Tag Archives: cars

You can’t do that.

picture-41I just read something nice.
It simply proved something I thought true, but that I was told is impossible.
You see, being at Phog, it’s not uncommon to wax futuristic and wonder what the world might hold for us (or vice versa).
When the topic got to cars, and how we’re making vehicles in Windsor that few consumers want anymore, even the artists (lefties) at the bar were nagging, “Well, what the hell can they do to them? Huh? Nothing!”
“Well guys, what if Windsor was a city that decided they didn’t like the status quo. What if people ditched their cookie-cutter cars for older cars, the ones they used to make with steel…and had them retro-fit with eco-friendly parts, making them not only road-safe, but more environmental than ever…maybe even making them electrical? Imagine what the streets would LOOK like! You wouldn’t look out of a window and see what EVERY North American sees. You’d see something unique! And it would all be in part to the engineering and manufacturing prowess in this city!”
Bucky, a local enviro-guy, brilliant guy, was the actual person who hatched this idea some weeks and weeks earlier. I loved his idea. Preserving the past, but doing one better and making something new and refreshing to the eye while blowing a kiss to Mother Nature at the same time.
The people at the bar, most times I reintroduce Bucky’s idea for the sake of dreaming, almost always get out of sorts and try to think of all the ways this idea can’t work.
As a matter of habit, this is how my community OFTEN approaches new ideas and concepts about absolutely anything. They think of all the ways it can’t work before they think of all the ways it can. I can’t be sure, but I wonder if they are just talking themselves out of participating if it ever DOES happen.
This frustration has guided me to some new groups of folks who foster and develop new ideas. Thanks to you, you know who you are…

But back to this article I read at the beginning of this post.
Apparently, there is a company in the US who is way ahead of us, and WAY ahead of the naysayers I lock eyes and wits with almost every shift.

They take gas guzzlers, and make them more acceptable vehicles. Old, new, whatever.
The working class in Windsor could do this in their sleep. I wish the creative spirit drove someone to these lengths. I don’t feel it’s my obligation to “find” the right people and get them fired up to start a company doing this, because SO MANY people in this city could do this work. It would be wonderful if they’d just emerge on their own, and shock this motor city under their own volition, like the company currently doing so in the United States.

I really never listen to anyone who tells me, “You can’t do that,” anymore.


Starting to ride

What has happened is simply this: The oil companies have found my limit.

I cannot rightly spend $75 to $80 to travel to work. I cannot simply get into the car to go somewhere anymore. There’s a funny thing about the reason for riding a bike. The best reason is “because cars are dirty and bad for the planet”. But the thing that made me change my mind is the cost of gas. In case you were sleeping, or you don’t drive a car, the price of gas being raised almost as if there were a monopoly on the industry…oh!…wait…I forgot…there is!

So in short, these bastards are selling gas to us at wildly increasing levels, and from what I read in the New York Times on Sunday, the thirst is growing. The best part, is that the infrastructure has been put in place to DEPEND on gasoline. The mindset of people traveling (to work, to the corner store, to Montreal to visit relatives, anywhere) has a major paradigm…it involves cars. The way our cities arteries are made, we cater to, build for, adjust for, and bow down to the almighty car. I die a little when I read a quote like this in the New York Times,

“The pursuit of oil will be just part of the energy challenge. The world’s total energy demand — including oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power, as well as renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydro power — is set to rise by 65 percent over the next two decades, according to the I.E.A.

But petroleum, the dominant fuel of the 20th century, will remain the top energy source. It accounts for more than a third of the world’s total energy needs, ahead of coal and natural gas. Refined into gasoline, kerosene or diesel fuel, oil has no viable substitute as a transportation fuel, and that is not likely to change much in the next 30 years.

The problem is that no one can say for sure where all this oil is going to come from.

That might not sound like such a bad thing for those concerned about carbon emissions and climate change. High prices might end up forcing people to conserve and encourage the development of alternatives. But the energy crunch might also result in a global scramble for resources, energy wars, and much higher energy prices.”

It’s something worth frowning at, but also something that makes me wonder how we’re going to think around it. Will humans be proactive? According to this article, we’re basically fucked. Which is the thing I’ve had burning me for a good long while now…where are these new technologies? The worry I have is that I have given too much credit to human beings and their ability to bring ideas to fruition in any realistic time-frame. I have been waiting for solar energy to be available for eons, it seems. And bubkiss. Nothing. I cannot even hope to have my municipality subsidize the cost of solar panels, even though Peterborough has figured out a way to do it…and it was years ago! They have a program called Green Up Peterborough, and they were able to offer solar panels for a short time, at a much smaller cost.

