I often think about how much space is wasted.
I work in downtown, with an hour commute, give or take half an hour (usually give). I ride alone because being in America, we have no appreciable public transportation. This is in Raleigh North Carolina, which actually has a decent bus system for downtown and the surrounding areas. The problem is that Raleigh is a burgeoning megalopolis, combining Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary. That’s four cities in three counties. Raleigh and Chapel Hill have public transportation (Chapel Hill’s bus system is amazing), but Durham and Cary…not so much. Individual towns are individual, I get it. But the chasms between the cities? There’s an intercity shuttle that keeps a schedule that can only be divined by aged psychics and it runs only slightly more frequently than solar eclipses. So if you live and work in the same locale, you’ve got public transportation options. Live in one city and work in another? You are SOL.
Pollution and wasted energy is one thing but what I often consider is the wasted space. From my office window, there’s a brand new parking deck that just opened. It’s at least six stories of nothing but parking spaces. And that seems…well, that seems wasteful. Those cars come into town in the morning, and leave at night. That whole space generates nothing except providing a place for cars to sleep while their humans work. And this is in downtown, so presumably that’s some prime real estate.
I think about other wastes. We have rooftops that could easily support some greenery. We don’t need a forest but a nice blanket of grass could do wonders for local insects as well as even a nip off the greenhouse gases. And maybe insulation? I don’t know. But there’s a surface that is not being utilized.
The purpose of life isn’t to optimize until there’s absolutely nothing frivolous. Frivolity is one of the purposes OF life. But there’s sub-optimal and there’s wasted. And as I look around my downtown world, I can’t help but feel that there’s a lot of waste.