Monday, May 14, 2007

You Don't Really Need a 4x4 in York

We received this letter from a supporter in York:
"Morning! I've just found your website. I have a 17 year old Land Rover that I use to travel the Sahara and the African bush, and as a founder of two environmental charities with an MSc in Environmental Science I consider myself an environmentalist as I practice minimal car use (I walk to work and the shops, for example, and cycle longer distances).

Please be assured that not all 4x4 drivers are thoughtless twits! However, I do agree wholeheartedly that 90% of 4x4s in the UK are owned by folk who don't need them. I also agree that they clog up town centres and drive with arrogance and aggression.

I would agree with your stated aims but would add a plea that, as with any group, 4x4 ownership is a broad movement - there are some of us who do think carefully about whether we need to use our cars, and how we use them, when such is the case. I teach at a school in the hills of North Yorkshire where many parents and staff own 4x4s, and use bad weather conditions as an (often spurious) justification for that ownership (the weather is never that bad!).

I regularly tell the kids that car use is a bad thing! And yet, as you know, car ownership, and especially big glossy 4x4 ownership are symbols of status and other rather daft ideas in our slightly skewed society. I do get disheartened sometimes, with parents of kids who troop in and announce smugly how much they recycle, etc., and then drive their huge wagon down the road to the post office.

Good luck. I think it's important that your voice is heard, and that you are seen as moderate and sensible (that will make your voice more readily listened-to). Our society is one that (I hope) encourages debate as a way to move forward."