ca·tas·tro·phe /kəˈtæstrəfi/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuh-tas-truh-fee]
|1.||a widespread disaster|
|2.||any misfortune, mishap, or failure; fiasco|
|3.||a final event or conclusion, usually an unfortunate one; a disastrous end|
|4.||(in a drama) the point at which the circumstances overcome the central motive, introducing the close or conclusion; dénouement. |
|5.||Geology. a sudden, violent disturbance, esp. of a part of the surface of the earth; cataclysm.|
|6.||Also called catastrophe function. Mathematics. any of the mathematical functions that describe the discontinuities that are treated in catastrophe theory.|
So, yes...I think that the word catastrophe describes the current state of our automobile dependence.
The initial reason for the creation of automobiles was to lessen the commute time for the wealthy, but as the cost of cars coupled with financing options became subsidized by various industries and government, and cars became available to the common worker, the average commute time has more than doubled from the days when people lived in walking distance from their workplaces, stores, and neighbors.
I'm not suggesting that we go back to those days, but I think it's important to look back a century or two to conclude whether this transportation model has been successful or not.
It is safe to argue that our automobile infrastructure dependence can be pinpointed as the single most catastrophic event of our time. Just in America, it leads to 40,000 fatalities each year. That's more than all of the terrorist acts and natural disasters combined from the last entire century...and that occurs EVERY year. Our dependence on oil is the primary reason for the war in Iraq and the casualties that have resulted from that.
This dependence contributes to our lethargic lifestyles, and resulting health consequences.
Sorry...running out of wifi minutes...to be continued.