Personally, yes. The numbers are irrefutable. Cars contribute massively to the problems of pollution. An average car emits 35.7lbs of CO2 per day, and that’s not even counting other pollutants. To say that cars have not contributed to environmental degradation is just simply a fallacy. In my personal politics, I advocate for small-scale, localized-community-based societies that do not rely on automobiles. I feel that this approach would have a positive effect on the environment, decreasing our reliance on fuel-combustion vehicles.
I agree with jvanderlee about the environment being better off, but I think that humans would be for the worse without cars. The fact is humans need energy to progress, and gasoline in cars gave our progression a huge boost. If we sacrificed this basic human need, we would be doing the world and ourselves a discredit, not using our potential. In terms of the environment, small-scale communities have been best, but isolation also breeds stagnancy — stagnancy in thought, advancement, ideals, etc. Cars, planes, trains, and other things that are bad for the environment — such as the Internet — have allowed us to progress to a point of environmental endangerment, but have also given us the technology, tools, and science to slow and hopefully to stop our negative impact on the environment.
I agree that the resiliency of the natural environment would be better off if humans never used fossil fuel powered vehicles. However transportation of products has always been and will continue to be a fundamental stumbling block as it not only leads to a greater understanding of the world (as mentioned by whitefish) but it is essential for trade and commerce which at its most fundamental level is necessary for human survival. Perhaps this betrays my own ignorance and may be too much of a case of 20/20 hindsight, but I do think that people are quite capable of understanding their impact on their environment without having a global perspective. What is necessary for good land stewardship is a keen awareness of local systems.
However, I would suggest that the information network that has arisen due to the internet has replaced some of the needs for transportation, enabling people to live fully connected intellectual lives but in geographic isolation.
Obviously yes. Cars are horrible for the environment. To be honest, the world would just be a lot better without humans in general. Pretty much everything we do hurts the planet.
One thing that would not be for certain is how society would be. Perhaps society would have been a lot better. Mass transit may be the norm for every city right now, with an increased sense of community and better health for everyone.
Or perhaps we wouldn’t get out as much. Perhaps people would not travel around to all the places that they do now with cars. A society without cars is one that we can’t know. However, YES the planet would be MUCH better off without them
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