Monday, October 15, 2007

I had meant to get this up during the 15th here but we got busy painting and by time the end of the day rolled around (little painting humor) my hands weren't working so well. But I wanted to do my little bit for the environment on Blog Action Day.

We live on a hot tropical island that is beginning to see the effects of global warming. Its nice. The rains are going to come but surely they get later every year. The dry season stretches a little longer and the heat is a little more intense. But what I want to take issue with is city structure.

Urbanites here are getting more and more into cars. Public transport is incredibly slow and tiresome. Unreliable is the action word. To make matters worse its also just plain overcrowded. Nice urbanites looking to get to their job on time and wanting to look professional once they get there are not going to be taking existing public transport. Our city has no taxis, no idea why, only minivans. Minivans with 20 people on them. Still we take the minivans because we don't have a car and it can be quite a distance to the shopping areas. Normally we take @'s stroller if he is coming with us which I'm sure adds to the congested bus problem. Second mode of transport that everyone and there aunt uses: motorbikes. Everyone has one and rarely are they "green" but they get people around faster and cleaner. Safely is a question for another day.

We walk alot. We don't have a motorbike and between bus stops can be a long wait so we walk when possible. The last week its been nearly impossible. The traffic has been through the roof with the holiday on and that means more people driving badly. Sadly what it also means is more street sellers on the sidewalks. The sidewalks are ample, they're huge until you have grannie looking to set up a food stall next to young man setting up a fireworks stall next to Auntie selling homemade sweets in yet another stall. The food vendors also set up a table and chairs for their customers and a tarp lean-to so you don't get too much sun. You have to walk down the sidewalk single file! Ridiculous. So @'s stroller doesn't fit either which means a lot of walking in the very unsafe street. The only place that there are no sidewalk stalls are on the very broken uneven spots of the sidewalk where you could very easily break a leg in the holes and cracks.

Here's where the environmental issue comes in: if I can't walk safely down the sidewalk in a less crowded manner, I want to buy a vehicle and shop at SuperCenter X that probably doesn't support the local farmer by buying locally grown veggies. SuperCenter X is shipping my veggies to be using lots of fuels to get the product to market. So a note to city planners and city leaders that want to do their part: SIDEWALKS!! People won't walk if they can't physically do it. Ban sellers on the sidewalk or make an ordinance. Fix the sidewalks, keep them in good repair. And to the US city planners: BUILD SIDEWALKS! When we lived in the states, our neighborhood didn't have a sidewalk. We could have walked to the library but without a sidewalk that puts us in the street with traffic.

Help the Earth Breathe, Walk on a sidewalk.

That is what we have for you today.
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