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Joshua Hart Keeps it On the Level — Carectomy - Removing Cars from People

Joshua Hart Keeps it On the Level

by Joshua Liberles on October 10, 2007

HART Joshua Hart Keeps it On the Level

When Joshua Hart traveled from his San Francisco home to attend university in Bristol, England in late 2006, he decided to take the “road” less traveled. No planes or cars for Hart: His trip started via San Francisco streetcar, continued via cross-country train, he set sail on a cargo ship across the Atlantic, more train travel in Europe, and mounted a bike for some of the connecting legs. Appropriately, Hart’s end destination was the University of the West of England where he would study Transport Planning.


Hart’s arrival in Bristol in October, 2006 coincided with a hotly-contested debate over the expansion of the city’s Stansted airport. Because of his trip’s timeliness, he caused quite a stir with the media in his new home: Hart was the subject of numerous newspaper features and appeared on the BBC and ITV.


From Joshua Hart, On the Level:

In response to BBC Radio Birmingham DJ Danny Kelly’s question, “what would you do if a future Mrs. Hart wanted to go on a beach holiday? I mean this (not flying) would be pretty limiting wouldn’t it? I responded that it’s now an open question whether there will even BE a beach to fly to within a generation or two, because of sea level rise. Besides, I’m sure that any future Mrs. Hart would be happy to take the train with me- we could even get a compartment– ooh baby.


Hart, who worked for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, gave up car ownership in 1999 and learned to rely on a combination of cycling and public transportation. Although at the time he did still travel by air, the destructive nature of aviation was too much for Hart to ignore. One flight across the Atlantic, notes Hart, has the same environmental impact as an entire year of automobile use. “I also learned more about why aviation fuel has more of a warming effect than fuel that is burned on the ground,” says Hart.


I have only been in a private car only once since arriving in Bristol in September (not counting 3 or 4 taxi rides). I committed to stop flying on the way back from Nice at the end of 2005 on Easyjet- I just felt physically sick taking part in an industry that is growing so fast with no regard for the environment. It just felt fundamentally wrong to be able to travel so quickly so cheaply. Eventually the costs will catch up with us. We are forcing our children to pay for our excessive consumption.


Louise Rouse, Hart’s girlfriend, embarked on a similarly-styled long distance journey. .She just completed her plane- and car-free voyage from the UK to Japan to study illustration and Japanese.


To learn more about around-the-world options for rail and sea travel, check out


Via On the Level – Car Free Blog. Photos via Flickr by: Himanshu Sarpotdar & Telstar Logistics


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