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09 June 2009 @ 07:07 pm
excuse me while I have a temper tantrum.  

The following political rant is brought to you by the no-doubt actually innocuous article about an attempt at record-breaking cyclists in Dublin. It is not, despite the launch topic, really a diatribe about Ireland.

Kit gets a soapbox.
Kit puts it down.
Kit climbs up on top of it.
Kit yells, “Okay, so the Irish government wants to see “10% of all commuters being made by bicycle in the next 12 years.”
Kit says, “what a fucking weenie goal.”
Kit says, “have some balls.”
Kit says, “close down the city centre to personal traffic. let buses, taxis and cyclists come through, that’s it.”
Kit says, “improve the *fucking* infrastructure country-wide. it is never ever EVER too cold here to cycle. there should be bike paths EVERYWHERE.”
Kit says, “sell it as a tourist attraction: see ireland by bicycle”
Kit says, “sell the clean fresh irish air”
Kit says, “grow a set of *balls*, for christ’s sake. set a goal that would make an actual difference and then fucking well *support* it.”
Kit says, “hey, i know, let’s cut down on emissions by 15% by 2030! because THAT’S going to make any kind of fucking difference. try DRASTIC MEASURES. create tax relief at massive levels for people who get rid of their cars. put freecycle systems in place like they’ve got in the netherlands.”
Kit says, “fuck the little shit. do something *meaningful*, you lazy change-fearing bastard sons of bitches.”
Kit gets off her soapbox.
Kit kicks it over.
Kit stomps off.

(Trent, online where I suddenly burst out with this, had the kindness, or sense of self-preservation, to applaud, which prompted the following.)

Kit is SO TIRED of the *bullshit* Kyoto-level “oh this will make a difference” actions.
Kit says, “10%, 20% over 20 years? big FUCKING deal”
Kit says, “the united fucking states of america is capable of going from a peacetime situation to full war-machine *and back again* in less than five years.”
Kit says, “if anybody, ANYBODY, in the whole *fucking* world actually *wanted* to make a difference, they fucking well *could*.”
Kit says, “nobody wants to.”
Kit says, “they make a goddamned mockery of the things that would make a difference, things that could be changed nearly overnight. look at the fucking *auto* industry. O noes, we can’t let GM go bankrupt! o noez! but gosh, we’re not going to MAKE them turn over into a green machine because for eighteen months people might be OUT OF WORK”
Kit says, “how about RETRAINING THEM”
Kit says, “how about this: in the european island nation of malta they evidently have no unemployment benefits, per se, nor have they got local gov’t road repair sorts of things. instead, if you’re unemployed, you go out and work on the roads and get paid for that.”
Kit says, “how about doing that EVERYWHERE”

(this was followed by:)

Deborah blinks after Kit.
Deborah says “I had no idea you felt that strongly about global warming.”

Kit does, actually.
Deborah gathers. :) Why?

Deborah says “I’m just curious what makes you feel that *strongly*, rather than the usual vague agrement that it’s a good idea to prevent.”

Kit says “Because I’m from Alaska, where the effects of global warming are extremely dramatic and visible. Because I *know* people who are being forced to move upriver, whose villages are being or will have to be relocated. Because Shishmaref is drowning. Because I am *sick* of the bullshit, half-ass, *meaningless* measures taken by so-called high-minded principles like the Kyoto Protocol, whose goals are so fucking *pathetic* they might as well take astronomic-sized hairdryers down to Antarctica and turn them on the ice fields.”

Deborah says “You should take that soap box and go more public with it.”

Kit says “any kind of meaningful “more public” beyond posting on my blog would become a full-time job.”
Kit says “which some days i think would be a better use of my time than anything else i could do.”

(at this point, everyone idled to go to meetings, which is really probably for the best, as I’m hopped up enough that my hands are cold and shaking.)

(x-posted from the essential kit)

Current Mood: infuriatedinfuriated
wyvernfriendwyvernfriend on June 9th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)

ETA: When I was living in Galway I rode a bike. I would have problems using a bike in Dublin, I really regard a lot of Dublin Drivers as homicidal.

When we bought this house we made sure it was near public transport. And it is. If I want to go to work on a bus it means a minimum of a hour on two buses. By motorbike it's about 20 minutes, during rush hour.

One of the buses locally is the 239, it joins Blanchardstown Shopping Centre with Liffey Valley and doesn't run on a Sunday or Bank Holidays. Most shops when they shut early shut at 6 in Blanchardstown - the bus runs at 5:30 and 7:30. It also runs as a double decker when it should really be a smaller bus but that's a different rant.

Edited at 2009-06-09 08:47 pm (UTC)
wldhrsjen3wldhrsjen3 on June 9th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)

Earth-bound misfit: Kitten Kongcaptainlucy on June 9th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)

Thing is, the only thought I had when reading that article was "2,284? Is that all? Surely there are 50 times that number cycle to work every single day in Beijing?
kitmizkit on June 10th, 2009 08:28 am (UTC)
*laughs* Yeah, I thought that too, but I got distracted by being infuriated. :) Maybe it's just a matter of not having been able to get very many of them to show up on a Saturday... :)
Laura Anne Gilman: truth to powersuricattus on June 9th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
*hands you today's WIN*

Totally agree. One of the best things about moving to NYC was the 24/7 mass transit that allowed me to sell my car (when I do need personal transit, I can walk to the rental place/Zipcar station and borrow one of theirs). And I'm walking a minimum of a mile every single day, and sometimes ten times that, in all sorts of weather, and not finding it difficult at all,l because we have things like sidewalks and pedestrian walkways.

