a student's perspective LO7222

Michael Erickson (sysengr@atc.boeing.com)
Mon, 6 May 1996 11:52:29 -0700

Replying to LO7171 --

re: personal responsibility (the car being the source of polution, etc.)

While I agree that personal responsibility is a core element in
bringing about change-I have to object just a little to the point that the
individual only is the key.
Here's an example: I am constantly barraged by adds that tell me I
should be riding a bus to work. After all I'm polluting the air, causing
traffic jams and otherwise being greedy and self seeking. OK so I tried
riding the bus. Problem: Our bus systems (I have to cross county
lines-so there are two) are not set up for business travelers. Being that
I live 30 miles from work, and the busses a) cross county lines-so they
only grudgingly connect (a politiacl issue) b) depend on long meandering
distribution routes with few point to point connections (great for
students and housewives IF their destination is on the local bus line c)
an obligatory half hour wait to transfer from one bus connection to
Now I am required to hold a job in order to exist on the planet. I
have to pay for a space to occupie (preferably a place I can actually
afford- is safe for my wife and child) and I have to go where the job that
my skill set needs - is, often quite a distance. There is a social system
that is set up having defined some of this. (city planners separate
living space from working or shopping space)... In our neck of the woods,
you are often not considered Hireable if you don't have a car (they say
they need dependable people... and you can't depend on public

I'm not being greedy by attempting to hold a job. I'm being
"Responsible". I'm sorry that I can't live bicycle distance from my
job-but I cannot afford housing that close (something about land
values...) so I do the best I can.

If system thinking is applied to this problem, several items need to
be "fixed", instead of talking about how business travelers should use
busses, fix the busses so it's an easier thing for business travelers to
use-and they will flock to the bus. It currently takes me 4 busses, 3
transfers and 3.5 hours to get to work (late) and is more expensive then
fuel for my car. I get to be jostled, annoyed, frozen in the winter and
cooked in the summer at the transfer stations (1.4 hours spent standing,
waiting for the bus to come), and I almost never see my child when I come
home (isn't there something here about parents need to actually have
contact with their children if they expect them to grow up as responsible
citizens? -oops another system being effected).
Another system to consider is the Taxation of land that drives
prices out of reach for "little people" when a big business moves into the
neigborhood and forces them to sell their kids or drive a long distance...

I know that change starts with the individual. But there are
systemic issues too. I wonder if this sort of thing is what might be
driving the move away from the work place and towards telecommuting. I
would feel a whole lot more socially responsible if I was not forced to
drive my car all over half the known world just to maintain an existence.
(In time my company may permit telecommuting-but it's not an option for me

Anyway-this wasn't meant to be a rant... I just feel that we can't
blame any one party. We need to find the leverage in the existing reality
and pull on it real hard.



sysengr@atc.boeing.com (Michael Erickson)

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>