Not ready to change?

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andrew
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Not ready to change?

Are we ready to change what kind of impact we are having on the planet? Are we ready to free ourselves from the reactive mentality that reflects our origins as animals? Are we smart enough to free ourselves from absolute grudging necessity?

I think that maybe as a race we are not. That we must experience the consequences of our actions in order to grow to understand. I used to believe that one person could change the world. But now I'm beginning to doubt that. I'm beginning to understand that it is difficult to even change your own self, let alone others. I think that Al Gore's stance and contradiction in action demonstrates this perfectly.

Was it Benjamin Franklin that said, "We all grow old too fast and wise too late"?

Should governments force people to change, or is this really a futile effort? Is this methodology (governments forcing people to change) even counter to the very nature of our natural progression as a race, and therefor counterintuitive? What must it take for us to learn and change? What are your thoughts and opinions?

spinningmagnets
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Re: Not ready to change?

The problem is probably more complex than I'm going to describe it, but...

IMHO the best thing that could happen is a slow and steady rise in fuel prices. I believe the government should not try to stop it, but should use its influence on markets to smooth the peaks and valleys.

Whenever there is a noticeable rise in fuel prices, there is always the media (constantly desperate to fill air-time with a dramatic story) asking an independent cab driver or trucker how the fuel prices are affecting him (with just the right tone of concern and empathy in their voice). How do you THINK its going to affect him?

A few days ago there a story on NPR where they interviewed people who were being displaced by the government building a large hydro-electric dam in China. The person was unhappy with how much money the goverment was giving her for her house, and she wasn't getting any money for having to re-start her business in a new location. I thought...are we supposed to be happy that China is building greener electrical generation than the famously dirty old-style coal plants they have been using...or not?

A sudden spike in fuel prices will cause havoc in all sectors of the US economy, but cheap fuel has always led to inefficient choices by the majority of the population.

Increased demand for the best choices will lead to mass production, lowering the prices and increasing the variety of choices.

jdh2550_1
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Re: Not ready to change?

spinningmagnets -

I don't think a market based increase in fuel price alone is going to make the shift occur. Here's why...

1) Look at Europe - yes their average fuel efficiency is better - however, there aren't many more EVs on the roads in Europe. I think the average price of gas in Europe is somewhere around $6 per gallon - largely "forced" there by heavy taxation.

2) Cars are still a major status symbol. As economic prosperity rises the number of larger, more powerful (less economic) cars appear on the road - even in Europe. When I was growing up in the UK you never saw anything much bigger than a Granada (about the same size as a Taurus) - however, now you see SUVs (I also think the average amount of debt has risen sharply)

3) If you rely on the market alone, then as demand reduces the price will drop and the incentive for more fuel efficient cars will be removed. Yes, you can hold price high with taxation - but I don't think that's the way to go.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

davew
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Re: Not ready to change?

I don't think a market based increase in fuel price alone is going to make the shift occur.

I agree with this, but a market-based increase in fuel price can be part of the solution. I think our best plan would consist of a mix of economic incentives -- high-priced fuel with low-priced EVs. This combined with social pressure could make a significant difference. Imagine if being green became associated with getting closer to God, Allah, Jaweh, Buddha, and so forth.

I have no stats that talk about the penetration of EVs in Europe, but what I do know is they have many more choices of types of EVs so it stands to reason the market is somewhat larger. They have the GWiz and the Reva to name two. I could scrounge for about half a dozen more. Over here we've got the Xebra and precious little else. While the majority of people I know who live in Europe do own cars, they think about them differently. A trip into the city is almost always done with public transport. Cars are strictly for hauling things and for going places the rails don't.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

andrew
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Re: Not ready to change?

Sorry if I wasn't clear in the topic post. What I meant is that I don't think it will ultimately work to force measures upon people to care for the planet. They must understand an appreciation for our home world. Sure, temporary measures can be implemented, but they may be under enforced, people may grudgingly just do what they have to, and it will never be enough anyway. What will ultimately be lasting is if we all really did care enough. Think about that. People make up the world, and if people change than the world can change, but not necessarily the other way around. "The world is what you make it."

I guess this is a a bit too philosophical though, and not practical enough. What will probably work best right now, yea, is force everyone for the life of them by sticking gasoline up to $10/gallon. Force people to change what they are doing, and maybe buy us some time.

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
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Mik
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Re: Not ready to change?

To save the world we may have to waste it E-mail to a Friend
Monday, 18 February 2008
By Michael Lardelli

“The only thing worse than peak oil now is peak oil in 20 years time.”

