Thursday, May 14, 2009

Truth, Lies and VideoPoker

I realize I'm several years behind the times, but last night I finally watched the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth, just a few days after watching Who Killed the Electric Car?. While I still feel like Gore has a little 'smarmy politician' in his presentation, I really liked the simplicity of it. It was really the first time I'd been given, okay the first time I'd wanted to be given, an explanation of what global warming really is, how it works and, finally, what we can do in our daily life, and through small choices to help stem our planet's rising temperature.

I think that I felt good that I'm already doing a lot of the things they suggested to do my part, although there is so much more I could be doing, I feel good at what I currently am.

Example: I no longer drive an extra 20-30 minutes so that H will fall asleep in the car on our way home from the morning's activities...I just go home and cross my fingers that he'll take a nap there. So far, it's just resulted in an earlier bedtime. Progress, no?

I think the thing that struck me the most is that of all of our technological advances, why don't we have cars that are able to get the gas mileage of almost every other developed nation? I think the thing that will have to happen is to start giving tax penalties to people who purchase a huge vehicles without having an actual function for it. I'm not talking about the family of 4+ that has a full or mid-size SUV or van, or the rural person who owns a truck. I'm thinking of the more egregious craziness known as The Hummer (which, incidentally came out at the same time GM pulled the electric car and the State of California was sued for demanding higher efficiency cars). It always makes me chuckle a little to see the 'off-road' demo section at a Hummer dealership because, really, when do these guys ever take their Hummers off-road? But I digress...

When I see the tiny little hybrid or electric cars, all I can think of is "They wouldn't stand a chance (in an accident)." Until the majority of the cars on the road are smaller, I don't think I'd feel safe in a tiny little car whose parts are made of lighter and lighter materials in order to boost gas mileage with reduced environmental impact. I know that's talking out both sides of my mouth, but the tiny hybrid car will most likely be my last step in eco-friendliness. Reduce the number of miles I drive that aren't 'necessary'? Sure. Reduce my safety and that of my children on the road...no thanks.

The sad thing is, I know that I'm not the only person who feels that way, but who's going to take the first steps to downsizing their space on the road? It's like we're all just eighth-grade boys kind of waiting for the other person to make the first move...put your arm around her already!

In Who Killed the Electric Car, one of the interviewees made a great statement rebutting the concerns that the Electric cars were so much more expensive, stating that there are no boundaries in the air from a poor community to a rich one. So, even if the more affluent people are the ones able to afford the cars, it will have a positive effect on everyone.

Hey, all you Richie Riches...would you mind buying a Prius instead of a Hummer? Thanks! Okay, problem solved. So, can I can keep driving the Freestyle guilt-free now?

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