Nov. 28th, 2014

semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
Saw a tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson in my TL retweeted by someone (though I could SWEAR I had been following him directly - nevermind, the weird add/drop bug of Twitter is another matter entirely) and it was:

"Odd that drivers of fuel efficient cars often get more green-praise than those who chose to live where they can walk to work."

A few people jumped in with things that make a one-off statement like this seem truly uninformed over economic truths:

@Hidoshi said that "the flip side is that a lot of people can't afford to live close to where they work thanks to housing prices in cities"

@Dracos_snitch said it's "probably because it's harder to find a place to live close to work when you also have other needs for you and your family."

@RationalPastime called Neil to the carpet by saying it was "odd that you think living close to work is a choice for most people" and then Neil was further mocked by @SoundCheckMama when she commented "If only we could all live where we work. Or work where we live.

My knee-jerk reaction was to think backward to when we purchased the house my family is currently living in. A house that we chose because it was halfway between my job and my spouse's job (at the time.) Although my spouse has moved on to another position that is - mostly - in the same direction of my job but much closer. I would LOVE to live closer to my job (either halfway between or closest to mine since I have less incentive to job hop in my profession) but this is where we are stuck.

Just after we bought the house, the market crashed hard. I saw it coming and was able to make sure we purchased something at a price low enough that we wouldn't go underwater, though we've come close a couple of times according to Zillow...

I live in an area of my city that has NO sidewalks - though it IS on the sidewalk master plan for the city and will "eventually" get them. The road is marked as a 25mph "country road" but, since it is constantly used as a thruway between one side of the city as another, people tend to drive an average of 10-15mph over the limit, even on the hairpin turns. This isn't discoverable until you move in and have lived on the street for a while. This results in a dearth of walking or bike riding because all the surrounding roads are like this as well.

Another thought that popped into my head is that I didn't pay any more for my hybrid car than the regular version of the vehicle, JUST AFTER the tax break for purchasing hybrid vehicles lapsed. Yes, I drive a hybrid, in a culture that requires you to have a vehicle to go anywhere (safely) and I would love to move closer to my job, and have access to sidewalks, and bicycle trails, and food shopping within walking distance, etcetera, etcetera. Heck, I'd love for even the rumored high-speed commuter rail line that supposed to connect all the way up to Montreal to get built posthaste.

MOST OF AMERICA IS NOT BUILT TO FIT IN WITH WHATEVER YOU ARE THINKING NEIL, OR WHATEVER WELLSPRING YOU ARE DUNKING THAT BUCKET FROM WHICH YOU'RE DRINKING. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT I CHOSE, IT IS SOMETHING THAT I WAS BORN INTO AND MY VOTE HAS NEVER RESULTED IN MY LIVING ENVIRONMENT CHANGING INTO SOMETHING FRIENDLIER TO THE ENVIRONMENT AT LARGE.

Maybe the green-praise is by working from within the system that we are stuck in and making the most acceptable choice that we can live with, within our individual circumstances. I'd like to sum this tirade up with what @anneleonard said:

"Choosing to live where one can walk to work is a privilege."

Check your privilege, Neil.

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