Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

It’s Earth Day. Try holding your breath.

The Environmental Protection Agency now is ranking carbon dioxide, which we exhale with each breath, as a pollutant.

I will admit there’s a lot I don’t know about this whole environment-global warming thing.

There’s a part of me that thinks the whole thing is a scam to get us out of our cars. That’s not entirely a bad thing.

That’s because I happen to live in a development that features a walking path that goes through the entire development, and then winds through a local park. Very nice. My wife and I try to use it as often as possible.

But that’s where we stop being environmentally friendly. There is not a single other thing we do that does not require us to get in our car.

We don’t really live in a town. We live outside town, as is the case with so many suburban developments. It was a nice place to raise our kids, but I curse my situation every day right now.

I yearn for the days before I was married and in my first year of wedded bliss. My first apartment was in West Chester. I lived in the third floor of an old house right across the street from the library.

Once I drove home from work, I parked the car (itself something of a challenge in West Chester), and I didn’t need to use it again until the next morning. There were some weekends I did not use the car at all.

West Chester is one of the most walkable towns I have ever lived in.
There was almost nothing I enjoyed more than getting up in the morning and walking downtown to grab a paper and a cup of coffee.

That’s only a memory now. A trip to my Wawa today means getting in the car. The same for church. Ditto for groceries and every other errand we run, usually three of four times a day.

Somewhere along the line, our planning process went haywire. I live in a pretty modest development. We are now surrounded by the bane of today’s home market, the McMansion. These mini-Shangra Las all have one thing in common. They almost inevitably make their residents dependent on their cars.

I look forward to the day (alas still far in the future) when I can get out of my house, and move back into a town where I can walk to do just about anything I need to do.

I don’t want to wind up in a development for seniors unless it is part of a town. I don’t want to be cut off from the rest of the world.

I want to get up in the morning, throw on a pair of shorts, and walk to my local Wawa. Hopefully I will meet a lot of people along the way, all doing the same thing I am, staying out of their cars.

In the meantime, Happy Earth Day. Don’t forget to breathe while you’re out there walking.


Anonymous mobitronia said...

during this event, it’s about having an empty road free from cars. my plan was to trade my buick into an electric car.

April 29, 2009 at 9:28 PM 

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