Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I have a dirty confession to make.......

...... and some of you are going to be rather disappointed........ I have started to learn how to drive!!!!!
I know, 'how can someone who constantly bangs on about being sustainable go ahead and learn how to drive, spewing carbon dioxide into the air and burning up the increasingly rare fossil fuels.'  Dont think I dont feel bad about it. 

A big part of me is saying, you dont need to do this, you easily get around Cambridge and to and from work without a car.  You get yourself a license and you'll start using a car unnecessarily and make commitments that require a car and then find yourself relying on a car, instead of continuing on with life without one.

But when I was job searching back in April, there were a number of really great environmental education jobs and nature reserve outreach jobs that I couldnt apply for because I would have needed a car to do the job, or couldnt get to the job without a car.  It was then that I started to think having a license would be a good idea, it would open up my options. 

Also there a lot of nature reserves and natural history courses around Cambridgeshire that I would love to visit and participate in, but cannot do so, as they dont have public transport links.

And now that I am going on to do a MSc in Science Communication, so that I can become a professional sustainability and environment communicator and advocate, I realise that some interviews and articles I will find myself coming to write, will require me to travel to remote places.

Also, a number of 'eco' cars are arriving on the market.  Currently these cars are classed as 'eco' cars because they have relatively low carbon emissions.  Low enough for the government to decide not to charge road tax and the car I am learning to drive in is one of these zero road tax cars.  But I think that we are starting to approach the market tipping point, where high spec. top quality electric cars will start to dominate the market - I give it ten years.

Personal behaviour and responsibility must be considered as well.  Whilst investing in learning to drive, I am also investing in my bicycle, slowing getting it into top condition and upgrading its parts, so that I can cycle more and more.  And I would have strict rules about using the car.  It would not be used for journeys within the city, or anywhere that I can get to by bus or train.

But I guess my big question here is......... are these reasonable justifications for learning to drive???  When we are adapting and changing for a sustainable future, where are our boundaries regarding what is and isnt suitable/ acceptable for this new discourse.  And is the idea that driving is not suitable the right idea, or is our discourse wrong?  Does a healthier and more realistic discourse recognise that driving will always be a part of our contemporary future and that as long as we are careful and conscious about how we do this driving, we can still make the world a more sustainable place??

What do you think? I am curious to know on which side our collective thinking lies.

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