Usually, I avoid using the car. I am scared off by stop-and-go-traffic, by hyperactive pushing and pressing motorists, by tantalizing long-lasting quests for parking-place. Notwithstanding using the car could be convenient, I prefer the public transport facilities. I am virtually certain, that taking the car waste my time, because I am detained from reading the newspapers, from going over my notes and so on. Once, the car was a good place to hear music and motoring was a charming opportunity to listen to music. But obviously most people in the meantime are equipped with I-Pods and other players, so this insular effect of the car has gone by. It is a relic of pre-digital times. Apart from a few execeptions, the cannonade of motoring Hip-Hop and Techno pilgrims, the car ceased to be a hifi-studio or concert hall. Poor Car-Hifi-Business in the dusk.
Rather, I want to convey, that I never seized the idea of contributing to the mitigation of climate change, whereas sitting in the interurban train reading the newspaper (sometimes an article about the climate change).
Quite recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published the Summary of Policymakers (SPM) of the Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change) (WG III) . This SPM is part of the IPCC’s Forth Assessment Report on Climate Change. On page 13 of the SPM (WG III) we find a table, informing about the key mitigation technologies and practices by sector. It specifies energy supply, transport, buildings, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste. The authors declaim that a key mitigation technology and practice currently commercially available in the sector transport is, beside more fuel efficient vehicles and so on, the non-motorised transport (cycling, walking). –> Peace of conscience (and anyway not moneyed enough to buy a car :-)).
For me more intriguing is the question, if you can help protecting the climate by strolling. – Surely not, because strolling is not primarily purposive, like getting from A to B. Strolling does not belong to the normal course of life – the clock-dominated periods of time you have to be mobile, duly at a certain place, and never forget to run errands. Strolling is a leisure-time pursuit. Hence the authors of the SPM (WG III) does not mean, we should harvest time, decelerate, in order to stroll and, by the way, mitigate the climate change. They want us to think about the car, its efficiency, about the exigency of using it, about the possibilities to leave it.
In the SPM (WG III) we find another table (p 30) with selected sectoral policies, measures and instruments that have shown to be environmentally effective in the respective sector. For transport the authors register the influence mobility needs through land use regulations and infrastructure planning and the investment in attractive public transport facilities and non-motorised forms of transport.
And it is just this aspect to which strolling in conjunction with a scientific rationale can contribute. Why? Because strolling offers a bottom-up cartographic perspective, a direct nearness to mobility patterns of everyday life, Strolling affords experiences about distances, hindrances, constraints, spatial beats and rhythms. Systematic strolling (I would like to call this activity spaceflaneuring) can fertilize urban, regional and transport planning.