I was talking to James of AnnArbor.com yesterday about living trash-free, environmentalism and life in general. He recently sold his car, and was telling me about the experiences he garnered after selling the car, experiences that he wouldn't have had with the car. He started taking the bus, and thought, "These are real people. These people have stories." At the same time, he said how not having a car re-organised his life, in that access to objects and things has changed, especially in time. For example, he said that now since he doesn't have a car, he can't hop into it in the middle of night to grab a burger at a fast food joint somewhere. He waits now for his chance to get a burger, and that may be a week or two from when he first thought about getting one. But the fact that he has to wait for certain things he took for granted earlier gives him a greater sense of satisfaction when the time finally comes around.
This speaks to larger issues of consumption in general. Most of the things we buy, and most of the things we do, come out of the ease of access to them. We buy, we drink, we eat, just because we can. What if I couldn't buy canned foods from Europe? What if I couldn't buy a new cell phone every year? What if I had to cook my own food because fast food wasn't available? I would have to re-organise my life, live here and now, spatially and in time. I would buy local, I would spend time cooking with friends, I would be happy with the cell phone I have, and I wouldn't be trashing our planet along the way.