Carbuster’s Editorial RSS Feed https://carbusters.org Carbuster’s Editorial RSS Feed en-us Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:58:38 +0000 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:58:38 +0000 alexander.berthelsen@gmail.com (Carbusters) Campaign for European Night Trains! https://carbusters.org/2014/12/13/campaign-for-european-night-trains/ PROTEST WEEKEND – SAVE THE EUROPEAN NIGHT TRAINS! This weekend will be the last one for many European night trains. It’s a bitter irony that these climate friendly means of long time travel will be scrapped the same weekend as the climate talks in Lima show us the urgency of reducing carbon emissions. If you live in Germany or France, there will be demonstrations as the last trains leave the stations, see link here http://www.nachtzug-bleibt.eu/ Our e-mail campaign with protests to Deutsche Bahn and other petitions are getting strong support and it would be nice if it could be a massive flood this weekend. Campaign pages available in:  ENGLISH  GERMAN  FRENCH Our plan is to continue to fight to restart these trains and restore the railroad of Europe and a strong reaction now can help this effort. Read more background information on the World Carfree website HERE]]> Sat, 13 Dec 2014 11:58:30 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2014/12/13/campaign-for-european-night-trains/ Carbusters’ Third Annual No-Car Oscar Award https://carbusters.org/2014/03/02/carbusters-third-annual-no-car-oscar-award/ ©Andy Singer - www.andysinger.com ©Andy Singer - www.andysinger.com[/caption] Once again, Carbusters has rated the movies nominated for Best Picture based on their depiction of transportation. Points are given for showing characters walking, riding bicycles and taking public transportation. Points are taken away for showing characters driving or riding in cars. If cars are used to show status or to depict freedom and independence, points are lost. However, a movie gains points by showing traffic jams and car accidents. Eight of the nine nominated films were reviewed: 12 Years as a Slave was excluded since it’s set in the 1840s, before the use of the internal combustion engine automobile. Our pick for the 2013 No-Car Oscar award goes to Her, set in a futuristic Los Angeles with a main character who doesn’t own a car. Below are the ratings for all eight films. Her (+99) Depicts LA in the near future with raised pedestrian concourses, gleaming subway stations, and clean, comfortable trains that whiz you out of the city.  The main character (Joaquim Phoenix) is never shown driving or riding in a car. Neither is his girlfriend, but that’s another story. Carbuster Record: Her now holds the record for highest score earned in our No-Car Oscar ratings! American Hustle (+24) Director David O. Russell continues his strong car-free movie making, finishing second this year after clinching last year’s No-Car Oscar for his movie Silver Linings Playbook. Gravity (- 8) While floating in space, George Clooney’s character waxes about his 1967 Corvette back on earth and Sandra Bullock’s character describes her single-occupancy car commute and how she deals with grief by driving around aimlessly. Philomena (- 26) Irish birth mother Philomena does not adopt public transit while searching for her son in Washington, DC. Captain Phillips (- 30.5) When Tom Hanks’ character is on land, he’s never in anything smaller than an SUV. And when his Navy Seal rescuers first arrive on the scene, they are shown in a fleet of black Chevy Suburbans used as symbols of invincibility. Dallas Buyers Club (- 37.5) Hard to expect a lot of alternative transportation in a movie set in Texas, circa 1985, although the movie did earn points for showing Matthew McConaughey’s character selling his car to raise money. Nebraska (- 42.5) Bruce Dern’s character repeatedly says, “I always wanted a new truck.” There’s lots of driving in this movie including the ending where driving a new, used truck through your home town is portrayed as a sign of having made something of yourself. Wolf of Wall Street (- 51) Owning more cars and better cars is equated with success while riding a bus or subway is equated with being a loser. Carbusters Record: This movie now holds the record for lowest No-Car Oscar score ever received! no_car_oscar_carcrush21-595x1024]]> Sun, 02 Mar 2014 09:18:44 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2014/03/02/carbusters-third-annual-no-car-oscar-award/ BIKES vs CARS, the Film https://carbusters.org/2013/10/20/bikes-vs-cars-the-film/ The bicycle, an amazing tool for change. Activists and cities all over the world are moving towards a new system. But will the economic powers allow it? Bikes vs Cars, a new film project from BANANAS!* and Big Boys Gone Bananas!* director Fredrik Gertten, looks into and investigates the daily global drama in traffic around the world.
“IT'S NOT A WAR, IT'S A CITY” - ALINE CAVALCANTE, SÃO PAULO
Climate change and never-ending gridlocks frustrate people more than ever. Instead of whining, people in cities around the world take on the bicycle as a Do It Yourself solution. Road rage and poor city planning creates daily death amongst the bicyclists. And now they demand safe lanes.
WE KNOW THAT THE WORLD NEEDS RADICAL CHANGES TO SAVE THE CLIMATE AND THE ENVIRONMENT, BUT THE CAR INDUSTRY IS SELLING MORE CARS THAN EVER. 1 BILLION CARS TODAY, 2 BILLION CARS 2020.
It’s an uneven fight. Activists and politicians that work for change are facing a multi-billion dollar car, oil and construction industry that use all their means to keep society car dependent. We know that the world needs radical changes to save the climate and the environment, but the car industry is selling more cars than ever. Today there are one billion cars in the world. By 2020, that number will double.
“UNOBSTRUCTED RIDE, SHOT LIKE A ARROW, SPEEDING AROUND CURVES: THAT'S THE WAY YOU FEEL ON A BIKE THESE DAYS, NOT IN A CAR, AS THE CAR ADVERTISERS WANT TO MAKE YOU FEEL” - DAN KOEPPEL, LA
The film will follow the individuals around the world that are fighting to create change. We meet Aline at Sao Paulo’s Ciclofaxia, the weekly Sunday ride where one lane of Paulista Avenue is opened for bikes only. Aline is an inspirational person in the city’s bicycle movement, who tries to focus on the positive aspects of being a cyclist. But that can be difficult in a city where one bicyclist is killed every four days. And in Toronto, where mayor Rob Ford strips away the city’s bike lanes in his battle to win the “war on cars,” we watch as members of the Urban Repair Squad infiltrate the streets at night, using spray paint and stencils to replace them.
FROM THE 'CHICAGO GHOST BIKES,' THE CHICAGO RIDE OF SILENCE.
