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Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


My Car-Free Life

by Dennis Lueck

I grew up riding a bicycle and continued to depend on my bike for most of my transportation needs right on through graduate school. But when I got a salaried job and suddenly had far more money than I was accustomed to, a strange thing happened: I considered getting a car.

Fortunately, because I was living in Portland, Ore., and could easily bike or bus to work and everywhere else during the week, I eventually realized it would be cheaper and more sensible just to rent a car when I really needed one.

So I did not buy a car. And shortly thereafter, I quit my job after deciding that I really didn't have to work so much to meet my few material needs.

In contrast, my friends and co-workers who owned new cars continued to work full time, partly to make their car payments, plus pay for gas and insurance. But they also had to keep making money so they could belong to a health club, since by driving everywhere, they no longer got enough physical exercise.

Some of them moved up into the hilly section of town, or farther out into the country and then commuted from there by car to their city jobs. And they drove their kids to schools outside their neighborhoods, each kid to a different school in some cases. In short, because they owned cars, they organized their lives around them.

Meanwhile, I quietly went about organizing my own life around my bicycle. I moved to a bicycle-friendly community, buying a small house near a major north-south bicycle path. I figured out how to make a decent living that didn't require the use of an automobile and that provided me with plenty of discretionary time.

I began to appreciate being at home and growing my own food. Between bicycling and gardening, I got plenty of exercise. I soon found I had plenty of time, too, to visit with my elderly neighbors, bake bread, write letters, and just lie in my hammock and watch the clouds go by.

Some of my car-dependent friends now wonder what changes they would have to make to have equally fulfilling and comfortableóand more carefree and car-freeólives than they do now.

Unfortunately, because their lives evolved with automobiles, virtually every activity they pursue outside the home requires a car. They are addicted to their four-wheeled machines. And because many of them chose to live in areas that are not especially suited for bicycling, their children too are learning to depend on cars, so the problem is perpetuated.

Overcoming our society's collective dependency on privately owned autos will not be easy. The best opportunity we have for a healthy future lies with our children and young adults who have never owned autos. We need to demonstrate for them that a happy, productive life does not require an automobile. And that just by choosing to get around by bicycle (or by foot or bus), we can change our lives in many other wonderful ways.

Dennis Lueck is a transportation activist in Eugene, Oregon. The editorial first appeared in the Center for Appropriate Transport's Auto-Relief.


Articles of interest:
Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results.  WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.

Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California . Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)



Culture Change/Sustainable Energy Institute mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change (Trademarked) is published by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) California non-stock corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.