I first heard this comment in 2004 not long after finding out about the imminent peak in the world’s oil production rate (“peak oil”). Now in 2008 it seems we passed the peak of conventionally-mined oil more than a year ago. When I start to feel depressed about the implications of the decline in world oil production this comment helps me to deal with it. Let me explain:

Nothing happens without energy and oil is the master facilitating resource of our civilisation. Oil provides the majority of the world’s energy, and almost all of its transport energy - in a highly concentrated form that is easy to store and carry. It is also the source of plastics that are part of almost every aspect of modern life.

Read the entire article HERE.

ADDIT:
Looks like the moderators stopped me from breaching copyright...thanks!

Just a few more key points from the article here - it is really very refreshing!

But humans are not sane. We are short-sighted and think mainly of ourselves. We fight, we breed and we die - just like any other mindless species on this planet. That is how nature works.

I hope that you now understand that, as a member of an insane, short-sighted, self-interested and broadly unco-operative species the most sane course of action for an individual to take is to consume as wastefully as possible - to save the world we may have to waste it! There are a number of corollaries to this idea:

Mr Mik

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

davew
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Re: Not ready to change?

I guess this is a a bit too philosophical though, and not practical enough. What will probably work best right now, yea, is force everyone for the life of them by sticking gasoline up to $10/gallon. Force people to change what they are doing, and maybe buy us some time.

I was trying to be practical, but I think I diluted my own point. The three best ways to motivate people are sex, patriotism, and religion. The root of all of these is self-interest, of course, which explains why they are so powerful. I can't think of a way to make sex work for us. I use my Johnson as a car substitute so the whole thing is a nonstarter. Patriotism has temporarily been co opted by the people who want to repeal the bill of rights for citizens and bring back the inquisition for non-citizens. (We're different from them folks in Guantanamo. They like to torture and kill people. We just interrogate and execute people. It's completely different.) More's the pity. Patriotism worked remarkably well for conservation efforts during WWII. Let's just leave this one on the table for the next year or so. Lastly, religion. It could work. Buddhists shouldn't need any persuading and there's all kinds of stuff in the bible about being "stewards of the earth." I'm not sure how to affect this change, however. Maybe just start asking your friends if they believe it's moral to leave the earth in worse shape for their children.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

jdh2550_1
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Re: Not ready to change?

You forgot at least two other related motivators: greed and money... ;-)

Andrew - sorry we seem to have hijacked the thread a little...

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

gushar
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Re: Not ready to change?

I'd like to see some way to enlighten folks to the FACT that as oil prices go up...so does about everything else. People just don't seem to get it. Food prices have increased much in the last year. My family's bi-monthly trip to the grocery store, purchasing the usual foods, products, etc. that we need daily...has gone from about $130 to $160 in the last 6 months. That's about a 20% increase. That doesn't really affect my family much yet...but it certainly affects alot of families...in a big way. But you know what? I hear complaints now all the time about these increasing costs...for groceries, etc....but when I talk to people about these increases in "grocery" costs they don't even make any connection of that with increases in transportation costs (gas increases) for transporting goods. They don't seem to have the foggiest idea that the cost of gas/oil is bringing prices of consumer goods up!

And this is not to mention practically everything else. There are either "built in charges" or "fuel surcharges" on all consumer "services." The guy that comes out to repair your AC...has to pay more for transportation costs due to gas price increases. Who thinks that is not being passed on to them????

So, when the price of oil goes up per barrel. It's not just about the cost to fill up the tank of your car. It's about a whole lot more...and a whole lot more cost. And THAT IS WHAT AMERICAN'S DON'T GET!...YET!

Gushar

Gus

spinningmagnets
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Re: Not ready to change?

I agree, Gushar. Most people only understand how oil affects the cost of the fuel they put in their tank.

Our society will evolve over time (kicking and screaming) in order to deal with new crises and whatever problems present themselves. However, I do not believe we will ever devolve back into small villages scattered across the land, without the need for transportation.

Most food will still come from farms in the country that are worked by few people using large machines (not many jobs on farms, and few dating choices), then the food has to be transported to cities. The majority of people will still be concentrated in cities working manufacturing or service jobs.

Raw materials will be transported to factories by ship/train/truck, and finished products will then be transported to regional distribution centers, and then to stores.

A rise in fuel prices will raise the cost of ALL manufactured products and foods, whether those products are from the USA or China/India.

If everyone began driving an electric vehicle tomorrow (or even using public transportation), the plastics industry will still want oil. There have been agricultural substitues developed for every popular polymer base material, but they are all much more expensive than crude oil.

deronmoped
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Re: Not ready to change?

They have a new flat screen TV out, 103" Plasma, $70,000.00. This thing runs off of 220 1500 watts. If anything people are using more energy, every time you turn around there is some new device that people have to have that uses more and more electricity.

People pretty much have already gotten used to $3.00 a gallon gas. Some switch to more efficient cars when the one they have wears out, but that is about the extent of it. It's still, spend spend, drive drive, nothing is really slowing down.

Deron.

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