Conferences and Seminars
World Carfree Day
Monthly Bulletin issue 47 - June 2003
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This June bulletin marks a glorious occasion for us wonkish editor-types: The hyphen in "car-free" has been removed once and for all! Carfree is now a real word rather than merely two words connected clumsily together! One Less Hyphen, One Less Word!
CAR BUSTERS BULLETIN >>>
Edition no. 47 - June 2003 - English version
BOXERS AND BRIEFS
- THIRTY-EIGHT PERCENT OF SWISS VOTE FOR CARFREE SUNDAYS
- WARSAW CRITICAL MASS BIKE CELEBRATION TOPS 1,000 RIDERS
- BULGARIANS CLAIM RIGHT TO BREATHE CLEAN AIR
- FRENCH ADBUSTERS LAUNCHES "NEGATIVE GROWTH" CAMPAIGN
- AUGUST ECOTOPIA GATHERING TO BE HELD IN UKRAINE
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS
- CAR BUSTERS CHOOSES SECOND NAME!
- JOIN US FOR JULY 12-13 FUNDRAISING WORKSHOP
- WORLD CARFREE DAY: SEPT. 22 - EVERY YEAR, EVERYWHERE
- TOWARDS CARFREE CITIES III PROCEEDINGS NOW ON-LINE
BOXERS & BRIEFS
- Traffic kills four times as many people as wars, reported the World Health Organisation in May - that's 1.26 million people killed on the world's roads
- Christie Whitman announced her resignation as head of the US Environmental Protection Agency effective June 27. One possible successor (of about six that have been named) is Josephine Cooper, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
- Four months after the city started charging motorists to drive into the centre of London, traffic jams have shrunk, taxis are unusually abundant and red double-decker buses zip along at 12 kmh. In traffic-clogged London, this is progress. Things are going so well that supporters and earlier critics alike agree that the ambitious and contentious "congestion charge" is working - at least so far. With 20 percent fewer private cars clogging the narrow, twisting roads of central London, even the capital's notoriously complaining cabbies are impressed.
WORLD NEWS >>
THIRTY-EIGHT PERCENT OF SWISS VOTE FOR CARFREE SUNDAYS
[compiled from ]
In a May 18 national referendum, 38% of Swiss voters were in favour of a sweeping initiative calling for nationwide carfree Sundays four times a year.
The text of the initiative read: "One Sunday each season, the population can freely use, from 4 am to midnight, all public squares and roads, including national highways, which will be closed to private motorised traffic. [The availability of] public transport is assured."
Markus Heller of Autofrei Wohnen in Berlin concludes that - although the intitiative passed in Zurich with 51.2% - the time has not yet come for carfree days on a national level in Switzerland. Further, that the impetus for national carfree days has to come from local events.
"Sonntags Initiative" organisers, however, cite the limited resources of their nonprofit organising committee among the reasons for the limited support at the polls. They point out that the majority of the cantons pronounced themselves in favour of one or two carfree Sundays "during the parliamentary consultation." So it is within this more restrained framework that they will continue to work towards their objectives on a local or regional level. They are making contact with authorities in the cities and cantons which passed the initiative, preparing the ground for future carfree Sundays and other "soft mobility" programmes.
WARSAW CRITICAL MASS BIKE CELEBRATION TOPS 1,000 RIDERS
[from Marcin Hyla and Aleksander Buczynski, in Warsaw]
On Friday, May 30, the Warsaw Critical Mass* set a new record -
1,020 participants (counted!). Apart from bikes, there were also rollerblades, pushbikes and a wheelchair. Together, they reclaimed the city centre and the new highway bridge for four hours.
The first Critical Mass in Warsaw was held in 1999, but it started to pick up more recently when some Canadian-Polish bike messengers decided to live and work back in Poland organised this massive event. It concluded with a really huge run-in with police (pictures here: ).
The Warsaw monthly ride is getting bigger and bigger and is the only year-round Critical Mass in Poland, with several hundreds of cyclists. However, official non-Critical Mass rides such as No-Car Day in Gdansk have been even bigger, with 1,500 cyclists taking part in June 2002. Other Critical Mass rides throughout Poland are smaller, like 30-100 or 200
people but become more and more regular and massive.
Some pictures: . A vieo sample (2.9 MB): . More links: .
* Critical Mass is a monthly global phenomenon in which cyclists and sometimes others reclaim the streets in a mobile celebration/demonstration.
BULGARIANS CLAIM RIGHT TO BREATHE CLEAN AIR
[by Desislava Stoyanova of For the Earth, in Sofia]
On May 15, the International Day of Action on Climate Change, the association For the Earth held its annual bicycle action. [There is no Critical Mass anywhere in Bulgaria.] For the sixth time we organised a happening on the streets of Sofia under the title "Return the Streets to People" (it doesn't sound so silly in Bulgarian) promoting alternative transport and people's right to breathe pure air.
For the first time this year another big town joined the campaign with a
simultaneous happening. The two actions gathered hundreds of people who
use alternative kind of transport - bicycles, rollerskates and even plain feet. The busiest streets in the city centres were blocked, causing huge traffic jams. The two happenings finished with concerts and tried to focus the attention of stakeholders and ordinary people on the problems the intensive traffic causes.
