The 2nd Annual Alternative Car and Transportation Expo: Part 2 (Part 1 is here)
by Nicholas Freilich
V. I. Lenin! Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!
Next door – at the Solar Santa Monica booth – I ran into an old high school/t-ball friend, Daniel. How he recognized me in my filthy fisherman’s cap and flash-forward-Jack-Shepherd beard is absolutely incredible.
Memories… like the corner of my mind…
Daniel and I both dreamed of scoring films when we were younger, and we are both cursed with being interested in way too many things. It seems, however, that we’ve found – in the green movement – something to be excited about for years to come.
After I complained about how my current employer uses non-recycled paper in the copy room and doesn’t provide clearly-marked recycling bins, he told me about some ‘green’ law firms he discovered at his previous non-profit job.
The firms boasted cutting-edge practices like ‘printing on two sides of paper’ and using ‘electronic correspondence.’ ‘You mean, like email?’ I asked. ‘Yeah. Email.’
I can has email?
After laughing a bit, we engaged in a lengthy conversation where Daniel talked about how – and I paraphrase heavily here – all political theory is crushed by the green movement.
‘The debate is very old,’ he said at one point, ‘it’s Marx and Hegel, communism and capitalism. Communism lost, or so that’s how the story goes. But now we have this green movement that is gaining steam, becoming popular throughout the world, and it’s loaded with socialist undertones. The whole idea of “sustainability” includes social justice – there’s no escaping it.’
Well, yeah – and then China goes and does something like this.
“I Wonder” – Kanye West (mp3)
There’s also the colonialism issue.
“We’re responsible for an enormous carbon output, but lots of poor and developing nations are, too, so we’re going into these nations with newer technologies to help forward our ecological ideals in the name of saving the world. Although this seems like a good thing, it’s remarkably similar to other first-world colonialist movements to spread certain political and religious ideals, and that’s something that will inevitably cause problems down the line.”
Powered by patriotism! (And an enormous Lithium-Ion battery.)
You Buy It, You Break It
Although I knew that no conversation could live up to the exchange I had with Daniel, I pressed on. My next stop was the carbon offsetting service 3 Phases Energy. I’ve always been skeptical of the concept of offsetting – you throw money at some company so that you can keep polluting, right? Why not just stop creating all that carbon in the first place? Am I wrong?
You’re not wrong, Walter…
We all know it’s not that easy, which is why companies like 3 Phases are in business. The basic idea is that ones pays X dollars for a certain amount of carbon offset credits from carbon reduction projects. 3 Phases specializes in wind farms. As more and more people buy credits, more wind farms are built, and more carbonless energy appears on the grid. Other companies plant trees. It’s rather simple and I’m now a fan of offsetting. If you have the means, give it a shot.
Of course, if offsetting doesn’t sound like fun, you can always get a personal electric pod-car.
“Electro Man” – Calvin Harris (mp3)
Dignity Killed the Electric Car
Electric cars were big at AltCar, but most of them were unimpressive, taking forever to charge and offering unremarkable performance.
‘Hi… I’m an electric car… I don’t go fast, or very far… and if you drive me, people will think…’
…that the most impressive vehicle on display was Phoenix Motorcars’ unbelievable zero-emission Sport Utility Truck (they really ought to work on the name). Partnered with nanotechnology up-and-comer Altair Nanotechnologies, Phoenix has created an electric truck that boasts incredible specs.
Zero emissions. 100+ miles per charge. Speeds of 95 mph carrying four passengers and a full payload. 0 to 60 in 10 seconds. 250,000 mile battery life. 10 minutes to recharge to 95% power.
10 minutes? How has this car not taken over the free world all by itself? The big issue seems to be money.
“Lucky Ones” – Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew (mp3)
Answer Simple, but Question Very Hard
On my way out, I passed the Department of Consumer Affairs Beaureau of Auto Repair table. They were handing out free tire pressure gages. No, really, if your tires aren’t inflated properly, you’re spending way too much on gasoline.
As I rode home, I ruminated on some key ideas: there are a lot of possible answers, there is a lot of money for whomever has the right answer, corn-based ethanol is probably not the answer, and cycling is always the answer.
“Answers & Questions” – Earlimart (mp3)
Nicholas Freilich is This Recording’s Legal Correspondent. He always prints on both sides of the paper.
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