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Synthesis/Regeneration 46   (Summer 2008)

Letter: Cars are Unsafe at Any Speed

by Doctress Neutopia


Green industries are promoting the use of alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, to energize cars. Well-meaning celebrities and conscious citizens drive around in such alternative fuel vehicles. A popular documentary, What Happened to the Electric Car?, tells the story of the virtues of electric cars and how the petroleum corporations killed plans for their mass production because of fear of losing their competitive edge.

Converting cars to alternative fuels doesn't make less traffic congestion or end car-related deaths. It doesn't address the issue of 60% of urban landscape gobbled up for car use. It doesn't solve the problem that arises under a class system of "car haves" and "car have-nots." Alternative fuel cars don't liberate people from the slavery of needing a car because of poorly run or non-existent public transportation networks within urban sprawl environments.

When Ralph Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed, it changed the consciousness of the American people and demanded that the auto industry build safer vehicles. But his activism didn't solve the problem of automobiles because it didn't go to the root cause of the problem. Cars are unsafe at any speed. Thus, cars are the wrong concept for our collective transportation needs. Not only does our addiction to fossil fuel cause wars abroad, but a war against nature at home. The private automobile has made it possible to destroy acres upon acres of land to build single-family developments that are totally dependent on the car economy.

To evolve out of the traffic-jam, obese lifestyle of fast foods and corporate greed, we need to embrace the idea of the sacred arcology and build a car-free urban environment. Environmentalists united with this Great Cause could move the world's resources into building cities designed with evolutionary architecture in which transportation hubs are integral parts of the overall ecocity plan. Arcological, holistic city designs incorporate transportation into the city like veins in our bodies are used to circulate blood.

The good life is the car-free life of transportation networks within solar-powered arcologies. I challenge Mr. Ralph Nader to work with me and others to bring arcology to the American public. This radical vision is the way I see we can defeat the "imperial presidency" both of the Bushes and the Clintons.

Doctress Neutopia

[13 may 08]

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