What is a 'Green Society'?
Apart from being an environmentalist society tied up in politics a green society is one where many public laws and regulations, pertaining largely to environmental decisions, is governed by a naturalist viewpoint. This means that a good portion of the society is interested in so-called 'green energy' that does not harm the environment to produce and low-emission, non-petroleum based fuel sources for transportation.
Many ideals that have come from this point of view are: electric rail transportation (New York's subway system is a great example); bio-diesel (diesel fuel manufactured by purifying and modifying vegetable oils used in restraunt deep fryers and corn oils); solar and wind power (this solution is expensive to implement but works exceedingly well); and electric/hybrid car designs.
One of the more revolutionary ideas comes from GM: the hydrogen fuel cell platforms. Their Hy-wire designed skateboard platform vehicles run entirely on hydrogen fuel cells and put of clean, pure water. A renewable resource that is clean and *could* help our environment recover some.
What the hell am I talking about?
I was out driving earlier tonight (which for me, coincidentally, is about 0300 hrs) and was looking at the dealerships along our local auto row. 4.5 miles of auto dealerships, most of which are full of SUVs and trucks. I love trucks, having owned three previously, but hate SUVs. Why? If you've ever looked at a) the people who drive them and b) their mileage specs you know why. Before I explore this tangent let me make one thing very, very, clear: I don't hate the smaller SUVs such as the Toyota Rav series or the Subaru wagon/SUV concoctions. We're talking about the larger vehicles here. The kind rappers usually drive, incedentally...
Why do I hate SUVs so much? Their mileage is horrid. "Our new SUV has an industry standard high mileage of .5 mpg!" The other reason: they cost way too fucking much. "Our high mileage means we can charge you $48,000 for $8,000 in materials!" Don't believe me? Ever check what kind of mileage the Hummer gets? 15 piddly-ass miles per gallon. You know how bad that sucks? It sucks real bad. My '04 Cavalier costs half as much as I have it configured and gets almost twice the mileage. If I stay off the pedal and stick to the high speed roads it gets more than twice the highway miles.
Who needs SUVs? People who carpool with large groups. I can fit four in my car comfortably and I don't know many people who carpool with more than that. People who run sports teams, but a van is better suited to this purpose. People who haul pets around, and I'm talking about medium to large dogs or many pets, not your fucking poodle or chihua"annoying little yipping bastard"hua. No contention there. And people who haul Girl Scout cookies. Soccer moms, you know who you are. Now buy a damned van because it's better suited to what you do!
What I'm trying to say here is if you're not in the military and running through bogs you don't need a fucking Hummer (and the new ones, bless GMs stupid think-tank brains, suck). If you're not rock crawling and camping in a different canyon every weekend you don't need a big Jeep. If you're not hauling a soccer team all over the place and their gear at least once a week you don't need a Yukon Denali. 'Nuff said.
Trucks and their place in society.
Ah, the truck. It's the perennial choice of transport for Americans... that are farmers and contractors! The people who need trucks are the guys hauling just enough hay to fill a small trailer but not enough to require a flatbed. Guys that are hauling loads of lumber and sheetrock to do one house, not five. Guys that go up in the hills at least once a week when they're not hauling previously mentioned articles and get muddy heading to a favorite camping spot!
You know who doesn't need a truck? Your 17 year old son who managed to pass a test for once in is wretched life. I'm serious here! An old friend of mine had his parents co-sign on an F-350 because he got better than a C average in school for a year! A-fucking-mazing, isn't it? "You're a failure at life and you've had too many accidents to get a fast care so we'll get you a big truck!" Then, and this is my favorite part, he jacked it 4", put 36" tires on it and, get this, refused to take it on a dirt road because "I'll have to wash it once I get home". Why don't you just chop your dick off now and save your future wife (or husband, you fucking nancy) the trouble?
As I said previously I don't hate trucks and have owned three. First was a '69 F-100. Beat the hell out of it. Sunk it 6' in to a river bed up in the hills (heh heh heh, that one was fun!). Rebuilt the trans myself. Next one was a '79 GMC C2500. God, that thing was a beast! Shit mileage but ran perfect (until the engine seized going down the freeway). Managed to put 130,000 miles on it myself, bringing the total to 300,000 w/ rebuild. They don't make 'em like that anymore... Last one was a late 1980's Toyota pickup. Great little truck, perfect for the city, the hills, the highway and haulin' stuff. Know what I did with all of them? Hauled stuff around, moved people's homes, made regular runs to Lowes, got them dirty (and fucked up) in the hills and had the self-satisfaction of being able to fix them myself. I did a lot with those trucks. Even made a trip across country in the GMC with 1500 lbs. of my friends life in the back to move him 1400 miles! Yeah, I used them like the trucks they were meant to be.
What's the point, Gryyphyn?
My point is that to get to a green society we should start with our transportation. If you look at other countries there are strict limitations on what types of vehicles you can own/operate under normal circumstances. Gas prices are higher to help influence people to use mass transit. There are also manufacturing standards that are 300% more strict and effective than ours, cutting pollution drastically. I've made the vow to many of my friends and I'll make it publicly here: the moment GM releases one of their hydrogen platforms I'll be first in line to get the coupe. I am committed to making the environment a better place for future generations because I just might sire kids in to the future (gods help us...). And because I know that I don't need a seven-ton SUV to drive 1/2 mile to work and back every day.
I'm going to continue this line of thought for the next little while. Next post I'll be delving more deeply in to electrical power and alternative systems for achieving a green environment and lower cost than is currently available.