Last evening I was tired, grumpy and quite frankly in a hangry sort of mood. And when I am in that kind of mood, I tend to go on a rant. To be honest. I felt I had every reason to.
During my evening commute, I was reading the Evening Standard. A daily ritual now. The headline made my heart stop in its tracks.
Thousands of children going to schools which are located in highly polluted areas. Dangerously polluted areas. Every day they breath in the air which comes from industry, but most importantly: lorries, buses, CARS.
When I opened my twitter that evening, I read a few of my mentions. I read from people they “needed” their car. “Needed”. In this context I find it such an ugly word. Bordering on addiction. I have heard people proclaim they “need” their cigarettes. It feels the same. And to be honest, I got really darn angry. Upset even. My kids, people’s children, little ‘uns; their lives and health being ruined because people have forgotten how to use their legs.
Think about it! Why do people use a car? I asked this on twitter and the most common feedback was: “convenience”. Most people are so used to hopping in their metal box, sitting in traffic, because it is convenient. Read my sarcasm there?
They call it convenient, while waiting for hours on end for traffic to ease (and so causing even more pollution while idling), they pay many many pounds on petrol, insurance, tax, MOT, fines. How on earth is this convenient? How on earth can ANYONE justify this “convenience” when you know children will get properly ill from this bad habit?
And that is just what it is, a bad habit!
After my rant, the topic turned slightly. My cycling community followers were in unison that public transport/walking and cycling resulted in way more freedom. AND some other, very interesting (but in my view, quite obvious) results too. Their health improved, and it was a lot better financially. I asked my followers what they meant financially and I had people coming back to me saying they saved roughly £600-£2000 a year, because they changed their habit from car use to public transport/cycling/walking. One follower even said he cycled for nearly 40 years, saving about half a house worth of money.
You see, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you are from. Everyone can change their behaviour. And EVERYONE will benefit from this specific change. No doubt about it. Don’t let social class (yea, I have been called a yummie mummy because I cycle. I am a single parent earning about 20k/year at the moment. Hardly yummie), region, job, family status or social pressure put you off. Everyone can stop (or reduce) the use of a car. My parents have done it, my grandparents still regularly cycle.
We HAVE to make a conscience effort. And it has to start right this minute. This morning I read the following headline: Do we want this happening in London and all over England? Because we are well on the way:
So, I challenge you, who is ready to change their behaviour? Perhaps small steps. One at the time. Leave the car at home twice a week and take it from there. Who is ready to help our children, so they can breathe nice, lovely, fresh air?