From bike activists in Sao Paulo and Los Angeles, fighting for safe bike lanes, to the City of Copenhagen, where forty percent commute by bike daily, Bikes vs Cars will look at both the struggle for bicyclists in a society dominated by cars, and the revolutionary changes that could take place if more cities moved away from car-centric models. Film Trailer: http://www.bikes-vs-cars.com/ Kickstarter Campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fredrik-gertten/bikes-vs-cars-we-are-many]]>
Sun, 20 Oct 2013 09:20:47 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/10/20/bikes-vs-cars-the-film/
Here’s The Infographic Your Gas Station Really Doesn’t Want You To See https://carbusters.org/2013/10/18/heres-the-infographic-your-gas-station-really-doesnt-want-you-to-see/ 1276_gigatons_CO2 (1)   ORIGINAL: By David McCandlessInformationIsBeautiful.net.]]> Fri, 18 Oct 2013 10:54:30 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/10/18/heres-the-infographic-your-gas-station-really-doesnt-want-you-to-see/ 21st Century Transportation : Moving Off the ROad https://carbusters.org/2013/10/18/21st-century-transportation-moving-off-the-road/
  • Among the 23 states in which driving miles per person declined faster than the national average, only six saw unemployment increase faster than the nation as a whole.
  • Among the 10 states with the largest declines in driving per person, only two rank among the ten with largest increases in unemployment.
  • Among the 23 states where driving declined faster than the national average, only 11 saw faster-than-average declines in the employed share of their working-age population.
  • Among the 10 states with the greatest reductions in the employed share of population, only two were also among the ten states with the largest reductions of driving (Georgia and the District of Columbia).
  • Looking at which states reduced driving most sharply after 2004, there are wide differences which are not easily explained by a single factor:
    • Average vehicle miles declined in all regions, with large variation within each region. The smallest declines took place in the North Central region, mostly as a result of per person driving increases in North Dakota, and the Gulf South, perhaps influenced by Hurricane Katrina.
    • Changes in the extent to which state populations live in urban areas do not seem to correspond with changes in driving miles.
    • The degree to which telecommuting or other arrangements in each state have encouraged people to work more from home does not seem to correspond to changes in the average amount of driving per person.
    The evidence suggests that the nation’s per-capita decline in driving cannot be dismissed as a temporary side effect of the recession. While certainly a contributing factor and an economic rebound could be expected to have some upward lift on driving, the recession does not appear to be the prime cause of the fall off in driving over the past eight years. Nor is it clear that future economic growth would lead to a resumption of the postwar Driving Boom. Policy makers can stop wondering whether American driving trends are changing. They should focus carefully on these trends, and start adapting policies to match them.   Source: http://uspirg.org/reports/usp/moving-road Get the full report here.]]>
    Fri, 18 Oct 2013 10:48:58 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/10/18/21st-century-transportation-moving-off-the-road/
    European Union’s SAIL consortium: bringing on the future https://carbusters.org/2013/09/04/european-unions-sail-consortium-bringing-on-the-future/ Tres Hombres schooner-brig, and noted the creation of numerous sail transport projects here and there, the big eye-opener in terms of united international resolve can now be revealed: The European Union's SAIL project, part of the North Sea Region Program whose theme is "Investing in the future." SAIL's mission is to bring about the construction and operation of the first Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion (WASP) large cargo ship. A 3.4-million euro fund is being put to use by transport specialists, port officials, academics, consultants and sailors to achieve this historic breakthrough in scale for large, technologically sophisticated wind-powered ships. Managed by Holland's province of Friesland, the home of the tall ship race in Harlingen, the SAIL project is well on its way to becoming a consortium as planned. At present seven nations are represented by 17 organizations.  
    Image
    The SAIL project
    According to SAIL's agenda, developing the WASP or "ecoliner" (depicted in the design diagram below) first requires a legal framework for building and operating the vessel. Then follow-up actions, all anticipated, will be undertaken. Input toward legislation will involve EU agencies and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). An EU member state must propose the WASP with a bulletproof document, but as one speaker warned, "In the EU, there is one green lobbyist per 100 industry-types." However, the historic tide is turning in favor of wind propulsion. I attended as an American observer SAIL's meeting held in mid April in Wilhelmshaven, western Germany. Professionalism and friendliness abounded, and keeping to the appointed SAIL tasks never flagged. My occasional input on peak oil seemed to be appreciated. Fortunately for me, English is the language of the conferences because not everyone speaks Dutch, for example. The technical presentations were not only admirable, but because they are coupled with practical insight on regulations and policy, the total weight of the conference information seemed to indicate a more logical approach within the EU than may be possible in the more politicized U.S. With laws and regulations finally coming on to limit sulfur in the bunker fuel used by commercial shipping, particularly in the North Sea, the sail transport movement/trend fits into the global shipping industry's Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). This is because wind in sails is an allowed "innovative propulsion technology." The EEDI is a necessary mechanism for functioning on the water, so it is adhered to in SAIL's regulatory and business-model considerations. Such issues are thoroughly discussed and implemented by SAIL and its participants, particularly through ongoing Work Packages between meetings.  
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    Fair Transport's Tres Hombres makes annual voyages across the Atlantic
    The genesis of the SAIL consortium was a conversation by two Dutch sailors: Robbert van Hasselt and Arjen van der Veen. They voiced the idea of the EU's supporting the construction of the Ecoliner as envisioned by Arjen van der Veen's organization Fair Transport. Since then the project has proceeded apace, under the leadership of Anne J. de Vries, project manager for SAIL whose Lead Partner is the Province of Fryslân (Friesland) in northern Holland. Participants include:
