Monday, February 10, 2014

Editorial: Are cars the real Earthlings?

A little while back, I came across this short film from Canada that makes an interesting point about what aliens might Earth if they were to observe us. The gist of the film is that many of our modern societies have built our entire existence around our cars - our infrastructure is designed to accommodate cars, we build homes with garages to house our cars, and we even have spas to keep our cars clean and pampered. In many ways, we have become enslaved by our cars. Of course, as humans, we prefer to think that the cars serve us, but an outside observer could very easily mistake things as being the other way around.

This makes for an interesting commentary about our modern lives. Modern American culture, in particular, values cars as a form of transportation, freedom, and status more so than nearly every other form of road transportation. While some cities have made an effort to shift away from this with city centers that are more pedestrian friendly and the installation of bike lanes throughout in an effort to encourage alternative forms of transportation, most places are still largely the domain of the automobile. That steel and glass cocoon that separates us from the elements and the world outside also ever increasingly isolates us from other road users, leading to incidents from minor run-ins to major catastrophe. The tendency to make us feel invincible and protected perhaps leads to greater risks than one might other take.

Take a break and watch this short film. Then, share with us how you think aliens would view our relationship with the automobile and if you agree with the views of the filmmaker.