If only I had a dollar for every time someone has said a variation of, “I like the idea of a small, fuel efficient car, but with all the big cars on the road—they’re just not safe!”
Here’s my response to that; grow a pair. Women, please don’t think I’m being sexist here. We can figuratively grow a pair too (whether it’s ovaries or testes in question). But the point is that at some point we need to just be brave. We’re currently in the middle of a collision with a much bigger threat called climate change. The consequences of global warming are not just a possibility, but an inevitability—if we don't do what we can to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the future could well end up being a LOT scarier than the possibility of getting ran over by a safari truck.
With the newer smart cars fully loaded with amenities and highly affordable—the “too small to be safe” concern is one of the few argument’s left standing between widescale conversion from waste to reason. Sadly, another idiosyncratic reason is ego. Some people need a big environmentally destructive car to feel good about themselves, but we’ll ponder that sad perspective later.
Personally, I would much rather risk getting hit by a gas-guzzling behemoth in my environmentally responsible car than know I’m contributing to these probable developments—within the 21st century—as outlined by the IPCC:
• Global oil production will begin an irreversible decline, possibly triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflict between nations over dwindling oil supplies.
• Flash floods will very likely increase across all parts of Europe.
• Less rainfall could reduce agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some parts of the world.
• Up to 100 million people could experience coastal flooding each year.
• Between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people will experience water shortages and up to 600 million will go hungry.
• The risk of dengue fever from climate change is estimated to increase to 3.5 billion people.
• Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will be much higher than anytime during the past 650,000 years.
• Thawing permafrost and other factors will make Earth's land a net source of carbon emissions, meaning it will emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it absorbs.
• Nearly up to one third of all species of plants and land animals-more than a million total-could be driven to extinction.
So, lets see…mass destruction of planetary life forms, including humans, or risk getting flattened by a hummer …well, hmmm…that’s a tough one. But I think I'll take my chances in the smart car.
Sure, it’s going to take some amount of risk and sacrifice to improve our planet’s prospects. It will require people doing the right thing for the planet, even if that requires not driving a commercialized army tank around. That’s why any time I see someone in a small, environmentally friendly car I think, “Wow that person has "muchos huevos grandes" (a term I admittedly picked up from watching too much Colbert Report). When I see some someone hiding behind the wheel of his or her monstrous hunk of CO2 spewing steel, I can’t help but think, “muchos huevos minúsculo”. So while I know my suggestion of simply “growing a pair” isn’t very scientific. It sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? In fact, it often takes muchos huevos grandes to do the right thing in life.
*Note: I’m not suggesting that driving an eco-friendly car vs. a Hummer, or any other “monster” vehicle, is the ultimate solution to climate change. I’m merely questioning the logic of heavily weighing a smaller probability against a much larger, and much more frightening, near-certainty.
Posted by Rebecca Sato
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