It's time to get started. Earth Car Free Day 2008, the second of the name, is set to take place on Monday, April 22nd.
to prepare for Earth CFD 2008
The first-ever Earth Car Free Day took place this year on Thursday, April 19th.
Led by The Commons and Earth Day Network, the goal was to spark and support a first series of thoughtful events and striking demonstrations around the world: all based on the common theme of personal responsibility, citizen-based activism, and vital new public/private/community partnerships. The balance of accomplishment: a wide range of self-organized events, large and small, in hundreds of cities involving millions of people all over the world. Plus the permanent infrastructure of freely available information, tools and materials that you now find here.
As one participant put it so well: "The nose of the camel is now under the tent".
What exactly is a "Car Free Day"
Here is where it pays to be a bit careful! A Car Free Day as we understand it is not a day in which all cars are officiously
and unilaterally pulled off all streets in all places by benevolent but possibly misguided central planners -- leaving people and businesses somehow to scramble to make their way as best they can in an unfamiliar imposed
environment. Rather it is, for those who wish it, a day of open, cooperative reflection on the problem of cars and traffic in cities, which also provides an occasion for people and communities to learn about and even try some alternative ways of getting around in, let's call it, a "car-lite" environment. Or perhaps, sustainable transportation and sustainable lives.
Most of us, to be perfectly frank, are a bit of both. But, knowing that, the important thing at
this point is for us each to take stock and decide which we want to be. So click here to see if we may already have you down as Part of the Solution? If not, and you want to be, all you have to do is click here and get started. (Do you see your city over there on that rolling list? If you do, take heart -- it means that someone there is ready to help you make this work.)
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Two Ways to Car Free Days
Traditionally Car Free Days have been organized "top down", with administrative authorities proclaiming the Day and then taking the lead. When carefully prepared and broadly supported, this approach has worked well, and the ECFD team will be working hand in hand with projects coming out of cooperating City Halls. But we are also here to take ECFD 2001 further: to support grass-roots movements and demonstrations led by other actors on the local scene, offering new partnerships with local government.
The "Trickle-Up" 2001 Approach
Earth Car Free Day takes a somewhat different approach. It is a joyful, wide-open, non-bureaucratic, 100% volunteer partnership event that proclaims that any day is a great one to be car free.
It does not use a single drop of hard-earned taxpayer money and takes a vigorous "Big House" approach to CFD organization: celebrating diversity and active local commitment above all.
With the Trickle-Up approach it provides support for local actions and projects that can show the way to more permanent changes.
A shining model for citizen consultation and action, and for democracy, for the 21st century.