Think the oil we put in our cars has nothing to do with the obesity epidemic? Think again. Instead of burning fatty oils in our bodies while we get around using man power, we burn oil from the Middle East to power our cars and let the natural fats in our bodies build up until they kill us. Riding a bicycle to school or work is the fastest why to get in shape and it is the most environmentally responsible form of transportation. Public Transit also forces you to walk and get at least some cardiovascular exercise while having only a minimal effect on the environment.
Why don’t we encourage these forms of transportation more? Expanding their use will help reduce the obesity epidemic, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and reduce air pollution. Kill three birds with one stone. Here’s my plan: give everyone bicycle vouchers allowing them to purchases a bicycle at little or no cost to them. Then have public facilities for bicycle maintenance and repair so if a bicycle is damaged it can be fixed easily.
Next, we must improve public transit. Bicycling is great, but it isn’t plausible in many situations, and it can’t be used as anyone’s sole from of transportation. A safe and efficient public transit system is imperative to reducing the use of cars in our culture. Improving public transit and encouraging people to use it can be done by imposing a gas tax on all personal vehicles within the area the public transit system servers; then using that money to fund the public transit system. The advantage to this is that the tax doesn’t affect public transit vehicles themselves, or people who don’t have access to public transit. Using public transit isn’t nearly as good exercise as riding a bike, but it does force it’s users to walk at least a little whenever they go out, which would do a good deal to help with the obesity epidemic. Even a little exercise everyday can go a long way in preventing obesity.
Last but not least, we have to stop subsidizing the suburbs. The suburbs must carry their own weight instead forcing cities dwellers to pay for their use of our services. If someone lives in a locality different locality than they work in, they should be forced to pay taxes to both locations unless they live within 5 miles of their work, don’t own a motor vehicle, or in certain other extenuating circumstances (in these cases they would pay half taxes in each location). If people were financially encouraged to live closer to their work, it would be easier for them to use alternative methods of transportation which are healthier, better the environment, and don’t unnecessarily deplete our fossil fuel resources.