September 22, 2017

World Carfree Day

Yes, we live in a car dominated system. Yes, you may need a car as things are currently set up. But that doesn't mean we can't envision different, better ways of getting around that are less car focused. That is the idea behind World Carfree Day.

The following is from World Carfree Network:

Every year on or around 22 September, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society. 
But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to "normal" life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars. 
Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars…365 days a year. 
As the climate heats up, World Carfree Day is the perfect time to take the heat off the planet, and put it on city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of to the automobile.

Cars may be necessary in our car-oriented culture. If they are, they are a necessary evil. They are loud, stinky, expensive, and a huge hassle to maintain. If one had a car, but reduced the number of voluntary, or "pleasure" drives, huge gains in a cleaner environment would result. The car owner would also save money, and possibly live longer.

Car travel is one of the most dangerous things that the average person does in any given day.

Annual Global Road Crash Statistics 
- Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year (90% of deaths are in low-medium income countries), on average 3,287 deaths a day. 
- An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. 
- More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44. 
- Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.

Happy World Carfree Day. Let this be the beginning of our liberation from the tyranny of the personal automobile. Contrary to advertising hype, they are NOT "freedom machines".

Note: Happy Fall Equinox (northern hemisphere)/Spring Equinox (southern hemisphere). While the season shifts we are enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures in Nova Scotia. My acorn squash, beans, and peas started growing again, so it looks like the garden is not over yet.


  1. Hear hear. What I wouldn't give to be completely car free. I hate driving. It's expensive, polluting and irritating having to put up with all the other drivers. In my part of the world we have horrific rates of death by car (speeding, drink driving etc) which puts me off even more. The problem is (for us anyway), it's having to choose between local schools that aren't great vs a school a 12 minute drive away where the children learn to grow food, use alternative energy and tread gently on the earth. We can't afford to buy in that area and it goes. I'm painfully aware of the irony in having to make such a decision. We try to counter it by growing our own food, raising free range (hugely spoiled) chickens for eggs, and having car free days as often as possible during school holidays. IT's still a sore point with me though. I sometimes feel like I'm the only person I know who longs not for the latest car, but for NO car!

  2. Anonymous9/23/2017

    I echo Karen's sentiments. I need a car for work and the system in the UK kind of forces you into work. Public transport is OK, but it is so expensive. I would like to see most people get around by bicycle and no pressure to commute to work but as a society there does not seem much imagination for this.

  3. Anonymous9/24/2017

    I am fortunate to work from home currently, so many of my days are spent car-free (and care-free!). This has not always been the case, nor will it be the case in the near future, so I am enjoying it now. We do make every effort to consolidate trips and to build our life as close-to-home as possible. Our city just raised the day-pass for bus transportation to $5, which makes this mode of public transit unavailable to many. It's sad. And our bus stops are an embarrassment and inhumane (a lonely bench sitting int he Texas Sun). Of course, the higher-income parts of town have bus shelters and I always marvel that people seem okay with this inequality. It is a true pleasure to be at home and I am lucky to have many friends in our apartment community, and a walking/biking trail right around the corner. I fervently hope that more and more people WAKE UP and stop thinking of the car as their "right." It's a nuisance, dirty, and often a stressful way to move from place to place. Viva la small footprint! - Erin

  4. Anonymous9/25/2017

    We have designed our entire cities and suburbs around the car. Here where I live we made the decision several decades ago to rip out our train and tram tracks to make more room for cars! Now we have terrible public transport and everyone drives. What foresight....

    I don't like that feeling of being held hostage to your car, so have chosen to live somewhere I can walk everywhere (kindergarten/local cafe/supermarket/work). Of course that is much more expensive, so I do have to work a lot. Like Karen I'm aware there is another irony in choosing to live somewhere for the lifestyle benefits, then ending up stuck at work to pay for it, so you can't enjoy the lifestyle... I don't think I'm alone there though.


    1. That's exactly right Clara. For me to afford the area that's close to schools then I'd also have to work full time, Have a much larger mortgage and put my children into care. :( or I could put them into local failing schools (failing socially and academically) in the hope that those schools will get better one day. That's a risky experiment. We could take 2 different buses I guess to get to school however that would take a full hour vs a 12 minute drive, but the cost is the main issue. I've priced public transport, taxis and uber. Daily cost would be equal to what I pay PER WEEK in petrol. It's ridiculous. My children are all young so even with a special pass the cost is prohibitive. Talk about a rock sms a hard place. Our long term goal is to save for electric bikes for all of us lol

  5. There are no easy answers I've concluded. I drove 5 miles to take my recyclables to the recycling center today. Then 5 miles back. The center is off in another direction from where other places I have to drive to so trip combing wasn't possible. The word "irony" came to mind. I try to off set it by not buying things with excessive packaging and saving recyclables for months so there's less trips.

    Karen, I did the same thing, drove my daughter to a school in another area. We trade off, do the best we can with the circumstances that are presenting.
    Erin, I too am working from home now. I stayed out of it, work that is as long as I could and much longer than I should have. My situation is temporary too but I'm loving not having to drive to a job.

    1. Terri,

      Working from home is the best. I love not having to go anywhere, and being in a beautiful, nature-inspired place. Life is short.

      Combining trips is a really good idea that makes a lot of sense. It is so much more efficient, when it can be done. With a little planning we could really do a lot to cut car use. I have to drive to the dentist tomorrow. How is that for a nasty combination?

  6. " More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44. "
    Very interesting, but how old were the people who died?

    More than half of all road traffic deaths are of young adults aged from 15 to 44.


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