food they eat or the clothes they wear anymore. I know a handful of people with gardens, some larger than others, and out of the couple of hundred people I know I would say maybe one or two actually produces enough food to make a dent in their grocery bill. People are all too happy driving to the store to buy tomatoes shipped in from California or Chili....

I can't say that wish an ill fate upon people, but I honestly believe that may be what it takes to wake most people up.... Whether it happens in the next 5 years or the next 20 I think the advertising companies and their clients will continue to persuade the average US citizen out of every nickel they can regardless of the state of the economy. Most large corporations have no conscience that says enough is enough... They will do whatever it take to sell every last scrap of every resource possible... regardless of the long term effects on the environment or the consumer.
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Old 03-17-09, 11:30 AM   #7
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forced change may be less effective but it does make people think, which may induce intentional change.

also we have had to keep expanding global business due to an increasing population and a need to create jobs. the change is going to require a slow reduction in population by education and development of the third world. it is not a small thing by any means.
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Old 03-17-09, 12:37 PM   #8
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While I can't say that I haven't thought like this myself, I usually come back down to earth and realize that my ideas of what people may or may not deserve are no excuse to wish them ill. There are real people out there who are hurting because of this economic mess...and it's not always their own fault. My daddy always told me to be careful what I wished for...I hope you will consider doing the same.
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Old 03-17-09, 03:24 PM   #9
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Like I said, I really don't wish any ill will on anyone, but I really don't see people making the changes themselves... I don't wish bad things to happen, but I can't but think they may be required to help some people understand that unlimited growth of economies, populations and production is not possible over an extended period of time...
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Old 03-17-09, 04:21 PM   #10
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I hope this economic turn down lasts awhile. Most people I know were always trying to keep up with others and not thinking about what they were doing. I'll not happy about people losing their jobs or homes but hope this last long enough to affect their mindset. I was one who lost a job and it hasn't been easy but we prepared for a time like this. People just need to learn to enjoy life instead of trying to buy happiness.
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Old 03-17-09, 10:52 PM   #11
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Unless people have a change of thinking on their own through education or advertising once conditions return to what people consider normal it is human nature to return to what people want rather than what they need. In other words people have to want to change rather than be forced to change.
I disagree. Most people will not, in fact, change, simply because of human nature. It's not good for the environment, or for the general quality of life, to have large tracts of 5,000 square foot houses with two SUV's in front of each one. It's not good for our bodies or our environment to eat processed food and huge amounts of meat. Getting rid of a few hundred million old TVs and old computer monitors and old laptops is a huge problem. However, what person, on an individual level, wouldn't want to live on a quiet street in a huge house full of fun electronic devices, and then be able to jump in to the SUV and go skiing every weekend? People in every society on Earth, once they acquire some wealth, immediately start to do what we have done: buy cars, get bigger houses, go shopping, jump on planes, take some nice pictures, and shop some more. Like every other species, we voraciously consume until nature tells us to stop.

We as a species have been clever enough to circumvent a lot of natural limits, which led to a few hundred years of constant progress, but now we're in a situation that if we don't put the brakes on ourselves, it's going to get very grim very quickly. In such a situation, you don't rely on millions of suburban, SUV-owning, mortgage-holding, debt-ridden, recently-laid-off, very nervous people to make decisions that take the big picture into account. We all agree that profound changes need to be made; just not by us personally. This is very un-American, and I cringe to say it, but what we need to do right now is to elect leaders who have the balls to make us do the right thing, even though it's painful in the short term.

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Old 03-17-09, 11:56 PM   #12
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There is no such thing as intentional change on a mass scale.
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Old 03-19-09, 05:07 PM   #13
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I disagree. Most people will not, in fact, change, simply because of human nature. It's not good for the environment, or for the general quality of life, to have large tracts of 5,000 square foot houses with two SUV's in front of each one.
How much did your bicycles cost?
I ride a lot, and am pretty particular about what I ride; I only have two bikes but both cost $2000+ to put together. And I ain't rich.

Is something only bad when it's something you are "smart enough" not to want?

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It's not good for our bodies or our environment to eat processed food and huge amounts of meat. ...
Tell that to the Inuit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhjal..._meat_and_fish

Another later practitioner of this diet is Owsley Stanley-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owsley_...iet_and_health

I am not so interested in trying such a diet, but am curious about more info on it. Info is rather tough to find online; if you search for the terms "human carnivore diet" you only get vegetarians arguing the exact opposite--and I tend to suspect that the vegetarian agenda is only socio-political and not truly based in scientific principles.

(I do agree that processed food probably causes people a lot of health problems)
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Old 03-19-09, 05:45 PM   #14
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You can argue about the affect of meat on human health, but you can't deny it's impact on the environment. It takes a lot of plant food to make a little animal food. Something like 16 pounds to 1 for beef, and 7 to 1 for chicken. And that's not even considering the water used, and waste produced. Our present consumption level of meat can not be sustained for long.
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Old 03-19-09, 06:24 PM   #15
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I for one hope this economy changes the actions of people
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Old 03-19-09, 08:32 PM   #16
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You can argue about the affect of meat on human health, but you can't deny it's impact on the environment. It takes a lot of plant food to make a little animal food. Something like 16 pounds to 1 for beef, and 7 to 1 for chicken. And that's not even considering the water used, and waste produced. Our present consumption level of meat can not be sustained for long.
I might argue that the root cause of this problem is the overpopulation of humans on the earth. Nothing is sustainable at our current population.

I'm not vegetarian, but I eat meat very rarely now. I really have no opinion on what humans "should" be eating. I do know that arguments involving saving the planet or saving the animals will do very little to change anyone's minds. About as much, I suppose, as telling a SUV driver they're polluting the planet.

