Thursday, June 5, 2014

it's the cars

Yes, the insane American diet of processed industrial phood is a huge problem. 
But it's not the only one.

We have systematically won the war against our health and the health of our children (and the future of our species) by placing the infernal combustion engine on a carriage at the center of all domestic policy, successfully eliminating from our lives nearly all exertion.

In Salem, we have turned a city that should be a bicycling and pedestrian paradise into a lethal, obesity ridden, economically devastated tract pockmarked with ugly strips of autosprawl and vast acreages and vast portions of our public budgets devoted to nothing but care, feeding, and storage of cars, thus ensuring that each household must equip itself with its own private auto transport fleet at great expense, helping perpetuate both the poverty and the ill effects on health.

A city that requires people to have a car just to take part in the normal activities of life is a city that levies a huge unrecognized tax on its residents, a crushing burden that is part of a vicious cycle, where even those who most need transit oppose it because, with a crippled system like ours, the cost of transit is on top of the cost of the private transit fleet, instead of as an efficient, lower cost replacement.

The auto era is ending, however. The only question is how much sprawl we're going to shackle ourselves to first, how much development that will crater in value when most of the cars get parked or sold for scrap.

Being Happy With Sugar

High-fructose corn syrup can't be a particular driver of the obesity epidemic in the U.S., Brouns says, "because obesity has grown just as quickly in countries that barely use HFCS. It is a misconception." For one example, Coca-Cola in Mexico famously contains sucrose in place of high-fructose corn syrup. "Natural" sodas at places like Whole Foods advertise that they, too, have sucrose or fruit-juice concentrate instead of HFCS. But Mexico has recently been jockeying with the United States for claim to the most obese country in the world.