Friday, October 20, 2017

Roads, fumes & automobiles

Just a little furry body slumped on the highway.

Globally adored but a dead nuisance in Australia, my heart broke as I passed.

That little koala like so many of our native animals did not stand a chance on the huge enormous 'road project' that is New South Wales.

The current Liberal/National State Government has sold off our valuable and historical public assets across the state to the tune of $9 billion and is now pouring that money into road infrastructure. We quarry indiscriminately, we move mountains all round the countryside, and we cause an inordinate amount of stress to people, animals and plants as we destroy their homes.

That we kill ourselves through road trauma and vehicle emissions is a fact that appears not to alarm our politicians.

That we also kill our native fauna and flora through road trauma and vehicle emissions is a fact that seems to have conveniently escaped them, though the extreme amount of road kill we see on our roads ought to serve as a visual reminder of their glaring political failure to think about transport in terms other than road building.

 Prima facie our addiction to never-ending road construction must stop.

Vehicle emissions on their own cause 40% more deaths than road toll, and whilst politicians may not have turned their minds to the welfare of our fellow planet travellers, academics are raising the spectre that wildlife does not escape the toxic vehicle emission peril either.

The 'failure' of our governments at all levels to "invest in efficient transport infrastructure" instead of roads continues to cause deadly air pollution.

The oil lobby is strong, and politicians in Australia dance to its tune. Consequently barriers to 'efficient transport infrastructure' (other than roads and automobiles) have been strategically inserted into the Australian transport mix, and this approach has neatly ensured a strangle-hold transport monopoly for Big Oil.

That Honda funds a hospital trauma research program is a 'case in point' in relation to Australia’s political commitment to roads and oil.

That bicycle helmets are still compulsory notwithstanding that the only things bicycle helmets are really proven to protect you from are fines (and perhaps police harassment too) equally shines a light on Australia’s political infatuation with roads and oil.

After 57 years of riding a bicycle, more than 40 court appearances resulting in 7 criminal convictions for not wearing an arguably ‘not-fit-for-purpose’ plastic hat whilst riding a bicycle, and with three more court cases pending for same offence, my preferred mode of transport has come to an end.

I have parked my bicycle in the garden shed.

Ostensibly Australia is the poorer for my action because I, like so many other defeated utility cyclists, have now added one more car into this toxic mix of a country.

There is simply no so safe level of air pollution, and if we keep building roads and their attendant infrastructure our future will be as terminal as that poor little koala’s.

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