Cars as clothing
- Jason, Hey!
It is definately true that this "car as clothing" thing is a helluva tough nut... BUT BUT BUT this guy, like so many others, only talks about tailpipe emissions. He doesnt even mention the other negatives of automobilisation, not even as "I know about that other stuff but I am just going to focus on this..". The fact that so many think that a so-called Green car is... actually Green... is, in aggregate, a wolf in sheep's clothing.
While "carm-reduction" (based on harm reduction) is a nice measure, we have to be clear with ourselves and with the public what a "Green" car actually means, and what it doesnt. I suggest a cartoon strip or TV commercial called "It is still a car" which shows a "Green" car doing all those other bad things... noise, hitting animals, facilitating suburbs...
T - Dept. of things we need bike-riding celebrities to fund, WCN
> Od: Jason Meggs <jmeggs@...>
> Komu: email@example.com
> Datum: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 23:45:59 -0500 (EST)
> Předmět: [carfree_cities] US/OT "Our Cars, Ourselves"
> Sorry if this seems off-topic. I think watching how the public changes
> its relationship to the car is critical to the long-term goal of replacing
> them with the ever more preferable Noncar (coming as a city near you...).
> Our Cars, Ourselves
> Gregory Dicum, Special to SF Gate
> Wednesday, December 8, 2004
> Just before Thanksgiving, I went down to the San Francisco Auto Show,
> giving up a gorgeous and sunny Sunday afternoon to wander around the
> cavernous bowels of the Moscone Center. The air was close with that
> new-car smell, and the hundreds of shiny, shiny cars gleamed as though in
> some kind of virtual-reality spaceport -- like the future was there
> somewhere, struggling to emerge.
> Cars are more than just products. They are fundamental to our nature as
> Americans: 400,000 people paid eight bucks a pop to browse this gargantuan
> showroom, making it by far the largest show of any kind in Northern
> California. Courtney Caldwell, founder and editor in chief of Road and
> Travel magazine, explains, "A car is quite often an extension of
> somebody's personality. If you're the type of person who wants to feel
> sexy and wants to have people see you as sexy, you might want to own a
> sports car. If you want someone to see you as rugged and athletic, you
> might want to drive a pickup truck."
> "We road-test new vehicles every week," Caldwell adds, "and I feel
> different in every one."
> This mood-altering magic was plain to see in the faces of people sitting
> in cars they would never own -- in the gleeful eyes of guys who slipped
> behind the wheel of the silver Mercedes SLK 350 and in the grins of people
> who had managed to struggle into the crow's-nest seats of the Hummers.
> This is the dream, after all. The reality is quite different: it's the
> grubbier, more down-to-earth parking lot next door that shows us who we
> really are.
> And it's not a pretty sight. We have 4.5 million cars here in the Bay
> Area, each of which burns up enough fuel to fill an average of 11 bathtubs
> a year. And it's hardly news where the exhaust from all that stuff goes:
> straight into the atmosphere, where it plagues us locally as smog and
> threatens us globally with climate change. If all this fuel were dumped
> into the Bay instead of the air, the lake of gas would be half an inch
> deep from San Jose clear up to Vallejo. That's the karmic burden of every
> driver, and the sign of a massive dissonance between how we see ourselves
> and how we conduct ourselves.
> The vast majority of Americans consistently report that they consider
> themselves environmentalists, but the cars we're driving don't reflect
> this self-image. Part of the problem might be that the less-is-more ethic
> inherent in fuel efficiency has long been the very antithesis of American
> car culture. As a result, automakers are a bit mystified about how to
> approach this new market segment. "They care about the trees," as Caldwell
> puts it, "which is wonderful, because we need people like that."
> We need people like Robert Cooley, who produces his own electricity from
> solar panels on the roof of his home in Pleasanton. "I put about a third
> more into the grid than I use," he says, "so I'd like to have an electric
> vehicle I can recharge using the energy I create." I met Cooley at the
> S.F. Auto Show, where he was perusing a Zap electric car -- a cute little
> thing that looks like a street-legal version of the brightly colored
> Playskool car you've seen in every family's backyard.
> (But don't even think of laughing when you see one on the road: last
> month, Santa Rosa-based Zap announced not only that the U.S. Environmental
> Protection Agency approved its Zap Smart car for sale in the United States
> but also that CostCo is going to distribute part of Zap's line -- a double
> whammy that sent Zap's stock price shooting up more than 200 percent.)
> As fun as it is to sit in an odd little car such as the Zap and fantasize
> about how smug we'll feel parking that itty-bitty thing in the most
> improbable spots, however, most of us will never buy a car like that.
> Other concerns -- feeling sexy, for example -- trump something as abstract
> as carbon emissions. As a result, here in the Bay Area, one of the most
> environmentally conscious parts of the country, we drive around feeling
> sexy and sporty all right, but also a little guilty.
> But there are some signs that our suffering might be over sooner than we
> think. In fact, you may already be driving your last gas hog.
> At the S.F. Auto Show, a dozen or so alternative vehicles were sprinkled
> throughout the showrooms. Though they accounted for just 1 percent of the
> vehicles on display, these cars consistently attracted a lot of attention.
> Although all-electric cars such as the Zap, or General Motors'
> hydrogen-powered Hummer prototype, promise to free us completely from
> petroleum, hybrid cars have emerged as the alternative vehicle of this
> transitional moment. These vehicles combine a gasoline engine and an
> electric motor and can be filled up at any gas station. They work with
> what we've got now, but they can reduce emissions by 90 percent and boost
> gas mileage into the 50- to 60-mpg range.
