European Gas Protests: People Are Learning Interesting Lessons From the Blockades

| September 19, 2000

European Gas Protests: People Are Learning Interesting Lessons From the Blockades

The real agenda of the protesters blockading oil trucks across England and France isn't to bring down the price of gas. In fact, most of the protesters aren't even farmers and truckers, as the media have portrayed them, but green activists in disguise, writes Natasha Walter in the British newspaper The Independent. What they're really trying to accomplish, she says, is to show people that life without cars is not only possible, it's preferable.

Commenting on the oil blockades in France, Walter points out: 'People started to live without their cars-walking to work, cycling along once-filthy and busy roads, shopping around the corner rather than in superstores. As the garages closed in France, people heard the birdsong ring out louder than the traffic, and liked the sound.'

The experience has gotten people thinking: 'Now the questioning is really beginning: do we want hypermobility to go on defining the way we live?' she writes. 'The bubble is set to burst. More and more people are beginning to see that the dream of the private car- individual mobility with an ever-receding horizon as the limit-is a dream that turns into a nightmare if everyone tries to put it into practice.' -- Leif Utne
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