Last week we celebrated Earth Day, the day we look at all the ways we impact life on our planet.
It’s easy to be complacent with our environment. It’s convenient to say that because we recycle, we do everything we can to help the cause.
Many people shy away from more ambitious ideas for conserving resources and fighting climate change. A good example is the high degree of skepticism that applies to electric cars.
Conventional wisdom says they will never work. Some people think they are unpredictable, impractical, and generally impractical.
It’s best to stay the course with good old petroleum-based engines, which provide a well-established service network.
America is a car culture. He became much more dependent on cars during my lifetime. The addiction has developed to the point that lifestyle changes might be worth considering.
Homes built in the 1950s typically had only one garage. Now double is about the absolute minimum. Triple is almost the norm with new homes.
Walking and carrying is a lost art. Everyone jumps in the car to go anywhere. We have huge urban subdivisions where there is nothing within walking distance.
The electric car challenges this modern mindset. This involves respecting the need to constantly recharge the batteries and perhaps reducing the amount of driving someone does each day.
It is true that electric car technology is not yet perfect. We haven’t advanced to the point that they can easily make a round trip from Marshall to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in freezing cold. The question is where to start.
Electric cars will never see breakthroughs if consumers do not want to use them. Public support will be required. Electricity has worked well for golf carts for over 50 years, so it seems there is potential for the same kind of success on the road.
We have something to gain by developing an alternative to the electric car, but also by working with public transport technology.
It would be great to see networks of electric charging stations throughout Greater Minnesota. There would also be benefits to making light rail an option for all corners of the state, perhaps connecting every community that has a four-year college.
Massive amounts of gasoline are wasted every day in city traffic. Previously, this meant a simple process of moving between the center of a city and the suburbs. Now there is often a suburb-to-suburb ride, a process by which traffic travels in many different directions.
Earth Day is the perfect time to consider whether high consumption is really necessary. It’s good to consider sustainable approaches, when it comes to transportation as well as other things like food choices and household energy.
It is often not popular to encourage people to consume less. It’s like telling them not to spend money on businesses, not to help keep the wheels of the economy moving.
A more acceptable concept is to encourage people to consume wisely. No one wants to see situations where people spend recklessly to the point of reaching a financial crisis. No one wants runaway consumption that depletes resources.
Rather, it is about using resources in a way that allows for their availability and affordability in the future.
We should ask ourselves how much we really need. It is very possible that by conserving resources, we will not only have a more efficient way of life, but also a better and more enjoyable way of life.
— Jim Muchlinski is a longtime journalist and contributor to the Marshall Independent.