    Marinvest, Sweden Plymouth University, UK University of Sussex, UK German Lloyd, Germany Jade Hochschule (University of Applied Sciences), Germany Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany Fassmere Shipyard, Germany WindEnergie, Germany Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark Danish Ecocouncil, Denmark Dykstra naval architects, Holland North Sea Foundation, Holland University of Utrecht, Holland Fair Transport, Holland Municipality of Harlingen, Holland C-Job, Holland Northern University of Applied Science, Holland TechnologieCentrum Noord-Nederland, Holland MARIN, Holland Mansoa, Holland Provinsje Fryslân, Holland IDMM, Holland Ameland Shipping, Holland E&E Consultants, France Avel Vor Technologie, France TOWT, France Ankarea, France Port of Oostende, Belgium
    Some individuals participating appear to be less buoyant than others regarding the future of sail power on a large scale, anticipating longer-term oil dependence. At least peak oil and climate trends are denied by no one (contrary to what might happen in the U.S. with some interest groups). Regardless of differences in outlook for the longevity of oil-fired cargo shipping, all SAIL participants see a role for wind power over the waves, at least with kite sails that can be implemented immediately. Yet all SAIL's organizations are on board for the Ecoliner goal. The designer of the prototype vessel, Dykstra & Partners, naval architects of Holland, bolstered its credibility at the meeting by giving an additional presentation on the new Rainbow Warrior III, the Greenpeace motorsailer that comes with a helipad. It has sailed well and not relied too much on the engine (see photo below).  
    Image
    workshop: left rear, Guillaume Le Grand. To his right, Arjen van der Veen. Presiding: Edo Donkers
    The Dykstra presentation allowed that the sails for the WASP Ecoliner may not be the "Dynarig" as shown here, but rather the Flettner rotors which look like fat smokestacks. Also considered were "wing sails" that resemble vertical airplane wings. These rigging systems require little human power and lack the extensive ropes that interfere in loading and unloading cargo. As with any conference anywhere, it is the personal connecting that make for much success. Guillaume Le Grand of TOWT, Trans Oceanic Wind Transport, brought biodynamic wine from Anjou to share. This wine is sail transported whenever exported, but although we delivered it to the conference in a rent-a-car the wine tasted as unparelleled as ever. Le Grand's presentation represented the role of the active dealmaker in sail transport cargoes. His perspective was bold, as he gently suggested that perhaps a smaller scale, less expensive option than the full blown Ecoliner would be an intermediate step, faster to implement. [Why not both - editor] The Decline of Europe and Its Renaissance via Sail Power The rise of sail power and the next economy -- steady state and living more ecologically -- is underway. The European Union's interrelated corporate-dominated economy continues, but steadily weaker under the grip of massive debt and maldistribution of financial wealth. Less acknowledged is recent unsustainable growth of population and consuming. Looking at this trend honestly is not yet fashionable, and there is almost no planning to bring about a realistic alternative.  
    Image
    Ecoliner, designed for Fair Transport and the SAIL consortium
    However, there is the bright spot of sail transport developing in northern Europe. In addition to the well publicized private-sector endeavor of B9 Shipping to build a hybrid sail freight ship, the EU-supported SAIL project is making rapid headway. With the capability of moving large, commercial cargoes via renewable energy, Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion is attracting potential investment. Approximately 20-million euro will be required to build the ship. Practically all stakeholders, minus so far the freight owners, are involved and doing their level best as top academics, engineers, sailing entities, and other players work together methodically. Working groups and progress reports are advancing. When it comes to free-market imperatives, Jorne Langelaan (a Tres Hombres captain) pointed out that "it is the cargo owners who can insist on zero emissions, whereas ship owners are just in between." By the next meeting in November in Rotterdam, interest in sail-transported projects will have no doubt grown after the successful summer season by Fair Transport, TOWT and other clean, green shippers. To sail into a sustainable future, SAIL calls on freight owners to step up now and help usher in the Ecoliner in their own interests. By doing business via sail transport today, the necessary investment for Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion will come about! Participation is encouraged, which is why SAIL offers its contact information below. Thepitchbook for the "Ecoliner: Shipping Without Footprint" is public as well. SAIL's visionary process is joyful to witness, even as intractable problems of climate change, insanely high import levels based on distant manufacture, oil dependence, etc., are ominous background issues. Yet, they do not cloud or stymie progress in the revival of sail power. Indeed, the New Age of Sail feeds upon the forces bringing to a close the unsustainable fossil-fueled economy and its dirty-fuel shipping sector. Source: http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/888/1/
    by Jan Lundberg
    17 August 2013
    * * * * * Contact SAIL: To subscribe to the SAIL Newsletter, go to this website form where you can also pose any questions or remarks about the interreg IVB project SAIL. Or contact directly either Anne J. de Vries, a.j.devries "at" fryslan.nl. Telefoon:l +31 6 46 32 26 42, or Robbert van Hasselt: r.v.hasselt "at" idmm.nl, website idmm.eu Telefoon: +31 6 28 65 78 41 For the LinkedIn Group "SAIL: a partnership aiming at promoting, developing and operating of hybrid sailingships,"connect here. On Twitter: #nsrsail The next report on SAIL's progress might be from my coverage of the Rotterdam meeting in November, where I have been invited to give a presentation on the Sail Transport Network. - JL Further reading and viewing:  
    Image
    Rainbow Warrior III, designed by Dykstra for Greenpeace
    See the SAIL website nsrsail.eu for coming events and the April 2013 PowerPoint presentations. For a graphic description of how SAIL's process works, see the NSR Interreg project from 2011. Rainbow Warrior III. Greenpeace's media assault vessel Time Magazine Video on Sail Transport Trends: Getting on the Bandwagon on www.SailTransportNetwork.org Status of major shipping, from the oil dependent perspective: Smoking Ban: Shipping Shifts to Cleaner Fuel in Der Spiegel online in English. Rolls-Royce Revives Age of Sail to Beat Fuel-Cost Surge featuring B9 Shipping's cargo sailing ship development.  
    Image
    World's largest-capacity ship: CMA CGM's Marco Polo
       
