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Living Less Unsustainably: Travel

The top of a dusty and dirty blue car.
John Fischer
A car owners' association recommends washing your car every three days- "never more than a week.” This practice uses more resources, and can add to the carbon footprint caused by vehicles.

Hi All, Climate Master John Fischer here with KLCC's Living Less Unsustainably.

Fashion and falsehoods can do strange things to us. The penchant for beaver hats in the 18th and 19th centuries nearly wiped out our state animal - before statehood. And bloodletting likely hastened the death of the first president of the United States.

Now, a perfect storm of vanity, peer pressure, and economics has transformed the automobile from a transportation tool into an enemy of those it is supposed to serve.

I'm not talking about the obvious petroleum burning, emissions belching side of your car, I want to remind you of its more insidious problems.

Here's a quote about the meaning of an unwashed car: "The appearance of your car is important because it can define a person's perspective of you." This from a carwash owner’s association. They recommend washing your car every three days- "never more than a week.”

Meanwhile, from the "crazy things dads do" files- talking about a car left unwashed for two decades - once it was cleaned, the paint looked "like the day it came out the showroom."

Dent repair used to be the body shops trade. Now, largely due to insurance company insistence- which might be influenced by auto parts maker’s insistence, a dinged fender will be replaced- not repaired. What a waste of resources.

Many cities including Eugene and Springfield require on and off street parking for buildings. There are six times as many parking spots in the country than there are cars. Fortunately, new state laws are mandating that less land be set aside for parking. Eugene's hearing on "Climate Friendly" parking amendments is Monday, Sept.18.

There are signs of progress. The South Willamette Street road diet barely affected traffic flow, but not adding lanes means less pavement, and more room- safer room- for bikes and pedestrians.

I'm John Fischer with Living Less Unsustainably.

John Fischer is a Master Gardener and Master Recycler and the host of KLCC's Good Gardening and Living Less Unsustainably.