Time for change, but will we?

When I was growing up in Lincoln in the 1950s, most people cycled, walked or caught the bus to work, few had cars. Cycling was safe. There was no air pollution, once the old coal-powered gasworks closed.

Even ten years later, when I visited Lincoln in the 1960s, the main route into town was beginning to be clogged with cars. Another decade and cycling was becoming a thing of the past. It was becoming dangerous, particularly as lorries got bigger and bigger.

Of course this pattern recurred in towns and cities all over the UK, and air pollution became endemic, particularly when there was the ill-advised shift to diesel fuels. The car was king and all bowed before it. Air became polluted and there was a surge in cases of asthma. Strangely, government did little about it, although some cities did a fair amount, within their allowed powers.

Then came covid-19 and lockdown. Suddenly air was clean, roads were quiet, it was safe to cycle. People were exhorted to cycle or walk and avoid cars and public transport. It was like the 1950s again.

Of course the natural reaction of government is to try to re-establish the status quo ante, because that was when the economy ‘worked’. But it didn’t – see inequality, polluted air, climate breakdown and covid.

So we really do need to take stock and set course for a more sensible world that is based on real needs of people and nature, not just on ‘the economy.’ All the ideas are there – green new deals, basic income, move to renewable energy, sovereign money,…

We just need to get on with it. But will we?

Photo of Lincoln High Street near St Peter’s from Francis Frith website – go visit.

 

6 thoughts on “Time for change, but will we?

  1. I remember cycling to Lincoln and York from Birmingham, back in the 60s. Traffic was never a problem then. No angry motorists, only when it was windy and big trucks passed me blocking crosswinds was it occasionally precarious. It would be nice to relive those days even if only through a younger generation. However I fear those days are gone forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the look back but I really don’t think our government or a majority of us will want to revert even though we all know it would be better for both humanity and Nature. I am an optimist by nature but when it comes to humanity I think I am much more pragmatic as I too often see the stupid side of us which has become blinded by the ever increasing “want” for more of everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Wayne. Yes, we can’t actually go back. But we can learn and go forward to do things better for ourselves and the environment, and perhaps get more balance, so there’s not so much dashing about for the sake of it.

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  4. Very great insight! I find it disturbing too that people of authority only thinks about the economy (undoubtedly because they’d most probably loose power, and basically everything they care about) when it crashes. Problem is, they are only a few who benefit — a few who set the status quo. And it feels like the only thing we could do is to follow. I couldn’t agree more with you about the importance of actually caring for “real issues”. It is heartbreaking. The best way I could think of is just to help those in need the best way that I can, take care of myself, and as for moving on… Maybe we will, eventually, out of survival instincts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting Camille. Yes it takes something big to cause change by necessity. Otherwise the inertia at the top is very difficult to overcome. Is covid big enough? I don’t know. Climate breakdown will be.

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