On January, 4th and 5th, 2016, we will host the first Active Mobility in Everyday Life Barcamp in Unterhaching. The hashtag will be #AktMobCmp. For me, this topic is extremely important, because I believe that, by now, we have definitely reached the stage where motorized individual traffic has turned into a huge meander.
Not only does this kind of mobility cause 1.3 million traffic deaths each year world-wide, along with several times as many more seriously and lightly wounded.
In addition, this lifestyle, along with (useless?) transport of products and an excessive air travel, probably contributes hugely to the emissions that cause the rise in temperature and thus the climate catastrophe. Which means that they are a massive threat to at least human life on this planet.
In other words: it causes huge environmental damage and also generates no end of noise. Especially in the cities, the car avalanches permanently travelling the streets minimize the quality of life considerably. But the car is also detrimental to the physical and psychological well-being of the driver. It makes you dependent, obese and lazy, at the same time generating social isolation and a foul mood.
Consequently, I am now writing down a few personal theses on the topic of “motorized individualized traffic”.
“I no longer have enough time to go by car.“
This statement surprises many people. Yet it is true. I can easily prove it. And being an elderly person, time is my most precious commodity.
“Most people do not really need their cars.“
Your dependency on your car is just an imagined one. If you analyse critically, there are only very few cases. And even in those cases, a change in habits and situation that would make the car obsolete would be beneficial for the person concerned.
“How is anybody who cannot even manage his or her own mobility supposed to manage his or her entire life?“
A similar sentence might be: “How is anybody supposed to get a grip on their life if they cannot even manage to get a grip on their TV-watching habits”. In our society, the danger of living a second-hand life is too great. You easily miss real life. That is also what happens to drivers of a car.
“Cars will make you immobile and unfree!“
This is the sensational experience of all those who do not use a car. You will feel more independent and free, as well as a lot more mobile than before. Because cars fail to make us mobile, just as cigarettes do not make us free. As soon as you do without a car, your mobility and freedom will increase considerably and you will gain time for what is truly important in life.
“Driving a car is a threat to your character.“
Sitting behind the wheel of a car gives you the feeling of omnipotence. With the least bit of strength, you overcome physically almost insurmountable obstacles and distances in the shortest possible time and quite easily. At the same time, you get lazy and comfortable, the social isolation and the permanent (conscious and unconscious) effort without the physical balance often also makes you aggressive.
“Driving a car is detrimental for your health.“
A burnout, for instance, usually happens for various reasons. Taken together, they also cause some sort of special depression. A strong feeling of dissatisfaction in your private or work-life might be a reason. Everyday life lived in the wrong way, inappropriate life rituals and much more can be another reason. One of those inappropriate life rituals that promote dissatisfaction is driving a car. I can easily imagine that your foul mood as you are stuck in the traffic jam, as well as being incarcerated inside the tin box, will increase your frustration with everyday life.
“Your new car is not the joy you should be looking for.“
I know many people whose biggest joy is looking forward to getting a new car. You look forward to owning a new luxury gadget and status symbol. And as soon as you own it, as always with such commodities, you will slide into the next depression – because now you have nothing left to look forward to.
I think I could find many more theses like the ones stated above. But for the time being, I will abstain.
(Translated by EG)