    Image
    Harlingen, where the July 2014 tallship race will delight thousands
    ]]>
    Wed, 04 Sep 2013 13:46:56 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/09/04/european-unions-sail-consortium-bringing-on-the-future/
    Walking the Car or Driving your Body? https://carbusters.org/2013/05/08/walking-the-car-or-driving-your-body/ Here is a very inspired article about walking in our mechanized world... You can  find the article in pdf format here: (Walking the Car or Driving your body) for a more convenient reading. Enjoy the walk... :) [caption id="attachment_2906" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="©Titom - bxl.attac.be/titom/‎"]©Titom - bxl.attac.be/titom/‎[/caption] I LIKE TO WALK AROUND outside because life in a box gets dull. I walk wherever I can, on streets and sidewalks through neighborhoods right on down through town, and on the beach or in the woods where it is quieter and more beautiful. It's good to get outside, to smell the fresh air, to feel the sun or the night sky, listen to the birds or the crickets, to see and sense the surrounding world, and sometimes even say “hello” to other people. I like to walk because it is probably a human being’s most natural activity. From time immemorial, walking has been our primary method of going anywhere—we forget that, on the grand scale of time, planes, trains, and automobiles are very recent modes of transport.

    A spontaneous walk is not only good exercise; it's also a good form of adventure. In the house, things are contained and stable, but once I step outside everything be-comes more alive. Like an animal that has unfettered itself from a shell or a cave, once outside I am part of an entire planet and cosmos, keeping company with the sun and the clouds, the stars and the moon—the presence of celestial forces surround me, in the air and beneath my feet.

