Have you noticed that commuter traffic volume is way down? I have. I only commute about 10 miles each way to work, but parts of that commute are normally very heavily travelled. The town I live in was not well designed with commuter traffic in mind. There’s only one road (California Hwy 1) that goes from the south part of town to the north part of town, and sometimes it seamed like all 30-thousand residents needed to make that trip simultaneously. Then it’s over the hill to join a confluence of two major traffic arteries, and you know how those back up in the commuter hours.
But lately, not so much. The driving habits of Americans are changing. Nobody wants to drive long distance anymore for a routine event.
How does this affect the Esperanto movement?
In the region where I live, there are a few locations where the neophyte esperantist can go to get instruction and practice, but they are widely separated. Each venue had its regular participants, who must drive for a half hour or forty minutes to get there.
Okay, Esperantists are among the most dedicated group of people I know, but they aren’t willing to pay gobs of money for gasoline every week. Some have said that they can attend every OTHER week. Even at that, I have seen some promising students fall by the way-side because they couldn’t muster the transportation to travel to the lessons and chat sessions.
But there is activity on the Esperanto message boards! People are starting to organize closer activities. People are contacting social centers like the Universalist Unitarian church and the community college petitioning for lesson space.
At first, this will mean smaller groups, but it will also mean more potential students. People who couldn’t afford to travel can now take public transport or bicycles to a closer venue.
I don’t know what the eventual outcome will be, but it’s worth staying tuned to find out!