Sometimes it's Hard to be a Treehugger: Pedestrian Cross-walks as Eco-villain

On the way to hear Patrick McDonough from The Village Project talk last week, this Treehugger got in to a good-natured, but relatively detailed debate with a colleague of his about pedestrian cross-walks. His colleague, a fellow eco-obsessive, made the argument that by using cross-walks you force cars to slow down, and therefore they end up burning more gas. This author’s counter-argument, on the other hand, was that by asserting your rights, you ultimately create a culture that is more pedestrian-friendly than it would otherwise be, and you are therefore facilitating the transition to a greener future. Of course, if everyone is driving hybrids this is further enhanced, as the energy lost in breaking is recaptured for later use, so perhaps you should keep an eye out for the nearest Prius before crossing. But wait! If you wait to cross until a hybrid comes along, are you inconveniencing someone who has made a more ecologically conscious decision, and therefore discouraging folks from doing the right thing? Arrrgggh…

Ultimately, we both conceded it was a pretty minor concern in the huge array of environmental challenges facing us, but it did lead us to discussing the weird and wonderful obsessions that we greenies sometimes have. So, fellow Treehuggers, don’t be shy. Why not share your favorite eco-geek musings, or maybe you’d like to shed some light on the great cross-walk debate? Either way, you know where the comments box is…


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