Friday, July 9, 2010

In which Truffula takes refuge in the Green Phone Booth, wishing she had clearer solutions...

On Tuesday evening, I headed upstairs to take my turn at bedtime story reading.  As I passed the window, I noticed that our neighbors had a bought a new

Only, in their case, it looks like this:

It's a new-new vehicle, not a new-to-them one.  And, it's so massive that it juuuuuust barely fits through the garage door opening.

I understand needing to have a set of wheels that will accommodate young passengers in safety seats, haul things around, or stand up to challenging road conditions (and cheer for the kindness of strangers who help make those wheels even more suitable for its precious cargo).  When none of these situations apply, and someone replaces a late-model SUV with no apparent problems for an even larger one, it's one of those things which makes you go "Hmm..."

... and "why?" and "what?"

Why does my family bother having "just" one car, and a roller-skate-sized model at that?  Why bother walking, biking, and busing? What part of the fuel production side-effects didn't get through?

How can we - individually and collectively - set a better example?  What can we do to drive the point home (pun intended) that bigger is better when it comes to edible gardens and shelves groaning under the weight of freshly-canned summer goodness, but generally not so much for suburban vehicles?


Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I try to keep in mind that as we go about our lives - biking, walking, busing, and doing all manner of green living - it's hard to tell who we're making an impression on and who might be changing because of us. Maybe we didn't change our neighbors, but maybe we did affect the random stranger driving down the street that we'll never know but who thought, "if she can do that..." when he saw us walking to the bus stop we three young kids in tow.

The reason I switched to cloth diapers many years was because of the example of an acquaintance who didn't know the effect she'd had on me until a few months ago when we met up again - four years after the fact. It's hard to tell whose lives we're affecting.

Wendy said...

It is frustrating, and if you think it's bad to have your neighbors behave that way, imagine having family members, who are living with you and not just witnessing, but being forced to conform to your alternative lifestyle, go out and buy a "new" truck that gets 10 mpg, just because it's a cool looking truck and it has a hemi. Arghh!

I just bite my tongue and trust in Karma, because, eventually, she always delivers the lesson *we* need ;).

In my case, the lesson for the truck owners, who refused to learn frugality, was bankruptcy and having to move back in with us less than a year later. For me, perhaps it's tolerance and acceptance, and gaining an understanding that we all must find our own footing on this path. I can't change others. I can only change myself and, as Ghandi so aptly said, "be the change you want to see in the world."

Rosa said...

You can't make the point gently. Only legislation and cost - carbon tax, fuel tax, road tax, licensing tax - will change people's behavior, in the large scale.

You should see my parents' truck.

The thing that kills me is the people I know who believe in human-caused global warming, who believes the effects will be unjust, who think of themselves as concerned about "the environment"...who won't change at all. Who say I - with my totally comfortable middle class lifestyle - am "the greenest person they know" or even accuse me of going overboard (by, say, not having saran wrap in the house.)

I don't believe in widespread change by education any more. First you make the change, then people change their minds.

But I still try to do my bit with my own life. It's something I can control, unlike the larger stuff.


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