The Axis of Hypermobility
Speed Kills Places & (mostly foreign) People
ecotourism - the delight of idiots!

Our serious addiction to hypermobility, regardless of the many destructive downsides, is made horrifyingly obvious by the fact that we are about to go with fire and sword even further into foreign lands to ensure supplies of the one thing very few of us are prepared to do without. Nay, not even a wee bit less!

Price of Addiction
to Foreign Oil

Pipelinistan must be 'stabilised', Iraq de-horned and 'democratised'; watch out Iran and Korea; meanwhile the atrocity of Palestine continues while we all 'pass by on the other side'; there are few Samaritans, it seems.

All this so we can enjoy the benefits of the global economy - make no mistake about it, the global economy runs on oil, lots of it. The only way we can enjoy mangetout in January is by jet, flying in on cheap, untaxed oil. And almost everything else we don't grow comes to us stinking of diesel. And local folk, from farmers to woodcutters to grocers and bakers and ironmongers go out of business, or are bought out and the mangetout and mahogany just keep coming. Or we can order it all from the internet - at least then we won't need to use the car so much!

Ah, the car, the chalice of individual freedom and independence! The alarming thing about the fuel tax revolt two years ago was the emergence of a perception that individual global mobility is some sort of inalienable birthright. That truly is a new thing under the sun.

It's another sad indication of the addictive nature of the affliction. Carried to its logical end, each person is entitled to an individual spacesuit with full climate control, stereo sound, telecommunications links, food & fuel ports, etc. Total independence (from other folk, neighbours) and total dependence (upon the providers of hookups and supplies and a source of money to pay for it all)

If we think feeding nine billion is going to be problematic, try supplying nine billion individual mobility units. Maybe they can do without housing or clean air....

And in aid of what? So we can rush around from place to place without ever having enough time to actually be anywhere, and the faster and further we scurry, the more we need to ignore the places we are passing through - the fewer the better (for them and us!)

Never mind, we can go on an ecotour for a really cheap price, see some fine, biodiverse place before the common herd spoils it, but virtually every airport already has a Coke machine; most have a McDonald's, and are surrounded by developments resultant from and conditioned by the flow of overfunded assholes riding taxfree jetfuel. And mobiles don't work!

Ivan Illich says folk in other cultures spend less than a tenth of their 'active' time on transit and we spend well above a third if you count all the hours worked for the cash spent on the means of getting about as well as in waiting rooms and traffic jams. Is that "quality of life?" Does it improve with speed and distance? Henry Thoreau said the same damn thing in 1854 about the trains: "I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot."

If we were to decide to use less fuel and shop locally, then that would be meaningful, but it wouldn't be an argument for lower fuel prices and wars to secure them, would it? It would be an argument for ensuring local economies survive and an opportunity to spend time relating to our home places and our neighbours.

We're running pretty damned fast, but I wonder if we have much idea of where to.

My pessimism evaporates whenever afoot in the forest. Care for the woods and the vegetables. Slow down and enjoy the journey. And hope we can somehow avoid war.

Brought into right relationships with the wilderness,
man would see that his appropriation of Earth's resources
beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance
and beget ultimate loss and poverty for all.
        -- John Muir

Yours Aye
Ed Iglehart

Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you. (and all of us)
Assalaam 'alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu.

John Muir: John Muir Henry Thoreau: Thoreau: Ivan Illich: Ivan Illich Wendell: Wendell Berry
946 More words in your ear: 946 More words People & cars: Homo Encapsulata
Prepared for the winterspring 2003 issue of Reforesting Scotland

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