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  Sierra Magazine
  July/August 2004
Table of Contents
 
  FEATURES:
When Aliens Attack
Neighbor to Neighbor
Interview: Ecologist Gretchen Daily
The Green Old Party
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One Small Step
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Sierra Magazine
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One Small Step
For this family, slow is beautiful.
interview by Marilyn Berlin Snell

Robb Davis (and family), Davis, California. Senior vice president, Freedom From Hunger, age 44.
Robb Davis (and family), Davis, California. Senior vice president, Freedom From Hunger, age 44.
"We sold our family car last year to simplify our lives and free up resources. Our insurance was running about $750 a year, and then there was gas and upkeep. By selling the car, and making other choices to consume and budget differently, we’ve been able to more than triple our charitable giving. We invest in some religious charities–our church, for example–and donate to groups we feel are having an impact on poverty and food insecurity internationally.

"It was a family decision. My wife and I felt that we could live without our car, but our son, then 11, and our daughter, who was 15, were reluctant. We debated it a long time and they finally came around. My daughter has become a real voice to her friends to say, look, we can carpool–not all of us have to drive everywhere. Thank goodness Davis is a bike-friendly town. It’s been a year and there’s never any discussion anymore about having a car.

"Our workplaces and our kids’ schools are within five miles of our home. When we shop, we hook on bike carts that can hold hundreds of pounds. I’ve moved desks and building material in addition to groceries. You can do a lot with the technology that’s out there.

"One of the big changes is that our lives are now much more home-centered. Cars allow people to race around. When you have a bike and you have to make that physical effort, or when the weather’s bad, you think twice about whether you really need to go out. We are spending more time together as a family now. Overall we live at a much slower, easier pace.

"Obviously there are times when you’d like to go farther–maybe just pick up and go on a weekend. Periodically you think, man, it would be nice to have a car. But going car-free has just been so good for us. Getting on the bike got me running again. I ran my first marathon this year. My wife is about to run her first 5k."


Photo by Marc Longwood; used with permission.

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