Change the mindset on mobility

Change the mindset on mobility


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The Social Weather Station has reported that 20 percent (or one in five) of our people are hungry-poor. This is especially acute in the urban areas.

Why? Because we have paved with concrete practically all of the available land in urban areas to accommodate this modern-day Frankenstein called the motor vehicle — especially private cars which very few can afford, and their parking lots.

Parking lots are valuable urban space — up to 10 to 12 sq meters each, yet, they are set aside for motor vehicles that stay there the whole day doing nothing.

Only four percent of the Filipino people have cars (many of whom can hardly afford it but are forced to buy one because of the lack of transportation options).

Yet, the 96 percent who cannot afford cars are hardly given a decent sidewalk.

The root of this all is the wrong mindset and model of individual motorized (car-based) mobility. “Our insistence at individual mobility has resulted in serious collective immobility”.

We are copying the wrong and wasteful model of the US, particularly of that mythical place called Los Angeles. Those who have been to LA know that it is the largest slow-moving parking lot in the world.

Yet, why do we insist on what it obviously wrong? It is called the “inertia of collective insanity.”

That is also “the difference between the obscure and the obvious. The obscure gets figured out sooner or later. It is the obvious that takes a lot longer.”

The Road Rev Movement is about revolutionizing (or turning around) this mindset. Unlike the billions spent on roads, skyways and highways, it will not cost a single centavo. If we change the mindset from individual mobility to collective and human mobility (walking, cycling, etc.), then spaces are opened up, and will become available for numerous uses that will benefit a much greater number of people.

These public spaces can be used urban vegetable farming, parks, open spaces, housing, civic centers, and the other things in life that really count. (The attached picture says it all.)

A simple mind-shift will not only solve our transportation problems, it will also address flooding. Land that was formerly paved with impermeable concrete will be restored into soil, planted with vegetables and food crops, whose roots will need to be fed with the rain.

We can even turn these opened-up areas into rainwater catchment ponds and “French drains” to allow for the recharge of our fast-drying up groundwater, and to store freshwater during the dry season.

We still have a long way to go. But when a congested and financially-challenged community starts to take the lead in planting edible gardens on their roadsides and small vacant spaces, I think the turn-around has begun.

The Filipinos have what it takes — imagination, resilience, patience, and soon, the people’s collective will.

We even have one of the best agricultural schools in the world that can help make this mind-shift happen — the UP Los Banos.

And let us not wait for our government leaders to take the lead. When the people lead, the leaders follow.

Happy long weekend to all.

Atty. Antonio Oposa
Environment advocate

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