this isn’t an anti-car rant. The old Volvo’s served us well in emergencies, and for moving house. Cars are private, comfortable, useful and familiar.
Nonetheless, we’ve made a conscious effort to resist the automobile, in favour of feet. Why?
Because Australians simply do not stroll enough. In 2006, only twelve percent of census respondents got to work by walking, bicycle, or some other form – or they just worked from home. The car is king. We’re behind the wheel to the office, for the shopping or school run. We drive to and from friends’ houses, restaurants, to pick up DVDs. Sometimes walking happens in the gym – usually on the spot, with the television or iPod on. We use our legs for pushing pedals, not for their natural purpose: walking.
My point isn’t some hippy fantasy of agrarian splendour. We live in the suburbs, near main roads, a freeway and building sites. Rather, it’s a simple matter of health and wellbeing: walking is straightforwardly good for us. It has physical, psychological and social virtues.(Photo: Bundesarchiv)