Orson Scott Card: Life Without Cars

Climate Change

I wrote in a piece for Episcopal Cafe about some of the ways that I think cars changed the way we do Church now-a-days.

Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite authors, has written a manifesto of sorts on ways we might step back from the changes the automobile has had on our larger society. Given the effects that our suburban lifestyle is having on the rate of climate change and the rest of the environment, this whole article excerpted below is worth your time to read:

Link: Civilization Watch – April 8, 2007 – Life Without Cars – The Ornery American.

Politics and the free market got us where into the oil-burning, car-trapped mess we’re in.

But if we reversed government policies and started encouraging carless or low-car neighborhoods, we already know that people flock to such neighborhoods wherever they exist, and property values rise.

If we were allowed to create real towns and cities again, following the living patterns humans have chosen for themselves for thousands of years, it would be profitable and it would cut down oil consumption while raising productivity and freeing up resources for consumers to buy more.

It can’t be done by half-measures. Greensboro’s many pathetic attempts at reviving downtown provide case studies in failure. It takes intelligent cooperation between government, business, and developers to create walking neighborhoods — but it can be done at no greater cost than the destructive patterns that zoning laws force on us right now.

It also takes a public that is sick to death of living in cars instead of our homes, of having our children and young people die at a rate that would be intolerable in war, of being held hostage to enemy nations.

But if we make it a noble national cause to change our living patterns so we can drive less than half as much as we do now, we could absolutely transform our cities and towns — and our lives — in a decade.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. I’m sorry but in many places I lived without a car, I just wouldn’t go to church given the attitudes toward gay people in several of the local options. The “real” towns and “real” churches of some of those places were “real” as long as they could treat people like me like garbage.

  2. I used to really like OSC until I found out he was a Mormon and I began to see Mormon themes in just about everything he wrote that I had formerly liked. That sort of ruined him for me.

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