ecocell 2 day Jan 2012 – some advance thinking on travel

Some thoughts from Richard and Nicky Kirton

The road not travelled…to misquote the title of a best selling book…!

Making sustainable transport choices starts with an appreciation for the locality in which God has placed us to live and worship. As we appreciate and value our local environment, and enjoy spending time there, we can then consider whether our journeys away from it are really necessary.

Some questions to consider, in advance of the ecocell ‘coming together’ day in January:

  • Are we able to take a leap of faith and choose to work closer to home, or to move closer to work?
  • Do we need to always travel away from our locality to enjoy our leisure time?
  • Do we need to consume and so import so much stuff, with all its inevitable adverse impacts caused by airfreighting and shipping products from around the world, or can we learn to enjoy and celebrate more local, seasonal foods?

Limiting our personal travel, and thoughtfully sourcing of our goods, is not only better for the environment, but can also increase our awareness and appreciation of our own locality.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the locality in which you have placed us to live and worship. Help us we pray to appreciate and value our local environment, and grant us wisdom Lord to consider whether our journeys are really necessary. From limiting our personal travel, to curbing demand for transport to supply our insatiable appetities for consumables, we pray Lord that you guide and correct us in making sustainable choices.

Tony Emerson’s thought on the second question:
“Actively involving yourself in your local area is the best way of fulfilling the ‘love thy neighbour’ commandment in practice. But don’t just involve yourself in ‘dutiful activities’ like PCC’s and school governing bodies. Join local leisure clubs, involve yourself in the activities in your local park, join library reading groups – and spend time in your front garden, if you have one. We’ve been growing a few raspberries in our front garden for the last 15 years. It now takes me a long time to pick them – 350 grams of fruit and six neighbourly conversations is a typical daily harvest…”

Followed up by Sandra Dutson:
“As a kind of follow up to this I often find ‘chance’ encounters in the street result in the most interesting conversations. you only have these when walking in unhurried way on some local errand. I often say jokingly that if ever the worlds problems are to be solved it will happen because of many groups of 3 on street corners discovering the wisdom to sort things through such sharing. That is to oversimplify I know but it gives a sense of belonging to a neighbourhood in simple friendship.”

And Tony says:
” It certainly made me think of all the casual encounters we have, as we walk the streets of SW16/SW2, or at bus stops or train stations. Including with our MP (until 2010) Keith Hill, and one our councillors Julian Heather (also until 2010). Because both Keith and Julian, like Oona and I, are non-car owners, and were therefore that much more accessible to their constituents.

Which brings me to a reflection relevant to our ‘coming together’ day on January 12th next: living car-free (or at least low motorised travel use) lifestyle contributes to a more sociable community. And a more sociable community reduces the need for car/motorised travel use. Virtuous circle, self-reinforcing system.

The road to Heaven is the pavement?”

What do you think?

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