Many people know that I decided to refuse to own a personal automobile about forty years ago. After some initial adjustments, including in thinking/attitude, I have managed to do without them since. The main thing was to make sure where I lived was on a public transportation route, within walking distance of a grocery store, and that the location be as close to my work at Riley Hospital for Children as possible. Many also know that I was entirely committed to the Keystone Pledge of Resistance, which became the first successful defeat for the fossil fuel industry’s plans to expand extreme mining practices (tar sands). I don’t say these things to brag, rather to point out that people (many others besides myself) live without personal automobiles.
Quakers care about the earth and its inhabitants, and many have been involved in the environmental movement. I think it is safe to say that everyone has tried to do things to decrease their carbon footprint.
But, as is true for most Americans, Quakers have not acted on the fact that fossil fuel supplies are running out, and even if there were endless supplies, every single gallon of gas burned adds to the significant carbon overload of our air and water. We are well into the unknown areas of the consequences of this environmental disaster.
Every time I bring this up, the person tells me why they have to have a car. All of the reasons sound great. The problems are that EVERY GALLON burned makes it more certain that we will never be able to recover from the environmental damage. EVERY GALLON burned deprives others in the world, and future generations, of oil for manufacturing and fuel. Even if we succeed in converting to renewable energy, oil is needed for many products.
It simply does not matter how good your reasons for needing personal transportation are. It is immoral to continue to knowingly destroy the environment and use resources needed by future generations.
This cannot be put off any longer. Please stop now. A mere 100 years ago essentially nobody had a personal automobile. Think about that.