Hello, I came across your website via a Yahoo search and found the idea interesting enough to check out. No more roads (Paved)? Grand idea, but just how do you propose getting food to market, sick folks to doctors, children to school, etc.?
I assume you are not proposing returning the world to the stone age with life spans of 30 years, no education, etc.?
What is the solution? I am an average American, I see the problems, but as of yet I have not seen a solution that will allow me to send my kids to school, get to work, etc.
If you have a solution, NOT an excuse, drop me a line.
We are not saying "wipe out all the roads now." We are saying we should not build NEW roads, especially when society cannot afford to maintain existing ones. Without the waste of money on this global-warming transportation system that also kills almost a million people in the U.S. every decade from crashes on roads and exhaust fumes, there would be sufficient funding for alternative transportation and for repairing key roads. As you see, we are positive thinkers.
When we talk about dwindling petroleum, we are not the ones advocating the chaos that will result from a final shortage. We merely look ahead and suggest alternatives to dependence. As for getting to work, thereís mass transit or biking or working in the home or closer to it, or moving closer to work. For getting goods transported, we find pedal powered bike carts to be handyóand it necessarily is local based, for self-sufficiency.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a unique & irreplaceable sanctuary that should not be disturbed. Americans are in the self-righteous mindset of leading by example, so any drilling in ANWR sends exactly the wrong message to our citizens and to the world for the following reasons:
(1) Future generations will undoubtedly think us to be incredibly lazy and selfish for ruining an international treasure whose destruction could easily be avoided by instilling a marginal fuel efficiency standard.
(2) Wildlife exists on this planet to live in harmony with man, not to be sacrificed and exploited by man. Because bears, wolves, caribou, etc. speak a language we cannot understand does not give us the right to totally disregard their well-being.
(3) It is time Americans teach Mr. G.W. Bush that he must talk straight to the American people. To even hint drilling in ANWR will relieve todayís gas price pressures or suggest Californiaís energy crisis can be lessened by drilling in ANWR are blatant non-truths that he knows are totally false. Fundamentally, itís just another way to reward his big campaign contributors that bought him Novemberís election.
(4) America should be looking for ways to use LESS OIL NOT MORE. World opinion rightfully tried to teach the U.S. a lesson for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol treaty by voting the U.S. off the U.N.ís Human Rights Commission. Are we learning any lesson here?
(5) In some cases, other countries look to the U.S. for examples to solve their own economic development vs. habitat conservation battles. We are nowhere near exploiting ANWR to feed our population; to even consider drilling ANWR is an embarrassment. Further, we lose all credibility to comment on other situations.
(6) It is not the case that the recovered product, oil, would lead to a scientific revolution like a vaccine against AIDS. Oil only accelerates the bigger problem of global warming (after coal, oil is the biggest contributor to global warming gasses) and with the U.S. having 5% of world population but contributing 25% of the global warming gases, the time to look ourselves in the mirror is long past due.
Jay Lustgarten, N. Bellmore, NY
This was a letter to The Economist magazine in reference to their article complaining about costs of French High Speed Rail, next to articles on defense budgets and missile systems, which are many tens of times larger.
The Economist of all publications should be capable of compiling a full ledger when writing on the railways.
Based simply on a full-cost accounting of railway vs. motorways, rail wins with fuel economy, land use, air & water quality, health care costs, and long term economic development of a positive nature. The freedom of the automobile has forever shackled English-speaking peoples to Middle East squabbles and random terrorism.
Good engineering always outlives its critics; superior engineering brings ridicule on those who would criticize. Your readership would appreciate articles on railways that do not exhibit unworthy, timid ignorance; obstructing our progress.
Infrastructure engineering demands a full accounting of all costs; transportation system reporting should include no less. It is a sad commentary that in a rubber tire-oil burning world that railways continually have to beg.
Vive la France....... Otherwise, I am your
I want to say, "Right on!", I think. Part of me applauds your recent letter to the NY Times, and your Open Forum editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle (May 6). It sounds like so many of the things Iíve said and written myself. Itís what everybody "needs" to hear. Yet, another part of me is pessimistic; it knows that most people are so clueless about basic energy principles that the message falls on deaf ears.
Now, it may have been an instantaneous revelation to me when I first encountered the remarkable insights of H.T. Odum (and his students) into the workings of energy systems, but trying to teach about such things as embodied energy theory and net energy analysis in my undergraduate environmental studies courses for the past twenty years has convinced me that others find such ideas difficult to grasp. It doesnít surprise me in the least, then, that these absolutely crucial concepts have virtually no currency among the movers and shakers of energy policy (assuming theyíve even heard of them), much less the public at large. The question is, what to do about it?
It is too simple to say merely that the problem lies with education. After all, educationóde factoóis an instrument of the dominant culture. The mythos of America has it that all energy is created equal, and that with the right technology (which is always just around the corner), our supply of primary energy is unlimited. These are truisms in the secular religion of our growth-oriented, materially consumptive society. This is what we teach in one way or other, to young and old alike. How could it be otherwise?
So, what to do? On a large scale, perhaps nothing. It may be that the best we can realistically hope for is that the Grand Machine will run out of gas (literally) and grind to a halt before it destroys us all.
Anybody in Mexico for Culture Change magazine? Did you know that in Mexico City they have "bicitaxis" or bike-taxis, or taxi-bikes, with two wheels, with "capotas" (leather tops) for two or three people. Since we printed the "Bikes from Cuba," can we do something about these workers doing their thing without oil or gas? They are the "horses" in down town, taking a few cents, each trip to the Maximilano Palace, to eat their "tortillas." In this case, the change will be the other way around, "going back," not a jump to the future. What do you think? Gracias.
I like your Fact Sheets very much. Perhaps in future it might be useful to include more on other road menaces. My family and I travelled from San Francisco to Denver this summer holiday. We spent some time in Crested Butte, Colorado. It calls itself the "trail bike capital" of the world. Trails are being gouged out of the mountains for all kinds of bikes, pedal and powered, plus the enormous SUVs that many Americans seem to love. We saw similar developments at places like Silverton. Although this is not as bad as the tide of traffic flowing up and down the major motorways, it is wrecking more vulnerable environments. As in tropical forests, new roads also open the way to new settlements with condominiums and chalets covering once verdant pastures. Driving through various towns and suburbs en route, I was also struck by the width of many roads, way beyond what was reasonably necessary. Is there some sort of legal requirement? I would be grateful for any references about a new vehicle that someone told me about, a huge SUV or what he called a ësmog monsterí. I did not catch the reference being made. Any clues?
Dear Sandy, people make up their own names for SUVís, such as Urban Assault Vehicles (UAVs), or substitute Lincoln Exterminator for the Lincoln Navigator.
When you come out with a bumper sticker saying "Support Bin Laden or Taliban: Buy gasoline" Iíll buy some.