With the build up Xmas, traffic levels have risen as consumers make those almost last minute trips to the shops. Town centres are packed – good news for retailers but not so good for the environment. There is a paradox about Xmas, the desire to spend to bring happiness and joy, yet at the same time creating pressure on the road system with its attendant stress and strife for drivers. So much activity for what is for most people a few days of holiday.
Yet such is the nature of our dysfunctional society that more traffic, more consumption is seen as a good thing. What it does not do is create much if any extra happiness and wellbeing. But the pressure is on with more housebuilding and more retail outlets, traffic levels are set to rise – onwards and upwards!
What we should do is to rethink our approach to growth – cut out the unnecessary housing development and associated land use; cut our travel and excessive consumerism. We could create a more enjoyable, peaceful and pleasant lifestyle – less stressful and with less impact on the environment. And we might actually enjoy Xmas!