Monthly Bulletin issue 50 - September 2003

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Edition no. 50 - September 2003 - English version

Dear bulletin readers and supporters,
Thank you so much to all of you who responded to our plea for donations in our August bulletin. The response was beyond our expectations and with your help we have overcome the short-term financial shortfall.
Those who still wish to contribute can join us at one of three membership levels: 30, 50 or 100 EUR/USD. Payment options can be found here: . Credit card orders can be made here: (the 'donations' field is towards the bottom).
Best wishes from all of us,
- The Car Busters/World Carfree Network team









[today only (Sept. 3), U.S. citizens only]

On Thursday, September 4th, the US House of Representatives will vote on the 2004 Transportation Appropriations bill. Currently, that bill contains language which eliminates funding for the popular Transportation Enhancements program, the major source of federal money for projects such as multiuse paths, bike lanes and safety education efforts.
Two good friends of bicycling, Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) and Congressman John Olver (D-MA) will offer an amendment during debate on Thursday to restore the funding.
Call your Representative today and ask them to support the amendment by Petri (pronounced "PEE-try") and Olver to save the Enhancements program by striking Section 114 of HR 2989. Make the call on Wednesday, September 3.
More info: .



- On August 28, at least five members of the London Rising Tide
climate campaign barricaded themselves into the boardroom of the UK
Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) for most of the morning. In particular, the action was directed at the department's likely support for the much-criticised Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. In the spirit of participatory democracy, the activists attempted to open a constructive dialogue with ECGD staff over the Baku-Ceyhan project. Sadly, their
overtures were rebuffed, and a unique opportunity to explain how this massively contentious project is in the public interest was lost.

- A July 31 unanimously approved US Senate resolution (S Res 214) congratulated Lance Armstrong on his victory of the 2003 Tour de France. But the resolution also commended him as "the face of cycling as a sport, a healthy fitness activity, and a pollution-free transportation alternative."

- Arnold vs. Arianna: It's official, the election for California Governor on October 7 will pit the Hybrid against the Hummer. It's Arianna Huffington - the Greek-born, Oxford-educated, progressive political columnist and anti-SUV (sport-utility vehicle) campaigner - versus Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator, the Austrian-born, bodybuilding, Republican, spokesman for the largest SUV on the market, the Hummer.

- SchNEWS (www.schnews.org.uk) reports that while the fight against the building of the new A30 Motorway at Fairmile in Devon, England was happening, the local pub, the Fairmile Inn, refused to serve the eco-warriors who were living in the protest camps. But now thanks to the new road the pub has lost all its passing trade and has been forced to close through lack of customers.

- Following our story that Warsaw's monthly Critical Mass bike ride had topped the 1,000 participant mark on May 30, John Edel in Chicago reports that his city's Critical Mass also hit 1,000 riders on July 25. "It was a great party parade through neighborhoods on the south side ending at 31st Street Beach for a picnic and swim." Chicagans are now working towards an even bigger September ride.

- For the first time, the typical American family has more vehicles in the garage than licensed drivers in the house, according to the Transportation Department's latest national survey. There are 107 million U.S. households, each with an average of 1.9 cars, trucks or sport utility vehicles and 1.8 drivers, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported. That equals 204 million vehicles and 191 million drivers. (Source: www.cnn.com/2003/US/08/29/outnumbered.by.cars.ap/index.html)



[from Japan Today: www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=3&id=269910]

To alleviate the traffic jam that occurs each day at the company's headquarters in Toyota City, Japan, the company is asking the people who work to develop cars to avoid commuting in them.
"It may seem like a contradiction, but if you think about the problems we are causing to the community around us, it can't be helped," said Toyota spokeswoman Monika Fujita. "It's also quite meaningless to drive in a traffic jam," she said.
Every weekday morning, a 2-3-km traffic jam - which takes about an hour to clear - builds up in front of Toyota headquarters in Toyota City, Aichi prefecture, some 250 km from Tokyo, she said.
Since February, Toyota has provided a free bus shuttle service from two nearby train stations. By July, the number of workers taking public transit to work had risen to 5,000 from 3,000, she said.
One 43-year-old company employee told the Asahi newspaper he sold the car he once used to drive to the office. "It might be a minus for the company. But now I can use the time spent commuting for myself."