Commercial farming has allowed population growth to continue unchecked. It's a huge problem, but one that absolutely noone will stop. Population growth contributes to increased economic "growth" and increasing debt - and without increasing debt the system collapses. The developed countries that are seeing population decreases are offering incentives to have more kids. A very irresponsible practice IMO.
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Old 03-19-09, 08:50 PM   #17
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I might argue that the root cause of this problem is the overpopulation of humans on the earth. Nothing is sustainable at our current population.
True, but a large population humans can be sustained for a much longer period if we didn't use so much of our resources on meat production. As resources dwindle (oil included), we will be forced to cut back on the wasteful practice of reverse protein production.
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Old 03-19-09, 08:58 PM   #18
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I hope this economic turn down lasts awhile. Most people I know were always trying to keep up with others and not thinking about what they were doing. I'll not happy about people losing their jobs or homes but hope this last long enough to affect their mindset. I was one who lost a job and it hasn't been easy but we prepared for a time like this. People just need to learn to enjoy life instead of trying to buy happiness.
That is an extremely self centered and selfish attitude. Everyone's well being depends upon a healthy and robust economy.
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Old 03-19-09, 09:25 PM   #19
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Everyone's well being depends upon a healthy and robust economy.
I wouldn't define out-of-control capitalism and consumerism as a healthy and robust economy, but as a nationwide pyramid scheme inevitably doomed to failure.
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Old 03-19-09, 11:05 PM   #20
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I wouldn't define out-of-control capitalism and consumerism as a healthy and robust economy, but as a nationwide pyramid scheme inevitably doomed to failure.
Out of control is bad both for consumerism and capitalism But growth and robust economy aren't out of control. Yes we were greedy and now we are paying for it. But who isn't paying for it now? Who or what system is better off today? The USSR didn't work and even China is turning to capitalism so it must have a draw. So what better system is there?
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Old 03-19-09, 11:21 PM   #21
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How much did your bicycles cost?
I ride a lot, and am pretty particular about what I ride; I only have two bikes but both cost $2000+ to put together. And I ain't rich.

Is something only bad when it's something you are "smart enough" not to want?


Tell that to the Inuit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhjal..._meat_and_fish

Another later practitioner of this diet is Owsley Stanley-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owsley_...iet_and_health

I am not so interested in trying such a diet, but am curious about more info on it. Info is rather tough to find online; if you search for the terms "human carnivore diet" you only get vegetarians arguing the exact opposite--and I tend to suspect that the vegetarian agenda is only socio-political and not truly based in scientific principles.

(I do agree that processed food probably causes people a lot of health problems)
~
A recent edition of Scientific American had a really good article on the global warming effects of a meat-laden diet. (Unfortunately, I can't tell you which issue exactly, because I recently cleaned my house.) The article was very concise and well documented, and the main idea was this: raising animals, providing them with food, slaughtering them, processing their meat, and transporting them to market produces far more greenhouse gases than any other human activity besides the production of electricity. Beef in particular is a problem, although other kinds of meat production are not blameless. In fact, it's pretty likely that a car-driving vegan has a smaller carbon footprint than a car-free cyclist who eats meat.
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Old 03-20-09, 06:16 AM   #22
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the developed countries that are seeing population decreases are offering incentives to have more kids. A very irresponsible practice imo.
+1
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Old 03-20-09, 06:23 AM   #23
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Out of control is bad both for consumerism and capitalism But growth and robust economy aren't out of control. Yes we were greedy and now we are paying for it. But who isn't paying for it now? Who or what system is better off today? The USSR didn't work and even China is turning to capitalism so it must have a draw. So what better system is there?
Perhaps its not the system we need to change, but how that system is evaluated. Why use benchmarks such as GDP and %growth since last quarter? In fact why value growth in the economy at all? Why is a company only "doing well" if it shows growth?

A few proposals have been tossed about to measure stability, sustainability, etc. For example a benchmark for "doing well" could be what percentage of resources a company is renewing as compared to what it currently uses. Eg. forestry: does a logging company plant trees at a rate that matches harvest forecasts? (This was proposed be a former finance minister, and later prime minister, of Canada).

Capitalism doesn't work, it brings out the worst in our species. Large-scale communism has not worked either, for a bunch of reasons. We can certainly do better than the current system, but the root cause here isn't a broken system - its a broken species. We need to grow up, fast.
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Old 03-20-09, 09:17 AM   #24
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Perhaps its not the system we need to change, but how that system is evaluated. Why use benchmarks such as GDP and %growth since last quarter? In fact why value growth in the economy at all? Why is a company only "doing well" if it shows growth?

A few proposals have been tossed about to measure stability, sustainability, etc. For example a benchmark for "doing well" could be what percentage of resources a company is renewing as compared to what it currently uses. Eg. forestry: does a logging company plant trees at a rate that matches harvest forecasts? (This was proposed be a former finance minister, and later prime minister, of Canada).

Capitalism doesn't work, it brings out the worst in our species. Large-scale communism has not worked either, for a bunch of reasons. We can certainly do better than the current system, but the root cause here isn't a broken system - its a broken species. We need to grow up, fast.

Still what system is working better? Could have should have is nice in theory but what system is proving to be a better one?
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Old 03-20-09, 09:32 AM   #25
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Still what system is working better? Could have should have is nice in theory but what system is proving to be a better one?
That would be Cuba - people live longer there than in America, they export doctors all over the world, and still have more doctors per person than anyone else. Despite very low incomes and limited international trade, they do well in measures other than financial - happiness, longevity, etc. They didn't choose this, it was forced upon them by the US embargo, but they made the best of it - they have the best compromise of sustainability and development in the world. Perhaps the global economic slowdown will force us all to live as sustainably as the Cubans.
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