The trend for the last years in the big cities in Bulgaria is for a sharp
increase in automobile traffic. There's not a single carfree street
or zone (except for in parks), nor a bicycle lane in the capital city Sofia. With the increase of traffic and the lack of car parks, there is no place for people to walk as pavements [sidewalks] are covered with parked cars.
We are doing this every May 15 because:
We want place for people in the streets.
We want bicycle lanes.
We want to breathe pure air.
And we have the right for this...
FRENCH ADBUSTERS LAUNCHES "NEGATIVE GROWTH" CAMPAIGN
[info at and ]
Casseurs de Pub, the independent French version of Adbusters, launched a nationwide negative growth* campaign on May 16 through a spoof government-issue patriotic poster. The parody urges citizens to practice "humanist and ecological sobriety" rather than the "patriotism of consumption."
Casseurs de Pub urges people to free themselves of their cars, televisions, portable phones, etc. The campaign prepares the ground for a symposium titled "La Décroissance Soutenable" ("Sustainable Negative Growth"), to be held from September 26-27 at Lyon's city hall.
* Negative growth urges Western societies to reduce their consumption as a way of improving human quality of life and the environment. Sustainable development, by contrast, supports economic growth and demands that we just consume differently.
AUGUST ECOTOPIA GATHERING TO BE HELD IN UKRAINE
[announcement repeated from last month]
Ecotopia is the biggest international environmental gathering in Europe. It has been held for over 13 years, each year in a different country and hosted by a local grassroots environmental organisation within the EYFA (European Youth for Action) network.
This year it will be held from Aug. 20-Sept. 3 in Sheshory, Ukraine, hosted by Green Dossier. For those that have the time, a bike tour to Ecotopia across Poland and Western Ukraine is organised for a few weeks preceding the gathering. See for more information.
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
CAR BUSTERS CHOOSES SECOND NAME!
Because some occasions call for a name that sounds more serious, respectable and official than Car Busters, it was decided at the Towards Carfree Cities III conference that we would therefore adopt a second name (in addition to, not replacing, Car Busters). Discussion on the carfree_network listserve concluded on May 26, with the selection of World Carfree Network as the new name. Congratulations to JH Crawford of Carfree.com for coming up with the winning title.
Car Busters' statutes in the Czech Republic are being modified to the new name. We have secured the web domain worldcarfree.net, which will be less activist-oriented, in order to appeal to a more general audience. It remains to be decided what projects will be under the name Car Busters and which under World Carfree Network.
JOIN US FOR JULY 12-13 FUNDRAISING WORKSHOP
Since fundraising is one of the biggest priorities in the Car Busters network - in order to make all of our projects happen - we are hosting a two-day fundraising workshop from July 12-13 at CESTA in Tabor, Czech Republic - 100 km south of Prague. This should be very useful and lots of fun as well, in a terrific, peaceful, green setting just below Tabor's medieval Old Town. The workshop will be led by Elisa Peter, who has ten years of hands-on experience in fundraising and international NGO development.
Come learn about the dirty secrets of effective fundraising and at the same time conceptualise and develop projects with international partners within the Car Busters network. The workshop will include information and interactive exercises on the basics of fundraising research, proposal writing, grant management and follow up. It will also offer insights on how to conduct bottom-up, all-inclusive strategy planning processes for coalitions of groups.
If you're interested in attending, see the Car Busters homepage (http://www.carbusters.org) for a longer announcement including information on meals, costs and advance payment information. (Advance payment will be necessary to secure your place; workshop capacity: 15 people.)
WORLD CARFREE DAY: SEPT. 22 - EVERY YEAR, EVERYWHERE
As a result of discussions on the carfree_network listserve, World Carfree Day will from now on be singular (not World Car-Free Days) and take place on September 22 - every year, everywhere. Adjoining days can be used for multiple-day local programmes. More information on World Carfree Day 2003 can or will be found at .
The United Nations cannot endorse a programme based around specific dates (such as Sept. 22 as World Carfree Day) without such a decision being passed by the UN General Assembly. Instead, the UN has on April 30 launched the UN Carfree Day Collaborative, with the intention of sharing carfree day contacts, experience and support with city governments and others interested in organising such activities. Ghazal Badiozamani (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the contact person for this new programme. Website pending. UN support for World Carfree Day is an eventual possibility.
TOWARDS CARFREE CITIES III PROCEEDINGS NOW ON-LINE
Our week-long conference in Prague was by all accounts a big success. In concrete terms, it directly led to all the projects and decisions mentioned in the announcements above. And it seems like everyone had a great time as well. Many of the conference proceedings are now posted here: .
CLOSING POEM >>
[submitted by Aaron Tarfman in New York City; ]
Hey folks; here's a poem for you. It's somewhat biographical covering a few months when I passed hundreds of cars stuck in traffic in New Jersey because of a truck crash on a highway bridge. I was nearly struck by a 70-tonne double trailer truck in Michigan. And I read of a report in Michigan covering workers who worked through Christmas to keep roads plowed for traffic...
Too many Damn cars
Small tornado approaching fast
40 wheels rumble past
pulling gravel day and night
fix the road before it's light
no family dinner
or Christmas mass
two trucks collided on the overpass
no matter that the city schools are poor
library's closed and trash on the shore
we need our roads 30 feet wide
to support the SUVs we drive
in 40 years our oil supplies flat
but we'll let our children worry about that
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