[from NBC TV, San Diego, California, USA]

Fire raged through a Hummer dealership in the Los Angeles area on August 22, and graffiti spray-painted on many of the damaged vehicles indicated that the fire was set intentionally. Dozens of SUV's were vandalized at three other dealerships, prompting the FBI to investigate the incidents as acts of domestic terrorism.
The fire broke out at Clippenger Chevrolet at 1900 E. Garvey Ave., just south of the Interstate 10 freeway in the Los Angeles suburb of West Covina. By the time firefighters arrived, the dealership warehouse was engulfed in flames and several expensive sport utility vehicles, including Hummer H2s, were burning in the outside lot.
Video from the helicopter of NBC 7/39's sister station in Los Angeles showed slogans spraypainted on the hoods and sides of several SUVs, including "I (heart) pollution," "Fat Lazy Americans" and "American Wastefulness." One vehicle had the letters "ELF" sprayed on a door.
Investigators believe that ELF stands for Earth Liberation Front. The group describes itself on its website as an international underground movement that carries out actions against groups they believe are exploiting and destroying the environment. The group claims their cells have carried dozens of eco-attacks* since 1997, resulting in more than $50 million in damage.
The fire at the dealership is estimated to have caused more than $1 million damage. SUV's at three other dealerships in Arcadia, Duarte and Monrovia were also vandalized, though there were no other fires.
* The ELF, seeing itself as a nonviolent movement, uses the term "action" rather than "eco-attack," which was NBC's terminology.
Editors' note: A similar incident to those in California occurred in Houston, Texas on September 2. A group called Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA) is now on the offensive, demanding that the various (above-ground) anti-SUV public education campaigns cease their activities, because they are encouraging terrorism.

[by Sam Olukoya, BBC, Delta State, Nigeria, August 18]

Protests by women against western oil companies operating in Nigeria's Delta region have become a common occurrence. The latest protest is in Amukpe village, in Delta State, where angry women are occupying an oil installation belonging to the oil company Shell. The women chased away workers and policemen guarding the flow station and they have been occupying it for the past five weeks.
Noki Ogodo explains how they managed to take over the oil installation despite the heavy presence of armed policemen: "We came at night as soldiers, overwhelmed them [police] and entered the compound. You know we are over 300 women - they could not contain us, so we chased them away," said Ms Ogodo.
The women who came with their cooking utensils and bedding have been eating and sleeping in the oil installation. The women are mainly traders who dry and sell tapioca - a by-product of the local staple food, cassava. They are protesting against Shell's decision to fence off a gas flare which they had been using to dry the tapioca they have been selling for the past 33 years. The company's sudden action denied them their means of making their livelihood, says Ms Ogodo.
Shell says that it was necessary to build a fence around the huge gas flare because it is potentially dangerous. The women however argue that since the company makes millions of dollars from oil taken from their land, it has a moral responsibility to improve their living standard.
Negotiations between the women and Shell have dragged on for the last three months without a compromise. But the women have warned that they would strip naked if any attempt is made to use policemen or soldiers to forcefully eject them from the oil installation. The women, many of who are elderly, say as the mothers of policemen and soldiers it is traditionally believed that it would be an abomination for them to see the nakedness of their mothers.
In the meantime, the noisy oil installations here are silent - and the only sounds that are heard are the protest songs of the women.


The Wauconda School District (northern suburbs of Chicago, USA) has decided to ban students at Wauconda Grade School from cycling to school.
School District Superintendent John Barbini explained that there is just too much traffic around the schools to ensure the safety of bicycling children. Parents drive so many children to school that it has become unsafe for cyclists and walkers. Rather than controlling traffic around the school, Barbini said "the simplest answer is for the school to ban bike riding," And now, with the bike ban, there will be even more traffic.
The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation has offered to work with Wauconda's schools to develop a Safe Routes to School programme at no cost to the district. The school board has accepted, but the ban stays in effect until they and their insurance carrier are convinced the risk can be reduced to some unknown, "acceptable" level.
The ban takes effect on August 27, when classes start.




World Carfree Network/Car Busters is seeking an experienced fundraiser with a proven track record to join our Prague-based team full- or half-time as soon as possible, for a year or more. Should be familiar with the funding programmes of the European Commission, Council of Europe and private foundations in Europe and abroad. Commission-based wage (10-15% of funds raised, based on experience), plus start-up wage negotiable. Flexible hours and six weeks holiday. Applicants should send a CV (resume) and letter of motivation/experience to info@carbusters.org.


Car Busters is offering a 50% discount on bulk orders of its two self-published books - Andy Singer's 'CARtoons' and Ken Avidor's 'Roadkill Bill.' If you order ten or more copies, you can have them for 5 EUR/USD per book, including shipping. You can give them to friends as gifts, or your organisation can use them as membership premiums or sell them at community events. A description of the books and more info can be found at . Contact us if you're interested, at info@carbusters.org.
At the same time, we have many back issues of Car Busters magazine. The bulk deal is 100 copies (any assortment) for 100 EUR/USD, including shipping. All issues are available except #1, #8 and #10. Contact us for more information, or order by credit card from .



A serious disclaimer for a change: If this bulletin contains too much news from English-speaking countries, we apologise. In the future, we hope that our readers in other countries could send us news from their regions. The deadline is always the first of the month, to . Submissions in French, Spanish or German should be sent ideally one week in advance of the deadline.

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