lhowell

Mindset 3.0 Changing How We Think About the Environment

In carbon emissions, commute, Environment, hybrid vehicles, mindset 3.0 on May 3, 2007 at 2:59 pm

I have a complaint–actually more of a beef! There are a number of significant reports that have come out recently discussing climate change, global warming, carbon emissions and the like. My beef is this: can anyone other than people making greater than six figures really “afford” to be concerned about this?

I once lived in an area just across the Golden Gate Bridge called Tiburon, just north of San Francisco. I would notice the cost of housing in the Bay area as this was weekly fodder for my then girlfriend and now wife and I to discuss. What became apparent to me is that the women and men, who perform services in the city, typically have to commute exceedingly long distances in excess of 25-30 miles and often greater than this. So, how do they get to work each day? Drive, of course. But that is just the beginning of the problem for many. The maintenance of a car, the high price of gas, the stress of driving, it all adds up.

Enter hydrogen powered vehicles, hybrids and electric powered cars. While it is undeniable, this would help pollution enormously if every person on their commute had one, but the fact is they are much too damn expensive and unattainable for the masses. Moreover, production capacity for the automotive industry remains geared for gasoline powered vehicles–this is their sweet spot, to be sure. So, what’s a person to do making $55,000 a year with two children and their spouse makes $45,000 for a combined income of $100,000 a year. Well, nothing. The reality is, wages have stagnated, foreclosures continue to increase at record levels, and fuel prices continue to climb. As great an idea as it would be to drive fuel-friendly, “clean” vehicles, it is simply not practical or advisable for a “regular” hard-working people.

Advocates likely have a nice argument to counter this; I have not heard it, but the truth hurts. Movie stars and celebrities can afford to drive a Prius. But making a statement is not what most of us think about–we are consumed with providing for our families and not political or environmental correctness. When auto manufacturers change their mindset completely and build affordable (less than $18,000) and eco-friendly vehicles, carbon emissions will continue to be a problem.

The other and more vexing challenge is mass transit for places like Houston, where I live currently. People here, especially in suburban areas like big. Namely, gas guzzling SUVs that seat eight people. The irony to this is how many people drive alone in this behemoth of a vehicle. Not to mention, commuting long distances in these car crushers.

The United States is the largest contributor to destroying the environment and frankly, most people really don’t care. That’s the reality. Until, people start to care en masse and raise their concerns, go to Congress, boycott, stop coming to work, and so on, long commutes with single riders in gas powered, monster truck like vehicles will continue to be the norm rather than the exception. But right now, we have a choice: buy a hybrid for a 30% premium to help preserve the environment or take care of your family. The choice is made for us–being “green” is simply out of reach for regular people like you and me. For more visit my site at www.spangy.com

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