World Car Free Day today!
Today Saturday, September 22nd, along with towns and cities around the world, Stroud will be marking World Car Free Day.
Photo: Carhenge in the States
The event is organized in different places in different ways, but the common goal is to arrange for the streets of a city or a smaller are to be car-free for all or part of a day, in order to give people a chance to consider how their city might look and work with far fewer cars. The event has been global since 2000, with events of some kind happening in over 1000 towns and cities in 2005.
In Stroud, the Transport Group of the Transition Town Stroud organisation plan a stall to celebrate the event in the High Street - talking to people about their experiences of using cars less or living without them, offering information on alternatives to the car, and hoping to excite people about the possibility of a genuinely Car Free Day next year in Stroud.
Car use has been increasing massively in the last few decades, and many of our streets are no longer safe places to play and meet neighbours. The recent story in the SNJ about the displaced 'rat-run' through Whiteshill is just one example. Cars have come to dominate roads all over 'Green' Stroud - and are negatively affecting our quality of life and environment. Transport accounts for around 25% of UK emissions of greenhouse gases. With over a quarter of car trips made being under 2 miles - an easy distance to walk or cycle - cutting car use is a great way to reduce climate change.
There are other reasons to cut car use too
Globally, cars use around a third of the world's oil. But experts now believe that global production will reach its maximum and then begin to fall some time between now and 2014. People already spend a huge amount of their time in cars or earning money to pay for them - and as oil becomes more scarce and increasingly expensive, we will be forced to consider more carefully what it is used for.
Furthermore, exhaust fumes don't just contain Carbon Dioxide but a cocktail of pollutants linked to bronchial and respiratory illnesses. The production of cars actually produces more pollution than they do in their lifetimes, and millions of cars are discarded every year - producing mountains of waste.
New roads cause the loss and degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity. And congestion grows, making journeys a nightmare, increasing pollution, and costing huge amounts of time that could be better spent. Finally, it is estimated that worldwide over a million people die on the roads every year, with a further 10 million injured. In the UK, the figure is around 3500 each year.
Transition Town Stroud is part of the Transition Network of towns trying to work on the issues of Climate Change and Peak Oil. The Transport Group is open to those interested in transport issues, and plans to hold events throughout the year, and work on issues such as the Interchange, and electric bike hire.
For more information look at http://www.worldcarfree.net/wcfd/