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  Exhaust - Introduction

Since man has settled down, he can no longer simply exploit or devastate areas of the earth and then leave them. He must therefore design his way of life in such a way that his habitat is not temporarily or permanently damaged. Unfortunately, humans tend to perceive any undesirable development late or too late.

Among other things, the so-called 'ecological balance' is particularly important. For a long time, this was considered so stable that it seemed untouchable by man. Today we see that with the upheavals of the industrial revolution and/or the population explosion, for example, the opposite is the case.

Traffic is not only a wonderful support for leisure time, but also has its purpose in the division of labour and the transport of goods. Just keep in mind that only since the introduction of the railway has there been a time that has been coordinated to the minute in all parts of the country. Without it, no timetable was possible.

But also consider how much the traffic area has increased since the introduction of the mostly single-track railway up to four-track motorways and intersections. There have been such interventions before, e.g. as overexploitation of forests in the procurement of material for shipbuilding, by the way without reforestation.

The increase in traffic and, for example, the corresponding industrialisation has undoubtedly had positive effects by improving the lives of a great many people. But it also has a lot of negative side effects. In addition to landscape consumption, there is of course air pollution, but also the amount of waste down to the sea floor.

Not at all cleared up seems to be the question from which further development of vehicles the replacement of such is worthwhile. After all, after all, this also means that ecological resources are being attacked during production. Of course you can't ask the car manufacturers about such a topic. They will point out their progress in production.

Besides the delayed perception threshold, which is detrimental to ecology, the progressiveness of processes is a particular problem. For example, problems increase moderately with growing population density, only to explode virtually when they reach a certain size. The human reaction is obviously not adjusted to such courses of events.

Then there is the problem of locally varying conditions. A harmless example would be the different snowfall in winter. If you work in a small area with little snow, but live in a more snowy area, it can be difficult to explain to colleagues or the boss why you are late.

Applied to the environment, this means that a certain area, e.g. an area affected by aircraft noise, cannot really explain its problem to almost neighbouring areas. Incidentally, a recent development is gaining importance, particularly in relation to transport and the environment, namely that there is a clear move from the countryside to the city. It is precisely the problem areas that are increasingly being visited.

Before a problem gets into the minds of most people, it must be repeated by individuals or groups in a prayerful manner. This requires a special conviction, which sometimes goes beyond the actual problem. Such an exaggeration seems necessary, however, to muster the strength to take action against traditional behaviour.

Once the problem has become common knowledge, the solution does not seem far off in an industrial society. On the contrary, once convictions are linked to the behaviour of the buyers, there is pressure for the developers by the advertising department. Hardly anything is as effective for behavioural changes as the increase in expensive shelf wares.

Conversely, politics has a hard time. From it is requires foresight and the strength to make fundamental decisions. Who, then, would even have a concept to solve all the problems associated with transport? And could politics tackle such a project in view of the sometimes massive interventions by interest groups?

Also the times of dirigisme are long gone. It is not only coalition partners that have to be taken into account, in the case of narrow majorities even individual members of parliament and, in federalism, other majority relationships in the various parts of the country. Not to mention larger units such as Europe, 28 member countries with corresponding opinions and demands.

And if rules are then to be established, the area in question must be clarified, among other things. If you keep it small, in the end you have achieved little for the environment. With large areas you have a lot of lobbying on your neck. But if, for example, you look at exhaust emissions first at cars, then at trucks and finally at motorcycles, you end up with regulations that intervene to completely different degrees, for example in relation to Euro classes.

To pursue politics obviously means to be content with inadequacy and not to resign oneself. It must be said that criticism thrives everywhere, even if it is best to plan, but on the other hand it must not become insensitive. But in what area of life does this not apply?

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