Monday, December 11, 2006

Smartie Pants

This is my next car. And here’s why: It’s almost Christmas and it’s practically 50 degrees…in Minnesota. That’s freaky warm. And yeah, I love it. Loooooovve it! Up here in the northland we’re packing picnics and slapping on suntan lotion. But still…it’s not normal. Something funky’s been going on for a while…and worrying me for a while.

So I rented an Inconvenient Truth and watched Al’s slide show. Turns out the hottest 10 years recorded in the 20th century, all took place in the last 15 years. Turns out glaciers are melting and species are disappearing. This is really scary for a person like me. A person who likes to…well…breathe. I’m very fond of air. And clean air is my favorite kind.

So…it’s called the Smart Car. Look at that cute little bumper, those darling little wheels, that adorable gas mileage (45-67 mpg with a cruising speed of 85 mph). And these tiny cuties are finally being imported into the good old U.S. of A. Soon as I win the lottery…or come up with a best seller…that’s going to be in my garage…or maybe my entryway where I can dust it.

So what do you think about global warming? Is it a bunch of hooey? Definitely a problem? Or somebody else’s problem? And what the devil are we going to do about it?


Candace said...

I haven't seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" but it's on my to-be-viwed list.

However, I tend to view global warming as a natural phenomemon, albeit one that we humans are acclerating with our use of fossil fuels. I think the earth has patterns and goes through cycles, just like an living thing. For instance, we have geological evidence that the earth's climate has changed before; glaciers once covered most of the northen half of the globe. When they retreated, what as that but global warming? And we humans had nothing to do with it.

Also, species have disappeared before -- and, again, humankind had nothing to do with it.

I think it's just the natural order of things. Evolution. Survival of the fittest.

I think the earth will warm and humankind will adapt. And then, at some time far, far, far in the future the earth will start to cool again--as part of that natural cycle--and people will begin to panic again because they've never known temperatures to be so cold.

That's not to say I don't think we should do all we can to slow the process down. Use less fossil fuels. Use more renewable engery. Recycle. Reuse. Etc.

But my point is -- maybe we can slow it down, but we can't stop it. It's a force of nature.

Helen Brenna said...

It's a definite problem, the entire world's problem, and IMO the more developed, financially capable nations are going to have to step up to bat and not only do our part, but provide financial incentives for poorer countries to hop on the band wagon.

But it all starts at home, doesn't it? I'm planning on my next car being at least a hybrid.

Michele said...

Haven't seen the movie, but Gore was on Oprah last week with a shortened version of his schpeil. I'm all for reduce, reuse, recycle, and anything else that can make our world kinder and gentler, and less stuffed with chemicals.
The Smart is an awesome little car, though not sure I'd want to be sandwiched between two semis in one of those! But it would be very cute on you, Lois.

Here's to simplifying and making smarter consumer choices!

lois greiman said...

That's right, Michele said she saw hundreds of little Smarties in Paris. Europe, and every other advanced country is so far ahead of us environmentally.

I think Candace is right. Things do change naturally, but they're changing reallllly fast now. We're losing over a hundred species a day! A day! Granted, most of those are bugs and little plants no one cares about...but maybe we should huh??

Debra Dixon said...

We're losing nature's drug store, that's for sure. I do care about those plants and bugs.

I do think that climate change is part of the Earth's history BUT it doesn't normally happen with the devasting speed we're seeing now.

The world has less chance to adapt. Evolution takes a bit of time and we're costing ourselves that precious bit of time. With the remodel a couple of years ago, we tried to go with an many "green" materials/options as we could.

We're about to get hubby a new car in the next few months but I doubt it's going to be a hybrid or a Smartie. :/ He's a "car" and not an "enviroment" guy. We won't be getting an SUV but the decison will be made on handling and engine, not conservation.

lois greiman said...

Thanks Deb. I'm with you all the way about the pharmaceuticals that are being lost. Even so, I tend to worry more about the creatures that live in the wild places than the possible drugs we're losing that could save ourselves.

I'm sure I'd get laughed right off my little country road with a Smartie. But I really do thing they're adorable and they make tons of sense. Honestly though, my next car will probably be a hybrid. I'm waiting for them to make something smaller and cuter. The Priuz is okay but I like tiny.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I have "Inconvenient" in my Blockbuster queue, along with "Iraq For Sale," which has been on "long wait" for weeks. I just saw a fascinating documentary about the "Little Ice Age" theory. Disc? Hist Channel? One of those (my faves). Pretty good evidence that we had one in the middle of the 6th century. So I agree with the notion that climate changes are natural. But the way we're screwing with the environment is unprecedented in human history. I have no doubt that if we don't take this seriously right about NOW people will pay, and soon. Man, we're a selfish species. Specie?

That's a cute car, and as soon as I don't have to tote child safety seats around, I'll look into it. I'm thinking some kind of hybrid, too. I don't think we oughta be killing off plants and critters the way we're doing. I think the deformed frogs are trying to tell us something, too. I also think the reason we're so heavily dependent on oil is because the alternatives--which could have been developed long ago, imo--don't look to be quite as profitable.

Betina Krahn said...

Cute, Michele! But I'm not sure there's enough "crumple zone" for us here in Florida. . . where the world's worst drivers congregate.

FYI, I bit the bullet and got a hybrid car, and I love it. There is a real time gauge for MPG on the dash and a little lighted diagram for showing which part of the hybrid engine is working and where power is being directed at any given moment. Way cool.

I try not to get distracted from the driving, but I'm becoming obsessed with seeing how high a gas mileage number I can get. Unfortunately, that means I do funny things with my speed and other drivers can get a little testy down here. They probably think I'm just another retiree with noplace to go and a spastic foot. :)

But as for global warming. . . I'm a science geek so I keep tabs on things. . . but I also know that "knowledge" is really "interpretation of data." And at any given moment there are many ways to interpret the mountains of data for a system as complex as climate. There is evidence that can be interpreted as global warming; there is evidence that what we see as GW may be just part of a larger pattern of climactic shift that goes in cycles.

What is chillingly certain is that environmental data has become as highly politicized (and thus vulnerable to manipulation and misleading interpretation)as political and economic data. And the dialog/rhetoric has become just as shrill and implacable on both ends of the spectrum. Even as a seeker, I'm not sure who to trust anymore.

Still, common sense says clean air and water and the preservation of natural places and respect for other species. . . have to be good for the world. So I'm driving green. . . and hoping that color stays around in nature for a long time to come.

:) Betina