> As gas prices soar, petroleum wars rage and the negative environmental
> effects of burning fossil fuels continue to be doubted by only a few
> flat-Earthers (who also happen to be in charge of the federal government),
> car buyers are taking a close look at hybrids. And manufacturers have been
> taken by surprise.
> Automakers -- particularly American ones -- have had to be dragged kicking
> and screaming (and suing) into producing alternative vehicles. By far the
> biggest impetus comes from the drastically reduced emissions California's
> clean-air initiatives mandate for the coming years. Ford is a case in
> point. While Ford was introducing its only hybrid vehicle this year -- the
> Escape -- it was at the same time part of an industry group threatening to
> sue to prevent California's Air Resources Board from establishing rules
> for greenhouse-gas emissions, and it sought to block a state Assembly bill
> allowing hybrids with single drivers to travel in car-pool lanes.
> In that light, it's no surprise the rollout has been sluggish. Rather than
> actually satisfying customer demand, American manufacturers have been
> acting as if these cars are little more than very expensive marketing
> props. "Ford has one hybrid for sale in dealerships," says Jason Mark, the
> intense and wiry organizer of Global Exchange's Clean Car campaign. "At
> this point, it's just greenwashing. It's a fine vehicle, but they only
> plan to sell 20,000 in 2005 -- just one-half of 1 percent of their
> lineup." But you would never guess that from Ford's aggressive "Greening
> the Blue Oval" ad campaign, aimed at bringing liberal and progressive
> customers into their showrooms.
> Even companies such as Toyota and Honda, which have made much more
> substantial commitments -- their hybrids are in their third iterations,
> compared to American manufacturers' first-generation offerings -- have
> been blindsided by consumer demand: most hybrids have waiting periods of
> three to six months, and, for many models, tens of thousands of people are
> on lists to buy them, even though the cars aren't even available yet. More
> than the price premium on these cars (basically erased by government
> incentives and savings at the pump or, if you happen to work for Santa
> Clara-based Hyperion, by your employer), the wait is the largest deterrent
> for would-be hybrid buyers.
> Meanwhile, the United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil each day.
> Passenger vehicles burn up three quarters of the total, and SUVs alone
> burn half the total for all passenger cars -- more petroleum than America
> produces each year. Our dependence on foreign oil is right there under
> your hood.
> It's hard to face the reality that the rolling extension of your being is
> destroying the country and the planet; it feels like a personal attack.
> But it's even worse when you know, deep down, that the attack is
> justified. Nobody wants to destroy the planet -- that's the fundamental
> strength of the environmental argument -- and smart automakers that can
> make that feeling go away without sacrificing the other reasons people buy
> cars are poised to ride the next big trend in the automotive world.
> The most popular car in America, the Toyota Camry, "appeals to a very
> practical-minded person," says Road and Travel's Courtney Caldwell,
> "someone who doesn't want a lot of attention." Indeed, one-fourth of the
> cars on the road are plain old midsize sedans, and Toyota sold 30,000
> Camrys last month alone its best month ever. Even the SUVs we buy the most
> -- Ford's Explorer is the best selling -- are relatively nondescript and
> functional. We may love to dream about cars that scream for attention, but
> the vehicles we actually drive are pretty dull.
> Environmental responsibility is not another market segment; it's an
> underlying way of being, potentially for all of us. There's no reason you
> can't be sexy and environmentally aware, or sporty and concerned about
> what comes out of your tailpipe, or even, like California Gov. Arnold
> Schwarzenegger (who pledged to convert one of his several Hummers to
> hydrogen but was let off the hook when GM made one for him), aggressive
> and obnoxious but cowed by the reality of the coughing, wheezing planet,
> which, in the end, is bigger and badder than all of us.
> That's why the most exciting cars at the S.F. Auto Show were some of the
> most boring. Honda's hybrid Accord and Civic look just like Accords and
> Civics. There's no need to explain: you're just driving a sensible car --
> only, now, it's more sensible than ever. Meanwhile, Chevy's new hybrid
> Silverado pickup lets you proclaim your manly, sporty side, but in a
> sensitive, New Age way. Next up is a generation of hybrid SUVs and luxury
> cars that should be hitting the streets about a year from now. Once a
> choice like that is actually available in showrooms, not just on waiting
> lists, hybrids will be in a position to rocket to the fore the way SUVs
> did in the 1990s.
> The signs are encouraging: if the industry -- either giants such as Toyota
> or upstarts like Zap -- can provide drivers with vehicles that express who
> we really are more completely, cars that marry our care for the planet
> with our other needs, then we might start to find a way out of our
> oil-soaked conundrum. The focus has been on the extremes -- the belching
> Hummer versus the quirky Zap -- but the future will be won in the plain,
> vanilla middle.
> Gregory Dicum, author of Window Seat: Reading the Landscape from the Air,
> writes about the natural world from San Francisco. A forester by training,
> Gregory has worked at the front lines of some of the world's most urgent
> environmental crises.
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- In other words, a great white shark is still quite a hazard even though it's
From: CEB [mailto:cyklopraha@...]
Sent: Mon 13-Dec-04 2:00 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Cars as clothing
.". The fact that so many think that a so-called Green car is... actually
Green... is, in aggregate, a wolf in sheep's clothing.
------ End of Forwarded Message