WEEKLY Q: Why do we need roads?
I have decided to start a new regular mid-week section. Every week I will ask a provocative (in theory) question to (hopefully) stimulate debate on a green issue. Please do feel free to nominate questions (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
First up we have:
Why do we need roads?
A good friend on mine (Wassup Pep) was visiting this week from San Francisco and we talked about a lot of great stuff including a book he told me about that I must read, Collapse, by Jared Diamond (am wading through Ancient Sunlight right now which seems to cover some similar ground at a glance...thoughts anyone?) but one question he asked just stuck with me. So simple and clear.
Why do we need roads? And I do not mean why can't all cars just go off-road (heaven forbid!!!). I ask the question on a deeper level.
Why has society developed to the point where we are so widely separated from our daily requirements that we need roads to move food, to visit friends, to commute to work & to take our kids to school?
I am not saying we should all have everything we need within 5 miles...not an extremist about it. But why is everything so spread out? Seriously.
Surely my life and society/community would be better off if kids went to a school that was only a 5 minute walk away, if parents worked mostly from home, if most of our food was produced locally and if most of our friends and family lived nearby. What would the negatives to that scenario be?
So why has it turned out the other way? Has, for example, the motor industry and any other relevant special interests, played a role in defining how our communities have developed?
He asked the question because we were talking about the fake elements of our world we are told we need when perhaps we should regularly re-evaluate such needs. Do we need it? Who benefits the most? Who benefits the least? Are there alternatives? What are the pros and cons either way?
There are probably no right or wrong answers but I think debate on these sorts of issues are crucial. Questions should be asked. Assumptions should be assessed.
Look forward to your thoughts.