    I've always loved walking and have wondered why there aren't more people like me walking around—for no good reason other than just to walk. By day it seems that people are locked up in their offices at work, and by night they remain in the house, consumed by the television and domestic concerns. It's rare that I see another solitary individual, such as myself, just walking around outside—not in order to get somewhere, but just to walk. If I do, they are usually jogging.

    I know that jogging is good for one’s cardiovascular system and overall health, but, for me, jogging is too fast of a pace to be able to really appreciate my sensory encounter with the world. On a jog you can't stop to investigate curious details or smell the roses. For instance, while walking today I heard an enchanting sound and turned to see a woodpecker on the side of a telephone pole hammering away … an incredible spectacle! And joggers never seem to be really enjoying their experience anyway because it's too much like work—they usually have headphones on listening to music to dis-tract them from the discomfort of their efforts. Of course, there are joggers who appear to be happily immersed in jogging through the world; these joggers also tend to notice oth-ers and smile or utter some form of greeting as they pass.

    Other than joggers, I also encounter people walking their dogs—I only hope that these people enjoy the walk as much as the dogs do. People out walking their dogs often times walk in pairs, are talking, and appear to be enjoying themselves. I think this is great and, when I am alone, some part of me envies them their company. Another part of me thinks maybe they are missing out on the solitary, meditative impact of a walk, during which an expansion of one’s experiential awareness becomes possible—from a myriad fantastic perceptions of the surrounding world, to one’s bodily sensations of breathing and walking, to the liberated flow of inner thoughts, inspirations, feelings, and imagination that is brought about by a steady movement of the body and mind.

    In his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn writes about awareness of one's breathing as the vital connection between the mind and the body. He suggests that when walking with a friend we resist the temptation of continual talk and instead remain mindful of our breathing, as well as our in-the-moment sensations which connect us with the world. I agree with Mr. Hahn that talking too much on a walk can greatly distract us from the wonders of the walk itself.

    When we're caught up in too much thinking, we leave the realm of the body and the moment of our contact with the living, physical world—which is our most direct experience of being alive.

    Instead of walking outside, many people go to the gym for physical exercise. They walk or run on treadmills while watching a television or listening to their iPod, thus more completely distracting their minds and disconnecting their awareness from their bodies—while also disconnecting their bodies from the natural surrounding environment. They also engage in other forms of fitness training activities such as lifting weights, swimming, and aerobics. While all these kinds of exercise are wonderful for the health and conditioning of the body, I am quite certain that none of them are adequate substitutes for activities enacted outside, in a natural environment.

    In the man-made, enclosed box-environment of a fit-ness center or gym, the body becomes more or less abstract; removed from its natural environment, it is thus placed in a laboratory in which it is viewed as a sort of experimental object that must be worked on in certain ways—like a car—to achieve certain results. While this is completely valid and effective according to our aesthetic and health goals, this attitude towards the body is rather mechanical, lacking the pro-found dimensions of interaction with nature wherein the body is immersed and engaged through all the senses with a living, spirited world that feeds the deeper portions of our souls.

    Over the years, alongside our technological developments, we have radically diminished our contact with the earth and profoundly reduced the effect the natural world has upon our bodies, minds, and souls—but on those occasions that we go outside and remember our primal connection with the earth through a direct embodied encounter, we are often, once again, awed. This is why it is so extremely important to get out of the box of our culture, out of the house, car, building, and limited mind-space in which we habitually dwell, and into nature from time to time.

    The truth is, we came from nature, we are nature, and we experience ourselves more fully and fulfillingly when we are engaged with nature. As children we were instinctually aware of this, but as adults we need to consciously remember it.

    WALKING ALONE PRESENTS an opportunity for the perfect intersection of self and world, like two circles that partially overlap one another creating a third elliptical-shaped space like an eye, by which the merging of the two worlds envisions a third. Walking alone provides an occasion for both adventure and meditation, an activity whereby continuous, ongoing, in-the-moment sensory perceptions and self-reflections are developed through direct contact of self with world.

    In this day and age of the “auto-mobile,” however,—in which we automatically mobilize ourselves, thereby entering a state of auto-pilot that anesthetizes the body—walking is usually a choice and not a necessity. In reality, travel by car is both a luxury and a torment. We drive the car daily, or take the bus, train, or airplane, covering such large distances that most of us no longer think about walking as a valid form of transportation. Because nearly everyone in the United States relies regularly on some form of engine or motor-based transportation, we take their very existence for granted. And because we grew up with cars, in a car culture—you have only to recall how many thousands of commercials and ads you have viewed featuring the sale of cars—we consider cars as just another normal everyday aspect of our lives.

    In addition to relying on cars daily, most of us also live near a road, from which the sight and sound of cars is ever-present. In this way, cars function as part of a taken-for-granted background against which we live the bulk of our modern human lives.