I want to tell you about a conversation I had at Phog recently.

There was a mish-mash of topics being tossed around, but most of all it was about gas. I had divulged that I was willing to traverse one of the most bike-unfriendly cities in Canada, (Windsor, Ontario) almost from one end to the other because of the cost of gas. I was hoping that I could be of some inspiration and example to others who have pondered the possibility.

What came up was in-depth ideas about how humans will just think of other ways around this problem. But having heard this discussion, and read The Times, I see that there is little hope of us adopting anything new. This was my argument at the time. We are such moronic creatures when it comes to proactive thought. We are going to suck the blackest teets of Mother Nature until we get all we can from her because of nothing more than money. Let’s dig somewhere else, somewhere that the environment won’t be harmed. Hey good news! We found a HUGE SEAM of new oil in (fill in the blank)! This is not good news. This is paradigm thinking. This is being stuck in old thought. Let’s do it without oil. Is that SO crazy a thing to think?

We don’t sit idly by because we like it the smell of gas when it spills on our shoes, and we won’t do it because we love shitty air quality, and we won’t do it because we love it when those stupid water fowl get caked in crude after an oil spill…no…but WE do it, us, WE DO IT because we are too lazy. We are too complacent to take our lives into our own hands and make a stand for something. We are scared to say,

“This oil thing is bull. You stuffed shirts, who are grandsons of the brilliant entrepreneurs who fooled everyone back when energy options were being weighed and people were trying to amass fortunes, yeah, you inheritors who have been lolling about on your huge chemical-laden lawns and palatial abodes doing NOTHING in the way of thinking outside of the box (or your wallets) have had enough. You’ve had enough of my lung tissue, and of my hard-earned money. You don’t get to tell me how to travel anymore. You don’t get to effect the way I survive. Now go away with your money. Go! Shoo! Go to an island where people who might be able to forgive you and your ancestors live too. Rub each other’s backs and chortle about all the life you sucked out of humanity and the planet. I mean, it’s a whole goddamn planet! It’s the only one we know, and with your helping hand, we are killing it. Nice. Ride off into the sunset on your shit-horse and never come back.”

A friend (acquaintance) of mine named Michael Louis Johnson, lives in Toronto, and LOVES bikes. He is not afraid. He is outspoken, and wonderful. The fearlessness of his beliefs manifests itself in his music (the band The New Kings), his lifestyle, and his actions. He is true. What I know of him is true. He lives his life truly based on his morals and ideas of how things should be. He’s not like me, spouting off on a blog. He spouts off by living the way he knows we all can if we want to. He was a part of this uber-cool attempt to get attention on the importance of bikes, and re-planning cities for bikes. *Funny note: In writing “replanning” I was informed by Spellcheck that it is not a recognized word. Which just goes to show you that our language needs to reflect our possibilities. Otherwise the possibility just doesn’t exist.* Check Michael’s event out HERE!

Unlike Michael, people just want to sit back and have a chance to buy cheap milk and bread, and everything else is hunky dory if we can keep reading about talentless fools who bob up and down on our TV sets and sing through our awful Top-40-station-supplied-radios. The soma is so evident to me the more that days carry on, and there are few others who are hip to the zombification of our poor world through entertainment fake-news shows like E-Talk Daily and Entertainment Tonight and Extra etc. We worry about brand-names, and mostly ourselves. We are number one. I am number one. I count. What you think of me counts, so I want the best stuff so you think I am great, greater, the greatest…

When I heard that woman at the TED Talks discuss her left-brain being shut down, I didn’t realize that it was more than just connecting to the oneness of the universe. Her description of the walls falling on her labeling, judging, measuring, worrying, thinking brain made me think of her experience to be more like reaching Nirvana than having a stroke. And during my discussion at Phog with my contemporaries, I realized that the way to prevent the oncoming world food shortages, furthering starvation and hunger, the oncoming water shortages we have to look forward to because of ignorant government policy in Canada and the U.S. (exampled in the story in this link), the energy crisis linked directly to the climate change epidemic (ecodemic), is to have that compassion that Jill Bolte Taylor had when she had that stroke.

Maybe if we feel that connection to other will we realize there is something worth saving. Maybe we will realize that people are magnificent, not because of who they are, what they buy, where they live, where they work, but because they are. That’s it. They are. If we gave a shit about this whatsoever, we might be on the right track toward making the proper decisions to save our skies, oceans, starving, sick, and our own souls.

To begin with, I’m riding my bike to work.