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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

A sign of the resistance to be overcome
July 21, 2011 - 2:00pm

Over the weekend, when the whole "how do we turn sustainability into fun?" question was running around the back of my brain, the issue of sustainable transit worked its way to the fore.

I knew that arranging for students to ask big questions about a regional transit system (writ large) and how to re-engineer it would engender resistance from several established portions of society: governments, the automobile industry and all its extensions, the real estate community. But I figured that a journey of a thousand miles starts . . . well, you know.

Then a column about steps -- single and otherwise -- landed in my in-box. A mother was convicted of vehicular homicide because a driver with multiple hit-and-runs on the same road on the same day (alcohol, prescription drugs and impaired vision were all involved) ran over her four-year-old son. The mother -- with children -- was walking. With luck, time will prove me wrong, but this incident seems to indicate that the whole car-culture thing may be inculcated into our society even deeper than I had previously suspected.

Now, I don't know anything about the incident in question. I'm sure a lot of specific circumstances come into play. But I don't think that matters. An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives all the information I need, in part because it's obviously more sympathetic to the driver than to the victim. Thus the mother must be, in many ways, someone that society doesn't want to find at all sympathetic.

Still, the implication seems to be that the law, in its majestic impartiality, forbids rich and poor alike from walking in a landscape designed for single-occupancy vehicles. (At least, I hope it was single-occupancy. I sure hope this driver wasn't out practicing his hit-and-run technique with a passenger in the car!)

Sigh . . .



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