Why I’m over 50 and don’t drive

In 1986, I first heard about greenhouse gases, the hole in the ozone layer, the loss of native habitat and species, etc.

My father and I were sitting at the kitchen table and ABC Radio was on. I was home for the holidays from university and doing some drawing.

David Suzuki was talking about the tonnes of glass and plastic bottles going into landfill.

My father sat there, elbows on the table, with his hands over his eyes and face.

I’d never seen him do anything like that. It brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat every time I remember that day in 1986.

We first started recycling (which was newspaper) in 1988 in Melbourne. Our first kerbside recycling bins appeared in 1989.

I have never gone for my drivers licence since hearing David Suzuki.

I’ve been using public transport and walking when I need to go somewhere on my own.

I was pushed to try to learn to drive when living on the farm again for a short while, and reluctantly attempted it. Driving is hard. I managed to crush the passenger side door by not gauging the width of a farm gate correctly. Accidents happen so easily. Cars are dangerous. Would you crowd-fund a car if it were invented now?

A car is a luxury enclosed racing wheelchair for rich people – Mr Money Mustache.

 

Dad died in 1997.

He never lived to see the big changes.

Change began in small increments.  But change is exponential.

It’s taken so long to transition to what we’re doing to try to stop burning the planet now.

Extinction Rebellion made people talk, think, and act.

As Greta Thunberg said in New York, “Once we start to act, hope is everywhere”.

Travelling by public transport has been difficult when living in a country town trying to get to cities.  

We need more services, more often.  People literally suffer due to the lack of them.

Within our small town, I live near the CBD and get exercise and health benefits from walking.

When I decided not to get my licence at 18 I was living in Melbourne which has trams, trains, and buses and I found it fairly straightforward to use them.

That experience served me well.

In the past 12 months I’ve been contacting all the organisations that are meant to be in charge of public transport in Victoria, Australia.

I’ve been told by one that a review hasn’t been done in 50 years, and should be happening in 2020.  Another said no reviews are planned.

I lost count at 13 organisations I contacted.  I won’t name and shame.

I’m sure everyone is just as frustrated by the patchwork of changes that have been attempted over the years as I am.

Now COVID-19 has tossed everything including this up in the air.

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