Sunday, July 13, 2008

The world on wheels

As followers of this blog might know, I recently had to give up my land rover, not by choice but by financial necessity. Well I can at least say I feel I have done something for the environment even if I would not have done it otherwise.

I see the news and it distresses me, story after story about melting glaciers, extinction of corals, and I am not distanced from that because I can see close at home the waste that contributes to it.

Gordon Brown was right that we waste too much food. I remember growing up before supermarkets when there were few brands and less packaging, I can't say I grew up malnourished or deprived because of that, any more than I was deprived because my dad did not own or drive a car.

Today I watched once again the world on wheels, so many cars and wondered where they were all going, and why, and just how this might look on a global scale. To be honest I was on a bus at the time, travelling across the city to a swimming pool so in a small way I am still part of that great daily trek that seems to put all other transcontinental treks into insignificance because of it's banality.

We can't help the way things are, because everything is organised around such treks and we can't avoid them, though at least I am using public transport and my bicycle more.

We are past the point of no return and with the coming recession we will all feel the negative side of our past exuberances there is no escaping it, and it is better to give up some things voluntarily in the interest of posterity than to have it forced upon us by inevitability.

I have turned off my hot water, I can't afford it, but at least I still have water, and that is going to be something that millions do not have, it already is. So much we take for granted is predicated upon continuing power supplies, the recent floods in Gloucestershire demonstrated how much we take for granted and how reliant we are on electricity for everything.

Back in the 1970's I recall the three day week and the winter of discontent, with regular power outages, but the shops still opened and did business, even the supermarkets, with tilley lamps and generators, but it could not happen now in this day of the swipe card, where even a disruption to the telephone lines means no sale.

Well in another couple of weeks I am off too Autscape, I am hiring a car to get me there, so whatever the price of petrol I am going to have to pay it and join the world on wheels again.

I might be getting away to autistic space, but that space will still depend upon electricity and piped water.

When I am done with Autscape however I will be done with that. I am going camping, roughing it, a simple tent, and no more water than I can carry, my bike will come in handy then.

My land rover was perfectly equipped for survival, solar panels the whole lot, trouble is it still needed an MOT and there you see it had to go because it would have failed. Unless you have land to keep one on, you have to keep it roadworthy and taxed. Doesn't seem fair, there was a time when my family were considering buying a piece of woodland somewhere, oh that we had.

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