The suburban village I grew up in was planned old-style around the village center. You could (and we did) walk to almost everything you needed. But sprawl, well, sprawled, and the newer (1950's and later) towns, sidewalks and functional streetlamps are things of the past, and you need a car to even get to the nearest bus station!
T.M. Thomastmthomas on June 9th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Even if there was no global warming/climate change and car exhaust was made of rainbows and kittens...bicycling is good. I think that every day as I pull out of my garage and drive the 1.5 miles to work. Like a lot of people, though, the local terrain and job duties mean I can't reliable bicycle. But it's a great goal that I wish more people thought about, not necessarily in scary ways, but because it makes such a big health change.
(Deleted comment)
Nimtouchstone on June 9th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
This isn't meant to be flip, but...how do you get places as things stand today? Don't narcolepsy and seizures make driving also, er, contraindicated?
Grand High Simiansimianpower on June 10th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
Spock: "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few."

At some point there has to be a line where the good of the planet has to outweigh the convenience of a minuscule minority of the population, no matter how much that might suck. Making sure that nobody is inconvenienced is how we got into this mess in the first place. And, it's also much easier to come up with solutions for that minuscule portion of the population than for everyone, so her solution could easily work as long as there were exceptions or side programs.
(Deleted comment)
Grand High Simiansimianpower on June 10th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
Your placard idea IS one of the exceptions I was talking about. It sounds like you're saying "Don't make positive environmental change because it might make worse the lives of handicapped people." I'm saying, "Make the change, and create whatever necessary exceptions or additional social programs to mitigate the effects on the handicapped minority." For example, a shuttle service, or government reimbursement for X amount of cab rides per week, or whatever. Those kinds of programs would be ridiculous if implemented for everyone, but for a tiny minority they'd be fairly easy, and have almost no impact on continuing environment-friendly upgrades. I think you only read half of my last response. Or are just looking for a fight.
kitmizkit on June 10th, 2009 07:22 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, absolutely. There are exceptions to any rule, and the ones you've just listed are excellent reasons to *make* exceptions. I was, I fear, not particularly attempting for fine points or even rational discussion just then. I was on a high horse. :)
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on June 9th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
You are so very right. Applause and a big bouquet from here.
mevennenmevennen on June 9th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
Too right.

When I lived in Brighton I walked everywhere, and only used the car for long trips. Here in the countryside, ironically, I would be flattened by a peat lorry if I cycled and drive everywhere because we have one bus a week (allegedly. I've never actually seen it). And this is supposed to be one of the better parts of the country for cycle tracks.
silcristsilcrist on June 9th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
*cheers you on, and cheers Trent on for applauding appropriately*
Trent the Uncatchable: comicsknappenp on June 9th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
Oddly, I was tempted to say the same thing as Deborah (that you should take that soap box public). But then I went off to a meeting and idled.
The Renaissance Man: Judge Dreddunixronin on June 9th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
The Kyoto Protocol is a mostly-meaningless gesture so that politicians can be seen to do something. But it's still better than cap-and-trade, which — shorn of the noble-sounding rhetoric used to sell it — is a giant shell game, a cynical scheme to allow emissions traders to get rich off of increasing pollution by selling other people what amounts to indulgences to freely emit greenhouse gases that the seller wasn't ever going to emit in the first place.

Something has to be done, and industry's unlikely to do it on its own. But politicians who are for rent to whoever's flashing the biggest wad of cash right now aren't part of the solution, they're part of the problem.
The Green Knight: Couragegreen_knight on June 9th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Ireland used to be utterly famous for cycling holidays in the 1980s. Then a lot of roads were built, and alot of people got their own cars, and a lot of people built houses somewhere out in the sticks and got more cars, and suddenly people decided that narrow country lanes + tons of traffic = not such a great idea, akshually.
Pádraig Ó Méalóidslovobooks on June 10th, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
Those of us who have to live *miles* out of the city are never going to be able to cycle there for work. But people like me have been suggesting closing off the city centre to cars for what seems like most of my life. I only commute, that is, use public transport. Howabout wouldn't it be nice if they'd actually built something useful like an underground city-wide transport system here in Dublin, back there when we seemed to have nothing but money coming out of our asses, so all the traffic could just be done away with?

But a damn fine rant there, Catie! Well done. And sadly, welcome to Ireland.
kitmizkit on June 10th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
It's by no stretch just Ireland (though I am in *awe* of the *utter* wastefulness/lack of foresight/short-term prosperity with no long-term-plan on the part of this government; your above proposal would have been one of a dozen I can think of off the top of my head which would have been a good use of money during the flush days). It was just that particular agenda set me off. *grrr*

But people like me have been suggesting closing off the city centre to cars for what seems like most of my life.

This is like nationalized health care in the US. *sigh*
Flitterbyflit on June 11th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
Here we have no reasonable health care *and* no reasonable city centers. :)

(Though downtown Santa Cruz is alllmost closed off de facto because it's so aggravating to drive there; people will actively make the decision to park nearby and walk. But that also means it's no longer as accessible to me as it was before I got sick, since I can only rarely walk there.)