>Can there be a journey too short to use your car for?

>”Before I write the question I must state that I am in no way an eco-nut. However, I was somewhat appalled this morning to see my girlfriends mum car parked outside the bakers in town (not 400metres from our house) as she was going to church (some 500 metres from our house). When I confronted my girlfriend about this she excused this action because:1) There is a substantial hill from church to our house (imagine if you will a gentile incline that only enhances the landscape rather than a Scottish mountain) – she believed that by using a car time would have been saved compared to walking2) She had been cooking lunch and was in a hurry3) She was wearing high heels4) She has short legs and it would therefore take more time for her to walk there and back than a person of more average height.(I dont want to complain too much because I would benefit later on from point number 2)However, it got me thinking. We are hearing nowadays about trying to use your car less and less to help the environment.What therefore in your opinion is too short a journey for which you should use a car? – If you save only seconds or minutes is this really worth it?Are their any exceptions to this?Do governments do enough to encourage people to use their cars less and promote the alternative modes of transport?”

3 comments

  • >Dangerous example James. Let's hope Annick doesn't read this. But yes I completely see where you're coming from. I remember one of my sister's friends used to get in a car to drive next door to school. And I'm not exagerating, it really was next door. It took them more time to get in and out of the car than it did to drive.The problem is more of a social problem than a state one I would say, and what's more we're all guilty of it sometimes. I doubt there are many people who haven't taken the car somewhere they could have walked, biked or gotten public transport to just as easily.Government can obviously start shifting tax towards polluters, as is becoming increasingly popular lately. This is a good idea in moderation, particularly when the state is in need of more money. But as I said before I think the problem is largely social. Therefore I think the best solution is for the Government to lead by example, and help to educate us all about environmental damage in a similar way to how they educated people about smoking. But in actual fact the Government is already doing this. They could do it a little better. For example I find some of the statistics Al Gore uses shocking enough to change but I do not find an advert about turning off my TV very life changing. But still, this change is already happening. It will just take a few years before the state's actions start to have an impact on society. Although the very fact that you asked this question shows that society is changing to become more aware of these problems. P.S. What is heppening in Luxembourg I don't really know. Although I have had a look at the policies here I'm not at translation level yet.

  • >There are things being done to educate people about climate change, like last weeks Scilly isles 24 hour switch off. Dont know what the outcome of it was, and if it will make a difference, but its one idea that should help with educating people about climate change.To answer the original question, there are trips that are too short. We should all take a look at ourselves and say do we need to businesses should do the same. Do we need to buy our XXXXX from China when its produced down the road?Your right it is a social problem, we could put color changing paint on cars so that if you drive less than a mile before stopping it turns a hiddeous lime green to shame you. Please dont take that seriously, but rather than try force people to pay even more money for driving, which eventually penalises everyone including those who take the bus etc because eventually the extra cost will filter down to them. We should look at some way of frowning on those who make the shortest of trips, a system that doesnt penalise you for the number of miles you drive (i drive 60 miles per day to and from work, but my mum probably drives less than 2 miles, but in a total of 6 trips a day) but penalises you more for the number of trips you make to reach a number of miles? Take 100 miles (bit low i know) if it takes you 5 or 6 trips to reach 100 miles thats not too bad. if you can do 80 or 90 trips before you do then perhaps you need to look at your driving. No idea how that could work as far as enforcement, but its an idea.

  • >Actually I prefer your idea about the paint. Not many people like the idea of naming and shaming, and using guilt as a weapon. But let's face it it works. It worked to push men to war in WW1. It works today to stop people smoking and drink-driving. Targeting a group of people based on some inherent asset is ridiculous and inhumane. But targeting a group of people defined solely based on their actions when the vast majority of society agrees is not ridiculous. As an example, we could therefore release adverts shaming people who drive round the corner when they needn't.However the second idea is too problematic. We cannot enforce it, and there are too many exceptions to the rule when someone needs to drive a short distance, or needn't drive long distances.

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