    From the time we are small children, we’re told to watch out for moving cars when we cross the street or go outside to play. We grow up riding in cars almost daily as passengers—to the store, to school, and to visit our friends and families—for a full 16 to 18 years before we ever get a chance to operate one. We're lectured by parents and teachers that safety is of utmost importance, and we have to study and pass a test to acquire a license to drive legally. When we first learn how to drive a car there is great novel amusement, as well as focus on driving correctly. After a couple of years, however, driving becomes second nature, as we drive almost every day.

    Because cars have become such an ingrained aspect of our society, we rarely consider the complexity and magnitude of our dependence on cars until ours breaks down or we get into an accident. We rarely stop to consider the rather absurd fact that whenever we go somewhere in our car—which is typically whenever we go anywhere when we leave the house—we enclose ourselves in a tremendously massive hunk of steel, glass, plastic and rubber, a contraption that employs an engine which burns up ancient fossil fuels that have been sucked out from very deep inside of the earth and that, when burned, are emitted into the air as toxic fumes.

    The car is a kind of mobile vault, a room with a view onto the moving world, upon which we are utterly dependent because our world does not value the capacity of our own bodies as adequate vessels of locomotion. We rarely stop to consider how much drastically more is involved in driving a car as compared with walking. We rarely stop to think about the fact that when we drive our car on the free-way we travel at speeds much faster than any one of us can run—we’d rather not think about the dangers involved with traveling at such high speeds and velocities.

    We rarely stop to consider that we are the only species on the planet that has devised a second body which we regularly inhabit and operate from within, while being trans-ported at incredibly high speeds and negotiating complex adaptations to other cars and their drivers.

    Driving a car on the freeway at full speed feels very normal to us; however, if you've ever broken down on the side of the freeway you became quickly aware of the very tremendous and frightening force of all the other cars roaring past you. You also probably became aware of the fact that, should any of the cars suddenly swerve and hit you, your life would surely come to an end. It is during moments like these that the distinctly non-human quality of motor vehicles be-comes overwhelmingly apparent. The cars noisily pummeling by you appear to be some form of alien creature with absolutely no capacity for feeling or empathy regarding your pre-carious situation.

    I ONCE ATTENDED A WORKSHOP led by Malidoma Somé. Before arriving at the site in Boulder, CO he traveled by car from the airport in Denver, about an hour’s drive away. He mentioned that during his ride in the car, as he looked out at the other cars on the freeway, he had to remind himself that each car had a human being inside who was driving the car. In his mind, a car was something really unrelated and foreign to a human being. He saw the crowded swarm of cars on the freeway for what they were: machines. In and of themselves lifeless, unfeeling, inanimate, and utterly strange.

    Malidoma told us that from an indigenous cultural point of view, the world of machines epitomized by cars is a very weird world in which one’s humanity may be lost. In his own words, “Indigenous people are indigenous because there are no ma-chines between them and their gods.”

    Although he has lived a good portion of his life in the tribal village of Burkina Faso, West Africa, Malidoma Somé is not a naïve newcomer to modern society—he has also spent many years in Europe and the United States, and attained Ph.D. degrees at Sorbonne and Brandeis University. However, throughout his teachings, Malidoma warns that modern technological society maintains the propensity to devour the soul and the spirit of our humanity by its extensive focus on the very machines and devices we have made essential to our way of life.

    Those serving the culture don't have the option to slow down and address the issue of what to do with their own needs, or how to get in touch with their own unexpressed powers. For they are too caught up in the speed and motion that is required by the Machine to feed its overt power. But some ultimately become so distraught that they figure out a way to take care of themselves rather than to take care of something that can never be satisfied.

    Although this quote is directed at the whole of modern technological society, it can also be used to understand our relationship with cars as a sort of epitome of the modern person’s experience of our machine-based way of life. Are we driving the car or is the car driving us? Are we in control of this world of technology or is the world of technology now controlling us? Who is really at the wheel?

    What has happened to the soul of our humanity which has been forced to live within the demanding confines of a mechanized, machine worshipping world? A world in which cars are both mandatory and menacing—destroying the environment while also destroying many human lives, in-stilling chronic anxiety, frustration, and rage into our daily state of being.

    We say that cars are indispensible to our way of life and future progress, but what we really mean is that traveling large distances as quickly as possible is indispensible to us. And in some way, this overwhelming need to remain in perpetual motion belies our discomfort with being still. Mali-doma claims that “speed is a way to prevent ourselves from having to deal with something we do not want to face.”

    In our obsession with speed, movement, and velocity, what is it that we are avoiding? Perhaps it is our weak-ness, our vulnerability, our helplessness in the face of a mechanized culture that largely has no interest in our personal concerns. Our bodies are composed of flesh, blood, and bone, not steel, glass, and rubber; they are animated by the mysterious forces of creation, not by fossil fuels. Yet, through cars and other man-made technologies, we have created a world of machines that is ultimately non-human and, in many ways, is physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive.

    When driving or riding in a car, it could be said that one's body is not really moving through space, as one is encapsulated in the spacial domain of the car. One sees the unfolding sensory world passing by, but is not in direct con-tact with that sensory world.

