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View Diary: Public transit won't revive GM (97 comments)

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  •  I have an idea! (5+ / 0-)

    If we all convince ourselves that Peak Oil won't happen, then we don't have to plan and prepare for the consequences of it!

    "When the government becomes a lawbreaker, it invites every man to become a law unto himself." ~ Justice Brandeis

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 02:53:03 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Alternative energy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishbone, cheinke

      Finding alternative energy sources and improving vehicle efficiency would be a better approach.

      It will be far easier to get Americans out of 8 cylinder SUVs into battery-powered SmartCars than it will to get them to abandon single-occupancy vehicles and single-family homes.

    •  Redensification, or the loss of suburbia, (5+ / 0-)

      or whatever you want to call it - WILL HAPPEN.  The pattern of development that currently is the norm in the United States only works in the presence of cheap liquid transportation fuels.

      Accept this.  It's the baseline truth around which the rest of the lives of everyone reading this is built.  And as a result, pretty much everything that's been built in this country (and much of the rest of the world) will need to be fundamentally rethought over the next 5 - 10 years.  Because that's really how much time is left to us (Google "Export-Land Model" if you want the basis for that calculation.)

      You can excoriate me as a yuppie (I'm not) our of touch with the American mainstream all you want, but the external physical constraints won't really care all that much.

      Or you can spend some time and effort to find ways to minimize the impact as far as is still possible in the time remaining to us.

      •  I'll happily place a bet... (0+ / 0-)

        I will happily bet a tank of gas that both the US and the world will choose to ignore the problem and continue down the current path rather than "fundamentally rethink pretty much everything that's been built in the next 5-10 years".

        If that means setting ourselves up for total catastrophe in 25 years, that's what it means.  I am quite comfortable with my bet that the political systems in the US, China, India, etc. will not make fundamental painful changes in the next 5 to 10 years.  

        If the immediate issue is the price of liquid fuels alone, I would bet another tank of gas that we pursue options like shale oil, coal-based methanol, or crazy biofuel schemes rather than fundamentally rethink everything ever built in the next 5-10 years.

        When truly catastrophic events start affecting Americans, they we may see change.  But those aren't coming within 10 years.  Maybe really bad times for Bangladeshis, Africans, or Pacific Islanders, but mere annoyances for the US.  Now 100 years out with Manhattan threatened by sewater, maybe, but fundamental change within 10 years?  Name your bet, I'll take it.

    •  ignorance does not change reality (0+ / 0-)

      If we all convince ourselves that Peak Oil won't happen, then we don't have to plan and prepare for the consequences of it!

      Sure you do.  You've merely convinced yourself of a falsehood.

      Oklahoma congresscritters thus don't change reality.

      •  Touché (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Albanius, unclebucky, BYw, cheinke

        And I'll simply say, you don not understand the big picture of how well planned mass transit systems work (if you've never been outside North American that wouldn't be surprising).

        Well integrated mass transit can manage various densities of usage and your statement

        Trying to overshoot the mark, and manhattanize the rest of the country, will fail.

        speaks volumes about your lack on knowledge on the subject.

        The frame around that picture is exactly what auto and oil companines promoted and you buy into it.  However, the crumbling infrastructre of the US means it spends more each year with zero growth in actual capacity and continiously decining average speeds on highways.

        That is an opportunity you appearently fail to recognize; that by investing a greater share in mass transit (rail mainly) the problem is eventually solved rather than perpetuated.

        Many countries already recognize that and increasingly invest is mass transit over more crumbling highways.  Cut off 2 lanes of a highway to build a high speed light rail and the capacity is immediately increased and average time reduced (at least for the smart people riding the train).

        What will happen if the US fails to change, and finds itself stranded 20-50 years from now as a backward nation with antiquated transportation?

        Fortunately, the Obama Admiinistration disagrees with you. I'm not confident they have the big picture nailed-down, but at least mass transit is an issue now and some of the stimulus package will go there.

        China can do it but the US can't?

        Have you ever visited a country region with modern mass transit?

        If you haven't, let me give you a start: Use the key words "mass transit" and "Rail" as search criteria for Diaries from 3 years ago to the present.  In that time a number of excellent diaries have been posted that might open you eyes.

        No one who approached a situation with fixed, unbendable ideas ever invented something new or improved anything, that is for "idealists" apperently.

        Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

        by koNko on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 04:04:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have (0+ / 0-)

          I lived in Europe for two years (UK and Austria).  Europeans are fantastically more willing than Americans to walk more than 100 meters.

          And even in Europe, it did not escape my notice that the trend is towards development that is more auto-oriented, more dispersed, with more big-box stores and larger houses.  

          •  In the UK it is. (0+ / 0-)

            And so the UK is getting (has?) the same suburban/urban gridlock that the US sufferes.

            However, I do understand BR has now got funding to upgrade some express lines and the city taking measures to get things under control with electronic road pricing and inproving the Metros.

            When did you live in the UK?  For about the past 10 years they had a big financial boom (now over) that really did boost over-consumption but thoses days seem to be gone.

            Your observation on big box stores is interesting.  This phenomina of globalization seems to have affected regions in different ways. As you note, in the US and parts of Europe it seems to go hand-in-hand with Auto oriented transportation/development.

            In Asia, particularly China it has had almost the opposite effect since the Big Boxes soon realized building huge stores in the middle of nowhere accomplished only that. So they have evolved into (a) smaller stores in established market areas (already served by mass transit) and; (b) big main stores, maybe 1 or 2 per city, located above major train stations.

            Both Japan and China developed rail in the late 19th Century with many of the major lines owned by Import-Export Companies or Merchants. Most of the subways in Tokyo were built by Department Stores whith major branches at both ends of the lines (originally) with your return trip covered by coupons from purchases in the stores.

            This is the root of the modern TOD (Transit Oriented Development) model and when I lived in Germany I found they had a similar history in some cities.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 07:58:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Ummmm so when does a finite supply become (0+ / 0-)


        Are you nuts?

        Peak Oil is well-demonstrated. And whether it happens 20 or 50 years from now, that is insignificant.

        Zillions of years (OK, 4.5 billions) of accretion of oil and other resources on this Earth AND IN ONLY 100-200 YEARS WE HAVE ACED IT.

        (Volume down).

        So what is your solution? Particularly when the oil (zzzzzzzzzzzippp!) really does disappear suddenly? Pal, you are looking at a die-off. Quite simply.

        But if we put into action all of these strategies:

        1. Sustainable living.
        1. Environmental restoration.
        1. Population control and eventual reduction.
        1. Re-localization and closing down global capitalism.
        1. Setting 10,000 year goals instead of quarterly goals.

        We might avert the die-off of both humans and the planet.

        Ugh. --UB.

        •  did you read my post? (0+ / 0-)

          I was not denying Peak Oil or for that matter global warming.  I was saying that even if somebody denies it, their denial does not become the truth.  It is real.

          Deniers fail to plan for that which they should be planning for.

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