Thursday, 10 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion

held a protest here yesterday. It was, from all accounts, a bit of a damp  squib. There were apparently only about one hundred people at it.
But, it did annoy other people. 
There may be more people annoyed today as they are moving on to other parts of the city. Their aim is what they call "peaceful disruption". 
In other parts of the country people are actually aiming at getting themselves arrested. 
And then we had the media with a "graph" showing that Downunder is almost at the top of the list for per capita emissions. It doesn't look good. Downunder is doing a terrible job at reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. We should be ashamed of ourselves.
The rest of the world, apart from Saudi Arabia, should be castigating us.
Or should they be castigating us? Should Extinction Rebellion be doing what it is doing here? 
     "I don't know Cat. It seems to me there is something wrong with all of this," an Elderly Man told me as he parked his bicycle next to my tricycle, "They aren't taking into account that we are the largest island or the smallest continent. We have this tiny population and these huge distances. You know what I mean? If that Extinction mob would go out and actually do something for the environment instead of making pests of themselves we might get somewhere."
The  Elderly Man has a point. Downunder has a population about the same size as New York state in the US.  It is spread across a vast area of land - and about 90% of the population live around the coastline. Cities have been built out and out. One of them covers more square kilometres than any other city on the planet. (It once had the largest Greek speaking population outside Athens too.) People do travel long distances too and they use cars to do it. 
Now I don't think that is a good thing. One of the problems has been that, for many years, people wanted their own quarter acre block of land and their own house sitting in the middle of it - isolated from everyone else. It is perhaps a peculiarly Downunder  thing.
That's changing. Urban "infill" is growing rapidly. People are complaining that houses are now being built with an "upstairs" - once almost unheard of. There are complaints about "overhang" and loss of privacy and much more. Even with all that though there are plenty of opportunities for people who still want to have a free standing house on their own little block...and they are prepared to travel to and from work to live in such a house. 
That may have to change, almost certainly will have to change. People will have to get used to using public transport too. We do need to reduce our dependency on the car - but public transport has to be cheap, reliable and available to everyone before that happens.
I wondered about "the Extinction Rebellion mob" that Elderly Man was so concerned about. How many of them used a car to travel that day? How many of them would give up a day of their time each week to go out and clean the environment up and plant the trees the planet needs in order to survive? How many of them have environmentally irresponsible hobbies that use up fossil fuels or create plastic waste?
Apparently Downunder produces 1.3% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. It's not good and yes we can do better but we also need to take into account many other things.  If Extinction Rebellion really want to get the message across they need to be demanding more be done about mass transit options and terrace housing perhaps?

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

I used to be able to use public transport until the govt permanently removed my local railway station which was within walking distance. Now there is no station within walking distance. I am now reliant on car travel (and the goodwill of others who own cars) to go anywhere including the next nearest railway station.

No taxi wants to pick up calls for journeys that are so close to home but too far to walk. For every short journey I have booked (usually 12-24 hours in advance minimum) the taxi has failed to turn up and I've been left stranded sometimes in unsafe situations.

Thanks governnent bureacrats for forcing me to change from an active, healthy, environmentally friendly lifestyle to being forced into burning more fossil fuels from reliance on car travel and isokating me in my home and making life more difficult and stressful. It has negative effects on one's physical and mental health and the environment. Very frustrating and upsetting.
Before anyone suggests cycling as an option, I cannot ride a pushbike due to disability.