    I do not think that life was originally designed to be experienced in a sitting position, encased in a steel machine, and viewed from behind a windowpane, "through a glass darkly." Yet how much of our lives is spent in this manner, whether in the car, the office, the airplane, or the living room?

    When walking, one’s body occupies the natural, open, universal space that connects all living beings. When traveling in a car, one is removed from that space, enclosed within another, infinitely smaller space from which one may objectively view the surrounding world. This is just another way in which modern technology distances human beings from the earth and the body from nature, enforcing upon us greater and greater separations from an original, firsthand, direct, and engaging contact with life, which—up until just about a hundred years ago—we had retained for thousands and thousands of years.

    Although I prefer walking over driving whenever I can, I realize that we live in a world that necessitates machine transport in order to participate in many social activities. However, as a culture, I believe we would benefit by remembering that our own legs are often times the best way to travel. I hope one day we are able to reshape our lives, through reshaping our towns and our relationship with our bodies, in ways that respect our instinctual needs, the diversity of our bodily senses, and our innate connections with planetary life.

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    By Salvatore Folisi

    Xander Stone Ink http://xanderstone.org

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    Wed, 08 May 2013 13:17:03 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/05/08/walking-the-car-or-driving-your-body/
    Bicycle Manifesto and Heels of Wheels Review https://carbusters.org/2013/04/07/bicycle-manifesto-and-heels-of-wheels-review/ Bicycle Manifesto cover

    Bicycle! A Repair & Maintenance Manifesto, 2nd Edition

    Sam Tracy, PM Press, Oakland, California, 2013. 256 pages

    Heels on Wheels Cover

    Heels on Wheels: A lady’s guide to owning and riding a bike

    Katie Dailey, Hardie Grant Books, London, 2012, 112 pages

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    These books represent the yin and yang of bicycle guides.

    Bicycle! is dense and technical. Heels on Wheels is charming and breezy.

    Bicycle! has 19 chapters with headings like Drivetrains, Control Cables and Hubs.

    Heels on Wheels has 6 chapters with titles such as “How to Incorporate Cycling into Your Lifestyle” and “Parking (Or, How to Ensure Your Bike Isn’t Stolen”).

    Bicycle! features black and white photos including close ups of sidepull brakes, a tapered spindle crank extractor and bicicles on the bottom bracket shell of a bike in Minnesota winter.

    Heels on Wheels is packed with pastel-colored illustrations of women on bikes, dogs in bike baskets, bells, lights and cable locks.

    By now you’ve likely sorted out which guide would appeal to you more.

    Sam Tracy, a bike mechanic and former bike messenger, also wrote Roadside Bicycle Repair: A Pocket Manifesto and How to Rock and Roll: A City Rider’s Repair Manual. This third book in Tracy’s bike-care trilogy has been updated to include low-cost and no-cost solutions he learned during his Peace Corps stint in Mauritania. It’s geared toward people who are seriously into their bikes. Owning it is like having a bike mechanic to chat with while you undertake repairs yourself. You get tons of technical advice such as “loosen the rear derailleur cable before adjusting the H screw” and “we like the straddle hanger’s intersection to end up sitting just above the fender hole.” You also get opinion (“The cheap cranks won’t let you do this, because they suck”), tips of the trade (“The ubiquitous Parmesan cheese container can come in handy for storing road kits”) and a few stories (“I’ll never forget the reaction I got from a couple punk rockers up by the local art school…”).

    Is this what it takes to get men out of their cars—making a mechanically-simple alternative so technical that it requires 256 pages to explain how to keep it running right?

    Heels on Wheels is aimed at women who don’t yet own bikes or are just getting started riding around town. Katie Dailey is a journalist and copywriter who establishes her street cred in her bio by saying she has ridden a bike to London Fashion Week several times. More impressively, as we learn in the intro, she’s been a bike commuter on the hectic streets of London for ten years. Her experience shows in the small details peppered throughout the book: “sticky lip-glosses should be avoided”; “a traditional plastic mac, that you’d wear to a festival, is not suitable for cycling as it acts like a sweat-box”; “If you’re wearing a winter coat, take out the belt as it’s likely to get caught in your spokes”; “ballet pumps are easy to ride in at first, but aren’t tough enough for long trips.”

    Is this what it takes to get women out of their cars—reassurance that they can still look good while riding a bike?

    If so, should carfree and car-lite campaigns make radically different appeals to men and women?

    In the end, these books have the same goal: to get more people riding bikes. In their own distinctive ways they are doing the good work of encouraging people to drive less.

