Jan 03

Web entrepreneur Olivier Chalouhi decribes the altruistic selfish reason he opted to by a Nissan Leaf:

“It all started,” Chalouhi says, “when I saw an ad for the Chevy Volt.” The Volt, which started shipping to dealers in mid-December, is the Leaf’s chief competitor in the green-car sweepstakes. It runs for about 40 miles on an electric charge before a small gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the battery. That gives the Volt more than 350 miles of range—unlike the Leaf, which runs for 60 to 100 miles, varying with weather and terrain and driving style, before needing a recharge that can take 30 minutes to 7 hours, depending on the strength of the charger. The Volt’s gasoline engine makes it less attractive to some eco-minded consumers like Chalouhi. “In all the articles I read about the Volt, the Leaf was discussed as well,” he says. “As soon as I found out about the Leaf, I forgot about the Volt. The Volt wasn’t going to project the image I wanted. It has a tailpipe.”

Green vanity is nothing new of course. Personally I’ve noticed that the only homes that I’ve ever seen a Smart Car parked in front of are homes of the wealthy. Smart Cars, the Nissan Leaf, and the like are hardly cars of the masses, their large price tags make them just cool gadgets that soothe eco-egos.

BTW, much like the leafy dashboard display on the Ford Fusion hybrid, has it occurred to anyone else that the name Nissan Leaf is a paradox, i.e. does not a fossil fuel gulping, CO2 (plant food) breathing SUV do more for leaves than a zero emission vehicle?

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May 05

All of the latest public opinion polls have indicated that the public is not alarmed at all about global warming, doesn’t believe it exists, or if it does it’s that it’s not caused by man.  Moreover, a computer model commissioned by GORE LIED indicates that disbelief in man-made global warming will completely disappear by 2020.

That’s not to say that there won’t be a few dead-enders, of course – and here’s one.  Meet Gillian Caldwell, who writes at HuffPo:

I have spent my lifetime face to face with some of the most brutal and inhumane acts ever committed, but nothing has been as traumatizing for me as trying to get action to tackle the climate crisis.

As a long time human rights defender and prior Executive Director at WITNESS, I helped produce and direct films on rape as a weapon of war and amputations in Sierra Leone’s recent bloody conflict, I conducted an undercover investigation into the Russian mafia’s involvement in trafficking women for forced prostitution, I investigated hit squads in apartheid South Africa, and I spent countless hours in editing rooms watching first hand images of death, destruction, and devastation.

But spending my days and nights trying to get our country to tackle global warming is more emotionally demanding than any job I have ever done.

When I was at WITNESS, people used to say “The work you do must be so difficult. How do you manage?” to which I would respond “Well, I can see the results. And it’s not as bad as environmental work would be!” What I meant when I said that five years ago is that I felt overwhelmed by our inexorable march to “pave it all” — parking lot by parking lot, McDonald’s by Wal-Mart. Continue reading »

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Jan 29

I received a plea from my stock portfolio manager today urging me to accept electronic delivery of my account statements. I rolled my eyes, and then typed this reply. I imagine I’m not the only one who feels this way:

RE: Go Green with Electronic Statement Delivery

Let me tell you something. Most people don’t give a darn about “going green”, which is not the same thing as saying they don’t give a darn about the environment (doesn’t everybody care about the environment?). However, “going green” is perceived by many as just eco-vanity mumbo-jumbo to make people feel good about themselves, rather than doing something that would actually improve the environment.

Yes, I’ll sign up for your electronic delivery of my account statement. Why? It will make my life simpler – and that’s how you should sell it. Everybody wants to make their life simpler, but a much smaller portion of the population will respond to the annoying, look-at-me, do-gooder sentiment of “go green”.

Like most people, I receive these types of notices often.

Companies who urge customers to accept electronic delivery of account statements real motive has nothing at all to do with improving the environment and everything to do with improving the image (and hopefully the profits) of the company itself.

There’s two parts to the bargain the company and the customer make with each other:

  1. The company gets to express to the customer how much the company supposedly cares about the environment by offering the “go green” electronic statement delivery service with the hopes that the green sentiment will engender customer loyalty, and higher profits.
  2. The customer gets a cheap green thrill (either wittlingly or unwittingly, it doesn’t matter).

It’s win-win for the company and its customer, but the environment is just a tool for both that gets left out in the cold.

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