If You Need A Car Just To Commute To/From Work…

Consider The Whole And Not Just The Parts When Making Your Decisions. It Affects Far More Lives Than You Think.

I talk about not owning a car because owning a car is bad for your mental, physical and financial health. There are costs involved acquiring a vehicle and there are a lot of costs maintaining it and it’s a depreciating asset. The statement that “you cannot live in the US without a car” is absurd and narrow-minded.

I don’t own a car and live in a large city. I chose to live in Portland for 3 reasons:  weather, public transportation and the culture. Some of you might be thinking “oh well sure, if you live in Portland of course you can live without a car but I live in xyz”.

At some point in our lives we have to take responsibility for our actions, realize the consequences and take steps towards changing it. The car-culture in the US is terrible and hurts a lot more than just your pocketbook.

The outsourcing of parts manufacturing has devastated countries and cultures. We, as a leading nation, must maintain an unhealthy foreign policy that ensures cheap overseas labor in order to keep costs low.

It should be quite obvious to any sensible human being that if a brand new vehicle only costs $13,000 then a lot of cost cutting must have occurred in manufacturing such a complicated piece of machinery.

Then there are the environmental factors of automobiles. Whether it’s gasoline or electricity or natural gas, it really doesn’t make a difference.

Electric vehicles are just as shitty for the environment as cars powered by gasoline. I’m not just talking about the manufacturing of the vehicle but electricity has to come from somewhere and it’s just not feasible to supply all the electricity needed to power all the cars on the road. The argument that “it’s better” is similar to saying that killing just 100 people is better than killing 1,000.

The car-culture is the crux of the problem.

In the US, citizens have engineered their lives around freeways and not around their work or home. Many envision their ideal home in their minds and then seek it out. They consider their place of work and narrow that gap by purchasing a “reliable” vehicle and create their complicated commute that may sometimes involve 2-3 freeways as well as up to a whole clock face worth of time.

Since I don’t own a car I have selected a place to live that’s in close proximity to my work, a library, a grocery store as well as public transportation hubs. I can walk or bike to work, a distance of only 3 miles.

What sacrifices did I have to make? A smaller place with louder streets and slightly higher cost. However, I can safely say that my choice makes sense when considering the whole and not just the parts that make up the whole.

Considering only oneself is selfish and irresponsible when living in a country as powerful as ours.

Every single one of our actions and our lifestyle choices affects not just us and our family/neighbors but pretty much every single human being on the planet.  Considering the whole creates a more sustainable way of life, decreased the burden on others and makes life better for others.

Do we all need cars or can we rely on public transportation more?

Could we take more advantage of car sharing services?

Do we need more homes built or could many of us live in much smaller homes?

Do we need to isolate ourselves into some far off commute-town just so we don’t have to look at a harmless homeless person laying down on a street?

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