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    By Kelly Nelson

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    Sun, 07 Apr 2013 15:28:20 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/04/07/bicycle-manifesto-and-heels-of-wheels-review/
    Time’s Up! Disaster Relief Project https://carbusters.org/2013/02/05/times-up-disaster-relief-project/ Photo TIME'S UP! has been leading sustainable disaster relief efforts in the Rockaways since the day after Superstorm Sandy. We have organized weekly group bike rides to deliver food, clothing, and medical supplies from Occupy Sandy hubs in Brooklyn to free distribution centers in Far Rockaway; secured and delivered donations of bicycles and trailers to be used by the community; provided free bicycle repair for locals and volunteers; and set-up our energy bikes in various community centers to generate clean, decentralized power. With your support, we will continue to offer these services in the Rockaways as long as there is a need. Time's Up is uniquely equipped to provide this disaster relief. We are a 25 year old direct action environmental group. We offer free bike repair classes and workshops 5 nights a week in our two locations and we specialize in mobile bike repair at pop-up locations. We developed energy-generating bicycles to power the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zuccotti Park last year, and we have continued to design, develop and deploy them where they are most needed. We are an all volunteer organization, so 100% of your donations go to our projects, with 0% spent on administrative overheard. And we are used to operating on a shoe-string budget, so we make every dollar go as far as possible. Your money will not only be used to buy the supplies needed for disaster relief, but will leverage our base of more than 1,000 volunteers. In the New Year, we will continue to lead weekly relief rides to the Rockaways, deploy our volunteers to do construction work, and help establish sustainability centers with our energy bikes and free bike repair classes. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAXIMIZE OUR EFFORTS. Our rides currently draw far more riders than we can equip with trailers and cargo bikes, and we are working with six different community groups that want to establish sustainability centers with our energy bikes and mobile bike repair units. We need funding to buy cargo bikes to maximize the aid we can deliver to the Rockaways on our rides, to buy tools for the mobile bike repair units we will leave in the community centers and use to teach free bike repair classes, and lastly to build the energy bikes we will install in those community centers. Time's Up is fully committed to environmental sustainability in all of our projects, and especially in this disaster relief effort. This disaster was directly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, so we have zero-tolerance for burning fossil fuels in our relief efforts, be it by using cars for transporting goods or burning gas generators for power. As we rebuild, we do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. We want to create a just, sustainable future. That is why our projects focus on sustainable transportation, sustainable energy, and empowering communities to repair their own bikes, generate their own power, and teach others. PLEASE DONATE TODAY AND CONTRIBUTE TO A MORE JUST, SUSTAINABLE FUTURE. PROJECT BUDGET: $18,500 $6,500 Cargo Units $6,000 6 mobile repair units $6,000 6 energy bikes Time's Up is a 501(c)3 non-profit so all of your donations are tax-deductible. Source: http://www.localflux.net/PostView.aspx?id=252]]> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 11:13:26 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/02/05/times-up-disaster-relief-project/ Carbusters’ Second Annual No-Car Oscar Award https://carbusters.org/2013/02/03/carbusters-second-annual-no-car-oscar-award/ Our pick for the 2012 No-Car Oscar award goes to Silver Linings Playbook, set in Philadelphia, where the two romantic leads are never shown driving a car. Below are the ratings for all six movies. (To see the score card for a particular movie, click on its title.) no_car_oscar_carcrush2 (1)
    Silver Linings Playbook (+38)
    The romantic leads—Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress—do not own cars and are never shown driving cars themselves. Much of their courtship takes place on foot. Carbusters Highlight: The couples’ first kiss takes place in the middle of a car-free city street. Life of Pi (+ 35) For a movie that focuses on a shipwreck and being lost at sea, Life of Pi still manages to portray an image of sustainable transportation. Pi’s childhood in India depicts plenty of people walking and biking and adult Pi lives a car-lite lifestyle with his family in Montreal. Amour (+ 2) This movie about love and aging and death takes place mostly indoors within the rooms and narrow hallways of a Parisian apartment. However, the one time the elderly couple is shown out and about, they use public transportation. Argo (- 4) This movie has many scenes of main characters getting around in cars and vans and prominently shows logos for Cadillac and Rolls Royce. Carbusters Highlight: Two times U.S. government officials talk about the option of using bicycles to get the escaped embassy workers out of Iran. During one of these discussions, one character states, “Cars won’t work.” Beasts of the Southern Wild (- 18) There is much to like about this indie movie, including that very little blacktop is shown. However, the residents of this bayou community use motorized boats like cars to get around. In fact the father’s boat is made from the bed of a pick-up truck. Zero Dark Thirty (- 35.5) Nothing much non-motorized happens in this movie. Perhaps the worst car scene: a CIA agent is shown using government money to buy a brand new Lamborghini to bribe a Pakistani informant. Carbusters Highlight: Osama Bin Laden’s hideout is located, in part, because his courier drives a white SUV, which makes him conspicuous on Pakistani streets filled with more affordable and efficient forms of transportation. [caption id="attachment_2881" align="alignleft" width="176" caption="©Andy Singer - www.andysinger.com"]©Andy Singer - www.andysinger.com[/caption]
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    Sun, 03 Feb 2013 15:01:42 +0000 https://carbusters.org/2013/02/03/carbusters-second-annual-no-car-oscar-award/