Because they were metal and left the "best" ruins, and because they are also at the center of our autoist era and self-understanding, burned out cars were the dominant visual trope in the coverage of last year's catastrophic fires.
|Front page, September 10th, 2020|
|A few days later last September|
You may also recall this image of a drive-thru coffee shack soliciting business by donating to wildfire and smoke relief last year.
There was no sense of any irony that the prospect of donation induced more carbon pollution - that it would drive, and not mitigate, the indirect cause and intensifier of the fires.
We are blind to so many dimensions of our autoism.
At the center of it all is underpriced gas.
|via St. Louis Federal Reserve|
Our 350.org chapter pointed out a recent City Observatory piece, "Why cheap gas is our real climate and transportation policy."
During the bulk of the debate over the SRC, there had been a plateau in driving. You can see it from about 2005 to 2015. (Maybe you want to define it a little differently with different end-points, but the general contours of a plateau are clear.)
But then driving took off again, and it's clearly in response to the fall in gas prices.
City Observatory concludes:
This inflection point [in 2014] is strong evidence of the importance of harnessing prices to shape travel behavior and achieve policy objectives. And here’s the critical point: all of our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases with vehicle electrification and more efficient cars, all of our investments in public transit, and all of our “Vision Zero” plans are dwarfed by the impact of changing fuel prices. Cheap gasoline dramatically undermines public policies to promote public health and safety, to support accessible urban places, and to save the planet.
|A big beauty spread in the Sunday paper|
All our talk about Earth Day is empty until we decide we want to make real changes in our transportation and use of fossil fuels.
If the City wanted to honor Earth Day, things like a local gas tax and ending new drive-thrus would be substantive gestures. We have to align our policies and subsidies with our goals, and not keep prying them apart in misaligned incentives that result in appeals to personal virtue, which require constant paddling upstream and against the increasingly smoky wind.