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The Road Worrier

The Road Worrier

Final preparations for moving the donkey foals are upon me, which has me sorting out the logistics of getting them safely home. The breeder lives less than a kilometre away, which originally made me wonder if they could be walked over but the open road is just too dangerous. If it was just a risk of them getting spooked by a sound it would be fine, but the chance of a deadly encounter with a high-speed car is too high. Instead we will be forced to load them in a horse float to be dragged by a one ton vehicle, pushed along by oil based fuel imported from another continent.

This state of affairs is a relatively recent occurrence. For most of human history the roads were one of many common spaces which were used for a wide variety of activities, not just zooming from one place to another at maximum velocity. They were places where people socialised and worked without constant fear of mortal injury. Sometimes a small section of road will be roped off for people to enjoy for a festival, but that is becoming less common over time with an army of angry motorists waiting to whine about the inconvenience.

Despite all the apparent advances in personal transportation we are really no better off. The average speed of transport in London is the same today as it was centuries ago thanks to the ever-growing congestion. The average daily commute is about the same as it was for urban citizens of the Roman empire, only everything is further apart now since everyone is assumed to have ready access to a personal vehicle. The fuel that goes into cars and the pollution that comes out of them is orders of magnitude more toxic and carcinogenic than glyphosate or endocrine disruptors, but we have built such a car dependent society over the last century that nobody can even contemplate getting rid of them.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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