Saturday, July 02, 2005

Senseless Driving

Weekend mornings in Carrboro are full of life. Saturday is the day of the farmers' market and the city is bustling as hordes flock the market in search of local, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, flowers, and hand-made goods. Such conviviality centered around farmers' and artisans' labors is contagious and fills me with good feeling. Leaving the market, however, my mood changes as I notice the masses of cars in which people arrived at the market.

It doesn't make sense to me that people would choose to get in a car and distance themselves from their environment, at the cost of our environment, just to be more expedient. Even less sense that makes when the trip is to buy fresh, locally produced food, which symbolizes care and nuturing of the earth.

My best explanation is that most people are not choosing to drive. It's just our habit: we drive. Since most people do it, then it must be okay: so then we do it and it becomes our routine. When something becomes "normal", we rarely think about the fact that there are alternatives. Norms become entrenched, even if they don't make sense from an individual's perspective.

I would like to change that norm for as many people as I can. The idea I had today was to set up a booth at the market and pay people to fill out a questionare about why they drove to the market. Another idea was to set up a booth where I would offer people money to bike or walk to the market the next week. I probably can't afford to provide that incentive, though, so I will keep on thinking.