Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Putt-putt--Sustainable vehicles in the world of Ordinary

In Where I'm going--Short term I listed, in no particular order, some of the foundation issues I've been researching for Village of Ordinary. The second of those is a three-parter: How much do the people of Ordinary rely on vehicles, what kind of vehicles do they use, and how do they power them? One thing for sure: any vehicles in the world of Ordinary must be sustainable.

I'd like some help with this one. Please join the discussion. It's a big subject and one I haven't had much time to research. So far we have seen villagers utilize a truck, a small car and an airplane.

Broad-picture questions to answer:
  1. What types of vehicles do people in the world of Ordinary employ? (e.g., planes, trains, ships, trucks, cars, motorcycles)
  2. How are the vehicles fueled?
  3. Are all vehicles fueled in the same manner?
  4. For what purposes do villagers use vehicles?
  5. What other forms of transportation do they use?
Vehicle musts:
  1. Sustainable, local fuel sources
  2. Non-polluting
  3. Long operating life (no more planned obsolescence!)
  4. Shared
What questions/musts am I missing? You are invited and encouraged to share your thoughts.

Tomorrow: City Car-Share and ZipCar, two options for urbanites who need a car occasionally.


  1. In rural Michigan last month I was startled to learn how much folks rely on all terrain vehicles for everyday stuff. They aren't street legal, but there was a large community of farmers that had laced their properties with trails, and the most anyone had to do was cross a road. I asked about gas and was told that they "fill the tank once a year, if it needs it or not."

    While the younger kids hot-rod on the kinds that give ATVs a bad name, the older folks use them to check crops, socialize (often combining those two) and also to carry small loads. I'm eyeing one with a dump-truck back that would be a wonder in a garden. They also come with plow attachments for winter snow removal. We puttered around in one that was outfitted to seat 6 - using old bench car seats.

    I asked about second hand, and was laughed at. These aren't built on the replacement model of ford, but the 'forever' model of John Deere and Caterpiller. People don't sell 'em, and they don't wear out.

    I'm sure they could be adapted to veggie oil or whatever - meanwhile, even on gas they're remarkably efficient.

  2. Super idea, Hayden. My mom has used a golf cart to get around her gardens for years, as her arthritis gives her tremendous pain, but she doesn't want to give up the activity that gives her the greatest joy. She's on her second used golf cart now. A small ATV may be the way to go next time, especially if we convert it to veggie diesel. Thank you for sharing.


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