Wednesday, November 30, 2005
I just read a motoring piece about a new Mini 4x4 on the cards, which
these days inevitably ended up with a swipe (though on balance fair
enough) as to what the Mayor of London would make of it (it seems
he's talking of banning them as an eco-measure).
That's the problem with flip, narrow-minded, poorly thought-out,
agenda-driven , 'ist' campaigns; they almost always end up biting you
on the bum.
I'm not against a smart bit of well-considered, harmless, thought-
provoking, egalitarian protest to effect change, but when you take an
aggressively negative, and highly exclusive (but sloppily targeted)
stance such as the '4x4' efforts of some anti-dolts, you tend to
negate, or worse actively detract from any positives.
One obvious solution would be to move on to the more appropriate SUV
sector, but this would still consign all sorts of innocents to the
misery of censorious missionary zeal. There are many who, for sure,
it wouldn't hurt to inspire to drive more appropriate chariots based
on actual use, but is the collateral damage really worth it?
The final sentence here is not a defence of the unwarranted use of
such vehicles, simply a hint as to better avenues to explore in
trying to persuade people to change their purchase habits.
4x4s don't cause greenhouse gasses, burning lots of petroleum-based
fuels does. There's a difference.
In an ideal world, everyone would would cooperate in doing what's
best for them. Glad I got that out of the way.
In the real world, everyone has a different view of what's best...
for them(selves & us). A pol with an eye on a few decades tenure with
a legacy to enjoy while he/she is still alive (I don't think they
worry too much about the afterlife). A manufacturer with an eye on
shareholder value. A lobby group with an office, ad budget and staff
pension to pay for. A family with a fixed income, uncertain pension
and the prospect of a cold winter ahead.
So I was looking last night at my utility bills. Gas, electric,
telecoms, insurance, water and rates. Can't do much about the last
two, so I was concentrating on the the first few.
Trouble is, I ended up pretty confused. And that is not a good way to
arrive at a valid decision. It should all be so simple. All I need is
a cost per unit. Even with some jiggery-pokery on standing charges
and payment plans, that's all I need to make my decision. BTUs,
kilowatts, you name it. It is but a consumable item I don't see, that
has to meet certain quality standards to get to me and do its job,
whoever it comes from. So if I can get to the number I seek, it's
simple. I'll buy the cheapest.
What about the planet? So now it gets a wee bit more complicated. But
really it shouldn't, at least financially. If there is a loading, so
be it. Just so long as I know how much and can make that financial call.
Where is this money going to? And where is this energy coming from?
Am I paying for green energy, or funding some alternative energy
subsidy to a system tasked to meet targets rather than best-case
solutions (whatever they may be), or to help fund some pressure group
I may not endorse who are lending their name to promoting a
commercial, competitive, enterprise?
I don't know.
And inasmuch as a lot of my day is reading waaaaaay to much on this
issue already, and am still none the wiser, I'm pretty sure not many
other members of the average working public are either.
So I think the best way to sort this out before we discuss our way
into oblivion is to try to get someone to give us a big, juicy (no
endorsement intended or implied) KISS. Please! Is it not possible to
strip away all the political and activist baggage and pare down the
big issues by Keeping It Simple & Stupid?
I'll offer my thoughts on developing that naive, idealistic plea in