EV technology, and other things we can do | Ron Colone – Santa Maria Times

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I generally don’t like to “show my hand,” politically speaking, and instead strive to gain and express a broader perspective that encompasses seemingly opposing attitudes and opinions, which is probably why, on occasion, I get letters in response to some specific column — from people with drastically diverging viewpoints, each certain that I think like they do, which is typically not the case.
I have been less restrained when it comes to expressing my concern for “the environment,” and the deleterious effects that poisonous chemicals, harmful radiation, crude extraction and production methods, and materialistic attitudes have on the Earth and its people, plants and animals.
This past spring and early summer, while some people were groaning over skyrocketing gas prices, I was saying it’s a necessary step in our breakup with oil. It has to happen if we are to move on to … a better way of doing things, which of course raises questions like: What are you calling “better,” and “better” for whom? I’m using it to mean an approach to technology that keeps pace with our knowledge while ever clinging to our wisdom — a way that supports our well-being, on all levels.
When I had the audacity to say something to that effect, in response to a social media post complaining about the cost of gas and the decisions by the administration to limit oil production, I was immediately jumped on and challenged over EV technology and the problems associated with batteries and charging stations.
The thing is, I never mentioned or even alluded to EV technology; I’m looking beyond it — to solar, wind (which is actually looking back), hydrogen, nuclear and, eventually, dark energy and dark matter which make up 96% of the universe! That’s what I call abundance, independence and sustainability.
Electric cars are an interim-but-now-necessary step along the timeline of technology, like steam engines, telegraph machines, coal furnaces and landline telephones. Each had their day, and that day lasted for however many decades or maybe a century.
Given that everything is happening faster now, I would expect the “EV Period” to be even shorter, and I advise against looking at it or planning for it as a long-term solution.
The problem is, it carries the same “nonrenewable resource” baggage as oil, requiring us to dig up the earth for lithium, nickel and cobalt which all exist in limited quantities in places like Chile, Argentina, Australia, Indonesia, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thus, it is neither sustainable nor does it offer energy independence.
Nevertheless, the more people that switch from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, the more successful we will be at curbing carbon emissions and limiting the rise in global temperatures, which (97% of scientists in the field agree) gives rise to extreme weather events, higher seas, water scarcity, food insecurity, loss of biodiversity, animal and plant extinctions, and more people dying from heat, respiratory illness and infectious diseases.
So, for the time being, it is a step in the right direction.
In the meantime, if you are not of the mind, or in a financial position to buy an electric car, here are some things you can do at home to be part of the solution and help reduce the strain on the system:
1. If and when possible, walk or ride a bike rather than driving — to the store, post office, etc.;
2. Make an effort to reduce the amount of trash you throw out. Food is the single largest category and air-polluter in landfills. Simple home composting of food scraps can reduce food waste by more than 60%;
3. Reduce the amount of water you use for things like brushing your teeth, doing the dishes and taking a shower. Even one minute less would save gallons of water; and
4. Turn off lights when you’re not in the room, or limit the number of lights you have on when you are.
These things will enhance your sense of purpose and power.
To quote the president of MIT: “There is room and a reason for each of us to be part of the solution. I urge everyone to join in rising to this historic challenge.”
Me too.
Ron Colone can be reached at ron.colone@gmail.com

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