Last year I began a new life in the rolling hills of rural Missouri. Since my arrival here I’ve given up driving in personal vehicles, planes, and buses. I don’t drive a car, or ride in one. I know this may sound extreme, but it feels like the appropriate thing for me to do given the massive amount of ecological destruction caused by the petro-transport systems.
According to the Institute of Energy Research, 95% of the U.S. transportation sector uses fossil fuels. The combustion of such not only is contributing to climate change, but impacting humans in a largely disproportionate way. Industrial nation-states continue to declare war in the name of securing international trade routes and extracting petro-products. This is done in disregard of protest from local populations who depend on the stability of native ecological systems for their livelihood.
This is why I choose to bike. If I can’t bike I’ll take a train which runs on fossil fuel but is not injected directly into the upper atmosphere like planes. In the coming years I intend to take up sailing the great lakes and canoeing rivers for distance travel. At that point ill give up train travel.
I see the world at bike pace, meet interesting people on trains, and have found a more pronounced sense of place where I live. Riding a bike as my main form of transportation has led me to learn bike maintenance, for which I feel empowered and free. However, I see my family and distant friends less. I don’t travel to festivals, shows, events, etc. unless I can bike and/or train there. The idea of traveling internationally is out of the question for me unless I can cross the border by bike or train.
I feel great about my decision to only use foot, bike, and train transport. How do you feel about the ways you transport yourself?
Below are the criteria that helped me figure out what forms of transportation are appropriate for me to use. I ask these questions to myself a lot! And I’m asking you because I hope you’ll think about how you transport yourself, and how that affects other living beings and the earth.
- Does the form of transportation combust fuel? If so, where does that fuel come from? Am I am an active ally to people who live where the fuel comes from, or is consumed?
- Do I think that my support justifies the amount of fuel combustion?
- Does the form of transportation require specialized maintenance? Can I do it myself?
- Is the form of transportation going to do its thing anyway?
- How many people are transporting with me?
- What kind of load am I trying to bring with me?
- Is ______ really worth transporting myself to and from?
- How much time do I have to transport myself?
- How am I/ might I be physically and emotionally feeling during the time of transport? Do I have support if I get stranded?
I’m curious how people feel about the ways they transport themselves, and why they choose to use the methods they do? Please respond to this blog post with your answers, let’s talk about it! That means you too econauts! A lot of you travel internationally. How do you do it, why, and with what justifications?