The natural world does not need cars. The rivers, lakes, oceans, and aquifers poisoned by mining and manufacturing do not need cars, mines, or the automobile manufacturing industry. The countless other-than-human creatures killed by cars every day do not need the cars that mangle them. The land and communities destroyed by the ever-expanding encroachments of asphalt and concrete to facilitate the access of cars around the world do not need cars, mines, and the automobile manufacturing industry. The millions of humans who are killed every year by air and water pollution do not need cars, mines, or the automobile manufacturing industry. The murdered and massacred ancestors who have their eternal resting places dug up for mines and highways do not need cars, mines, or the automobile manufacturing industry. The children working in grueling conditions in mines in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo to support the automobile manufacturing industry do not need cars or mines.
“We” – the real “we”, all of us – need clean air and water, unfragmented habitat, soil that isn’t toxic. We need what cars, mines, and the automobile manufacturing industry destroy.
Humans have been human for around 250,000 years (and this number seems to keep going up). For 249,900 years, humans survived and thrived without cars. In fact, quality of life metrics commonly proclaim that traditional hunter-gatherer cultures have the highest quality of human life.
And, guess what, they never had cars.
So, who is “we”?
The people who insist “we” need cars, mines, and the automobile manufacturing industry must be referring to the privileged few humans who can afford cars in the first place. This must be true because greater sage grouse do not need cars. Vaquita porpoises do not need mines. Golden eagles do not need the automobile manufacturing industry.
And, if you don’t care about the land, about greater sage grouse, vaquita porpoises, or golden eagles, then know this: human children are forced to work and die in the mines necessary for the cars “we” need.
No, this is not an attempt to make you feel guilty about driving a car. If you’re not a corporation or government, it’s not your fault corporations and the government worked so hard for the last 100 years to create human populations dependent on car travel. You don’t need to feel guilty about that. But you do have a responsibility to work to dismantle car culture, to protect the rest of the natural world who are your better friends than the people who insist we need cars despite the destruction they cause everyone else. Don’t feel guilty for driving a car; act to build a world where the destruction cars, mines, and the automobile manufacturing industry cause is no longer possible.
Photo: Child labor in sub-Saharan Africa by Julien Harneis, CC