'TAKING THE BUS,'
IT TURNS OUT,
IS A METAPHOR
This is not a post about taking the bus. That's the post I meant to write all right--full of helpful stuff about Google maps, schedules, trip-planning and fares.
But the more I wrote of that post, the more it had the sound of whistling in the dark, or the sound of a fiddle being played as Rome burns--'Rome' in this case being our planet, of course. All at once, 'taking the bus' seemed to be about something much larger than mass transit.
So then, switching to a more earnest tone, I started to write about taking the bus (or the train, ferry or other public conveyance) as a plea for improved air quality, public health and citizen access to publicly owned streets and roadways.
But that approach seemed too nice, not urgent enough for a time of accelerating environmental degradation (as well as accelerating degradation of the economy, of the infrastructure, and of the social safety net).
My final effort, a commentary on Public Transportation and Socioeconomic Class, stated some obvious truths about middle-class resistance to using mass transit. But it was too dark and too critical in tone to be particularly helpful.
What I haven't done so far--and will try to do now--is to say what I mean: We have to change the way we live.
EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE
That old R&B song title has a very contemporary ring.
But the change we most need isn't the easy stuff, like recycling or installing energy-efficient lightbulbs or buying only local produce and so eating only what's in season.
The 'everything' that must change is harder and more fundamental. It's in how we think, which influences our choices, our decisions, our actions. It's way too late to indulge what I consider unsustainable thinking. Here's a three-part example of the kind of thinking I'm talking about:
•The assumption that, by definition, all growth is good.
•The conviction that freedom is the ultimate social and economic principle.
•Rejection of the notion of shared or social responsibility.
I'll have more to say on this topic in a forthcoming post, possibly the next one.