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Front Page » May 22, 2007 » Opinion » Rantings and Ravings
Published 2,743 days ago

Rantings and Ravings


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By TERRY WILLIS
Sun Advocate reporter

Summer has arrived with the annual raising of the gas prices. We all express outrage, but for most of us, we do nothing substantially to react to it. Record profits of big oil companies offend us, but we are like the enabler in a drug addicted house as we go about our business like nothing is happening.

Last week there was a call to boycott gasoline sales. There was not even a small decline in the numbers on that day. What will the magic number be in the price of gas that will tip the scale? Four, five or maybe six dollar a gallon gas?

The poorest among us are feeling the pinch now, but many of us still have a lot of disposable income to play with. You can tell it is hurting the poorer segment of the population because Wal-Mart is the first business to see a drop in sales as their consumer market has to start pinching pennies to cope.

When I was a kid, my mom could send me to the market to pick up a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread or other small things needed to get us through the week. I don't have that option now a days.

We have a fairly walk friendly town, but more for recreational walking than for function.

The Checkerboard store was one of the last in a dying era to serve the neighborhood rather than the community at large. Now you pretty much would have to chose which route to a major grocery store would be of less risk to get to. Both have segments of the journey you have to travel without walkways and through paths of car travel that can seem daunting at times.

With the weighted pupil funding system, larger schools serving vast areas are considered more efficient than smaller neighborhood based schools. The trend is also to build the schools on the outskirts of towns so they have the land needed for all their functions. As a result, fewer kids are able to walk to school.

Even though we are seeing more car ads for hybrid and low mileage vehicles, there are still enough spots featuring gas guzzling machines. Apparently there must be a lot of people who need to have the biggest and most powerful pickup ever made.

It is difficult to decide to cut down our driving because we have let our society become shaped by our love of the car. It is going to be a hard process to reverse. Turning a car back into a useful tool instead of an extension of our being is going to require each of us to take a hard look at our habits to see what could be done to reshape our community around us.

Change will be slow, but we need to start now before it is forced down our throats by the harsh realities of economic decline and financial necessity.

Find ways to make small steps in how you use you car. I could go into a litany of things you can do right now, but you will be hit in the head with them as gas prices rise this summer.

Take at least one to heart and I'll see you out walking this summer.



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May 22, 2007
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