Stop Your Grumbling and Change Things!
I’ve had it. We have the option for change and we’re too damn lazy to use it
2020 is shaping up to be a big year. England is about to end its second lockdown and go back to a tiered system of restrictions. It’s been disastrous, deadly and sometimes amazing. There’s been an unprecedented amount of unprecedented things.
Like the quiet life?
It seems to me that there is a general feeling amonst people. A feeling that has been exressed regularly on social media, Medium and the news. People liked the world being quiet. They liked hearing the birds and seeing more wildlife.
During the first lockdown, I did a survey to see how people felt. 92% of the responses used their car less during lockdown than they did before. 61% were willing to use their car less after lockdown. That’s a lot more than I expected. When I asked people why they were not willing to use their car less after lockdown the answers were interesting. Some people had jobs that required driving (commuting or travelling to customers), a couple of respondents lived in remote locations and couldn’t get anywhere without their car.
Most people gave me ideas for using their cars less. Quite a few wanted to continue walking or cycling and were enjoying the reduced traffic.
I asked people what they would be willing to do to reduce their car use. Only 18% didn’t want to change their car use. The other 82% wanted to either walk, cycle or use public transport to things like shops, gyms and family visits.
The results were very interesting. There was a definite appetite for change.
I remember one day, as the first lockdown was lifted, going out and tasting pollution. I hadn’t noticed that the taste had gone, but I knew when it returned.
During this lockdown, in my town, car usage hasn’t changed much from pre-lockdown. And people are still grumbling about it on social media! That makes me think that we want to have a quieter, simpler life but we’re not capable of actually doing it.
People whinge about air pollution, about the number of cars on the roads and how nice it was when everything was quieter, but then they drive to town or to the supermarket! It doesn’t make sense.
What happened to all of those people who liked the quiet and wanted to walk more? Why are they still in their cars?
It’s difficult to get good statistics about it, but I have a strong suspicion. I think everyone wants everyone else to do it. I see people on social media complaining about the volume of traffic, but does that equate to action? Do people complain about traffic and pollution, then drive the 15 minute walk into town? Or pop in the car to the dog groomer which is a 10 minute walk away.
Do these people realise how hypocritical they’re being? I suspect not. Not many people like being hypocrites, most of us do it by accident!
I think that people have always driven to the dog groomers/shop/gym, so now it’s reopened they are doing what they always did. It’s just habit. They get stuck in traffic and complain about the number of cars out there, not considering that they are creating the traffic themselves!
This is insane! The human race needs a damn big slap to bring it back to its senses! I thought the pandemic was doing that, but it seems it wasn’t slappy enough!
I have a solution.
For almost everyone, life is not normal at the moment. Not like pre-pandemic life. We should use that to re-evaluate things and set a new rule.
Golden Rule: Do not drive if your journey is less than a 20 minute walk.
- This might take a bit of planning, but it’s a good time to do it! Is the school less than 20 minutes away? Then walk. Is the shop near enough? Grab a rucksack and walk. If you walk to the gym you might not need to spend as long in there!
- No excuses for the weather. Get a waterproof coat and gloves. Walking will warm you up.
- The only excuse is when transporting something you couldn’t do on foot. Like taking your broken TV to the household recycling centre.
I think that if we all did this our towns and cities would be much nicer and our air would be cleaner. We might start noticing wildlife again — because we’d be out there with it!