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The author of Sick of Nature and Tarball Chronicles pushes environmentalism to the edge
What about a used Prius?
I think Thoreau would drive a bicycle. And while I agree with the principle of Mr. Gessner's comments, I believe we are faced with a culture in the U.S. that limits our environmental options. To say we're all environmental hypocrites overstates and oversimplifies. My wife and I own a Prius, which we paid for in cash, because we agree with Thoreau, that debt is an evil taskmaster. We have a Prius because it's also currently the best transportation option in a culture that still requires the use of automobiles. I recently retired, so I no longer have a 20-mile one-way commute to work. Consequently I now ride my bike to all destinations within a 12 to 15-mile radius, while my wife drives the Prius to her workplace, about 16 miles one-way. While Mr. Thoreau might still frown on most aspects of the American lifestyle, I think he would encourage our efforts to at least improve on the status quo, including our choice of a Prius. And, like me, I think he would choose to ride a bike.
Agree with both comments! Tried to buy a used Prius but no luck localy. Also lived for a couple of car-less years in Boulder Colorado. Very happy years. Impossible in my current life in Wilmington, NC. David G.
What did the chair yell at the umbrella? Did they both yell at the float?
I agree completely that Thoreau would not buy a Prius, even a used one, unless it had over 100,000 miles, because of the amount of energy and the greenhouse gas emitted during the production of it. This wired article sums it up nicely. I drive a 1980 Mercedes diesel with over 350,000 miles on it. It runs great and I expect to put over 100,000 more miles on it. It gets around 27 mpg on diesel which produces less greenhouse gas emissions then gasoline and takes less energy to refine. A study that compared diesel and gasoline concluded that "diesel vehicles produce a lower overall environmental impact (especially from an air quality perspective) than equivalent gasoline vehicles, including gas-hybrids, contrary to popular belief." Just a side note, but RAV4s were first imported to the US in 1996. Excluding a major accident, a 1996 vehicle should not be put "out to pasture." It should still be a completely viable vehicle. That's not very Thoreau like.
How can you stand the SMELL of a 1980 Mercedes diesel??!!
Hooray for using things until they're dead! My mother still cooks with kitchen appliances she received as wedding gifts in 1975. My grandfather works with an electric drill his father-in-law once used in the Brooklyn shipyard in the 1940s. I drive an '86 Subaru. Guess what? All of those things work fine. We've kept them in service because they're efficient and useful, but doing so also keeps material out of the waste stream. Americans have, since the 1950s, adopted an increasingly intense throwaway mentality about the things we use. Why? Because we can and because that's what we've allowed ourselves to be sold. But while those of us living in the world's developed areas don't really know what becomes of our refuse after we toss it in the appropriate receptacles (we assume it ultimately ends up in the right place), there are many people around the world who have adopted our throwaway ways, but lack the infrastructure and/or knowledge to properly deal with discarded products. So trash piles up and pollutes the environment. While I don't have much hope that those of us with the ability to put a little extra effort into saving old things for future service (without becoming pack rats, of course) will actually do so until forced to by economic necessity, I think that we should. For my part, I'll continue eating cakes made with a harvest gold 1970s mixer, putting my things in cabinets installed with a drill that may have put together Victory Ships, and driving to and from work and play (as little as possible) in a banged up, Reagan-era Subaru.