At Green Night Out on November 13, Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler, explained to the gathered diners the role in our society played by the automobile. Mugyenyi said that, "We know you already understand how cars are spoiling our environment, but the actual situation is far worse. Cars dominate our physical space, our culture and our economy."
The two authors recently published their thoughts in "Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay." [Available from Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Stop-Signs-Capitalism-Economic-Ecological/dp/1552663841/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321201802&sr=1-1.] With regard to the automobile's domination of our physical space, Mugyenyi says, "exurban housing tracts, malls, Wal-Mart, restaurant chains, even schools have popped up on exurban farmland because of the automobile."
Engler pointed to our "Car Keynesianism," which inspires politicians from the two corporate parties to "build and repair roads and bridges to create jobs." They could build hospitals, schools and libraries, but we live in a car culture. "Whether you're at a party, online, at the mall, playing videogames, at the movies or even writing checks, there is an endless promotion of both car brand names and automobility," says Engler. "Car advertisers have conquered nearly every sphere of human consciousness."
Muygenyi continued, "It is unlikely that the U.S. economy could have survived without the explosion of the exurbs and their ripple effects on business."
When asked for a solution, Engler said, "The solution will be political. We must organize a strong anti-car voting block, which will free us from the control of auto-friendly politicians."
Green Night Out takes place monthly at Singapore Kosher Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant, www.singaporevegetarian.com. Green Night Out is sponsored by the Green Party of Philadelphia, www.gpop.org. For more information about future Green Nights Out, please contact 215-243-7103.