Thursday, March 08, 2007

T-Shirt #2.8.c

The South Dakota Peace and Justice Center showed Who Killed the Electric Car? free at Sankofa Coffee Bistro Thursday night. I went and enjoyed the show very much. Mr. Bite was there. I sat with The Dad. It was a good night.

Now, back to the current essay. This is the portion that challenges me the most.

Years ago I attended a motivational seminar where the speaker urged us to ‘observe the masses and do the opposite’. He was talking about wealth building and not transportation issues, but the world is hurting because of our transportation issues and the advice is still good on many levels. Part of my paradigm is the belief that global warming is real. I truly believe this, and while everybody talks about what everybody else should be doing to solve global warming, I decided to observe the masses and do the opposite. I lowered the thermostat, I rarely use the clothes dryer, I eliminated most meat from my diet, and I bicycle for most of my transportation needs. The masses are trapped in the cult of the car. I decided to free myself from that paradigm. I’m certainly not there yet, but I can never be unaware again.

One of the things the masses do is automatically award 16 year old children driver’s permits and sometimes even buy them cars. I’ll not be doing that. You will not get a permit at age 16 or even 17. If you’ve read up to this point and all you’ve gotten is the message that I’m not going to let you drive, you’ve missed the lesson. You don’t see the plusses, only the minuses.

Your relatives will think that I’m doing this because of the money, but they’ll be wrong. A teenage driver certainly costs more. Insurance costs would be $75/month extra. 2 tanks of gasoline a month (a very conservative 15 miles a day) would be another $60/mo and general wear and tear on the car about $25/month (upkeep and repairs). That’s $160 each and every month that I won’t be spending on the car via the oil and insurance industries.

So what will I do with that money? I’ll give it to you. Each and every month until you turn 18, you’ll get $160. If your relatives decide to buy you a car, and they might, and if you accept the gift, the money stops. I will NOT subsidize your entry into car culture by underwriting any cost associate with it. If you would like a nice bicycle (and I mean NICE) I’ll get you a nice bicycle. But a car? NO. To do so would not only go against everything I believe in, it would feel as if I wasn’t properly preparing you for the future you will have to live if the planet is to survive.


this verdant country said...

This is a great post. My daughter is about to turn 2, so I haven't given much thought to her driving yet. I remember shortly after she was born telling somebody that I didn't believe she would drive when she turns 16. This is my belief not because I think she will necessarily share my philosophy on car culture, but because driving will simply not be a reasonable option by that time.

If I'm wrong about that, I plan to give her the money saved from her car freedom. Either way, she'll be riding a nice bike.

bikingbrady said...

Excellent words of wisdom Mr 2.8 from Kentucky! I have a boy (10.5) and girl (9) that I'm not looking forward to the driving stage as I'm thinking about the same choice you are. Living in a town of 10,000, being able to see the high school out our front window, having nothing in the town over three miles away, I'm pretty sure there is no REAL need to drive. It is just tough with society being so "car heavy". Girl (9) says she never wants to drive, but I know that's just a girl (9) talking. They DO see me bike to work in ALL conditions in South Dakota, so here's hoping! Best of luck in raising your kids the way YOU want to, not how society would see you do it!

Snakebite said...

Challenges you how? Seems like this is good content for a conversation sometime in the not-too-distant future while on a bike ride or something.

mytzpyk said...

this verdant sound I know you? good to know you're still around.

mr bite - it's challenging because it causes me to look ahead to a time I haven't considered all that much...driving age. Of course, in 7 years decisions like Woo (the author) has made might be more socially acceptable.

I understand there's a bike ride Saturday. Let's discuss it then.


BB - I'm not ignoring you.