This morning I walked two miles, half of it on a main road through a small city, half of it on suburban residential streets. As I did, to amuse myself I decided to keep an eye on the cars driving towards me and count how many carried only one person versus how many carried passengers. Just one passenger was enough to be counted, and I disregarded any vehicle that seemed to be business-related (pickup trucks with logos on the sides, anything bigger than an SUV, that kind of thing), just to be extra-clear.
In the two miles, fifty-one eligible cars passed me. Six carried passengers. The remaining forty-five carried only the driver.
The rapid use of energy that took billions of years to store up is killing us. We know this. In order to get this energy, we've cut bleeding gashes into the earth, all of which, but especially one of them right now, are killing us. We know this. But nothing changes.
And to a certain extent, how could it? Or, rather, how could we change? I'm all for assigning some of the blame to each and every single one of us, and have engaged in some of that myself. But at the same time, our leaders have invested a lot of money and effort over the decades forcing us to behave in the ways that make us responsible. Sure, we could all do better--carpool, say. But our local worlds have been delocalized. Most of us have to drive to work, most of us can't eat without having our food wrapped in plastic and shipped from miles and miles and miles away. And so on and so on and so on.
As far as the cars go, I've often thought that if we need them at all, they should be modular. If you're just driving yourself, you've got a smart car or a motorcycle or something similar. Small, so you're not lugging tons of steel around just to move yourself. Then if you have a passenger, you can add a passenger seat. Or if you have cargo, you can attach a trunk. Of course, decades of engineering have steered us in a direction where designing that would probably be near impossible, even if anyone wanted to.
I don't really have a point. We're fucked and I don't know what to do about. Shocking, I'm sure.