Yesterday’s post about Quakers and the rising climate movement included the “Ethical Transportation” Minute approved by Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Quakers in 2017 (see below). Friends (Quakers) in rural areas struggle with ways to reduce fossil fuel use because public transit systems don’t serve those areas. And traveling distances is a given in that farm homes usually sit in the middle of farm land, a good distance from neighbors, towns and cities.
Redesigning rural areas such that farm houses are closer to nearby towns would be helpful, but obviously complicated in terms of land ownership, etc.
A rural transportation system would be good, but, other than school bus routes, not available now. One idea might be to figure out how adults could take advantage of the school bus system themselves. In the meantime, beginning to replace school buses with electrically powered vans would be a good step.
It is not going to be possible to simply replace every gas powered vehicle with an electric one. Having at least one car per family is extremely wasteful since cars are parked 95% of the time.
I had my first experience using Uber last week, and I was really impressed by that system. As a computer software engineer I was very impressed with how well the Uber app is designed and integrated into the vehicle utilization system. As I’ve been thinking about Uber and “ethical transportation” is seems we could quickly move toward decarbonizing part of our transportation systems by using a system like Uber, using electric vehicles powered by renewable sources. That would address the need for every household having a car, and utilize much of the time a car is usually parked.
An article about the advantages of the Uber car system listed the following:
- You don’t have to buy or lease a car of your own if you live in an urban environment.
- You don’t have to rent a garage for the car you don’t have.
- You don’t have to pay auto insurance on the car you don’t have.
- You don’t have to get oil changes, new tires, brakes, etc. for that car either.
- When you want a car, it is easy to do, and that car comes with a driver who will take you where you want to go. The car will be clean and in good shape, and the driver will speak English, and will be able to take you where you want to go at a reasonable charge.
- You don’t have to carry extra money for the cab driver, since all billing is done via Uber.
- You will not have to find a place to park at the restaurant or other event you are going to, nor will you have to pay a parking lot fee.
- When you are ready to return home, you will have a driver and a car waiting for you in a few minutes.
- Even if you had a couple extra drinks or beers, you will not have to worry about who’s gonna drive home, because Uber is the designated driver.
- And the cost, in most cases, will not be more than an equivalent cab ride
Now that warm weather is coming, we can focus on using bicycles as often as possible, as the following Minute discusses.
I’ve also been doing a lot of walking, usually at least 5 miles at a time every other day or so. Since walking at least 10 miles a day on the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March last September, walking has become something I enjoy doing as often as possible.
Ethical Transportation Minute
Radically reducing fossil fuel use has long been a concern of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). A previously approved Minute urged us to reduce our use of personal automobiles. We have continued to be challenged by the design of our communities that makes this difficult. This is even more challenging in rural areas. But our environmental crisis means we must find ways to address this issue quickly.Ethical Transportation Minute
Friends are encouraged to challenge themselves and to simplify their lives in ways that can enhance their spiritual environmental integrity. One of our meetings uses the term “ethical transportation,” which is a helpful way to be mindful of this.
Long term, we need to encourage ways to make our communities “walkable”, and to expand public transportation systems. These will require major changes in infrastructure and urban planning.
Carpooling and community shared vehicles would help. We can develop ways to coordinate neighbors needing to travel to shop for food, attend meetings, visit doctors, etc. We could explore using existing school buses or shared vehicles to provide intercity transportation.
One immediately available step would be to promote the use of bicycles as a visible witness for non-fossil fuel transportation. Friends may forget how easy and fun it can be to travel miles on bicycles. Neighbors seeing families riding their bicycles to Quaker meetings would have an impact on community awareness. This is a way for our children to be involved in this shared witness. We should encourage the expansion of bicycle lanes and paths. We can repair and recycle unused bicycles, and make them available to those who have the need.
Approved by Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) 2017