Butterflies

Use Public Transport

Even if it’s a bit shit right now.

Back when this Butterfly first went online the idea of using public transport was a bit of a wheeze. I was still driving a car meself, and gave us an easy out by pointing out public transport was a bit crap. How quaint. Ten years on it’s less a wheeze, more an urgent existential necessity we very definitely have to come to terms with because our suicidal addiction to petrol is going to kill us all. Even as we fret, even as we wring our hands, transport remains responsible for about 25% of global carbon dioxide emissions, with three quarters of that chugged out by our own little cars and vans. In the midst of crisis we have done shit all.

Friends of the Earth reckons we need to cut private car mileage by at least 20% to avert climate breakdown. We need to do it now. We can’t keep waiting for electrocars to become more affordable, or for charging points to spring up on every street, or for robocabs to ferry us from our futuristic LifePods to our dystopian WorkDomes. We have to massively reduce our driving now. We have to massively increase our use of public transport now.

And yet a familiar problem remains: Public transport’s a bit crap. It’s particularly crap in the UK, where years of privatisation have left us with lousier, less connected, more expensive services than most of Europe. I struggled with this for a long time, hypocrite that I am. In my old job, thanks to a couple of disconnected routes, the 15-minute drive to work took an hour by train. That seemed too big a waste of life so I shrugged it off, kept driving, kept spewing out carbon dioxide. Kept pissing about with recycling and compost and single-use plastic, hoping it was enough. Of course it wasn’t.

We have to do this. We have to do it now. We can tip-toe into it, gradually weaning ourselves off our cars on a journey-by-journey basis. We can get in the habit of using public transport for non-work trips, when we’re not fighting alarms and snooze buttons and early morning doomscrolling. I started leaving my car behind for trips into the city centre, to the cinema, to gigs and such and such. Gradually I found myself only using it for work before finally ditching it completely, flogging it just as Covid-19 hit and public transport became a pandemic delivery system. Which was ideal.

Once we’ve Buttered this Fly for all we’re worth we should also work to improve public transport so our journeys get shorter, cheaper and more convenient. We can get stuck into national campaigns like the Campaign for Better Transport and hyper-local campaigns like Get Glasgow Moving. We can join broader efforts from the likes of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. And we can vote for the parties that appear to give the most amount of fucks about it. What we can’t keep doing is bargaining and delaying and pretending we have any choice about it. The time has come for us to shit, because there’s no getting off this apocalyptic pot.

Use public transport

 

Reduce carbon emissions

 

The more we use it, the quicker it’ll improve

 

Photo credit: The Zero

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