Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Posts Tagged ‘cars

Driven by mischief

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Judging by their ads, some companies now revel in taunting environmentalists. Leo Hickman reports in The Guardian,
Thursday January 24 2008

This a sort of secondary source since what he is writing about is actually a web site

The website, which “explores the psychology of climate change denial with observations and anecdotes about our weird and disturbed response to the problem”, has been inviting visitors to send in their best examples from around the world and, surprise, surprise, the motoring industry has been generous enough to dream up the majority of candidates for “Best in Show”.

This of course ranks right up there with the ads for cars that featured a bus with the destination sign “Wet Dog Smell” and the recent Ford offering “Drive it like you stole it” which is offending Canadians on the Prairies.

Car ads have never been about reality. Indeed I think a lot of road rage is underlain by the subconscious feeling of let down. ‘ I bought this thing and it cost me a fortune and it isn’t making me any happier. But of course that’s not my fault so I will blame it on that silly twerp in front of me who has left his left blinker for the last three kilometres.’ Cars were supposed to give us freedom but they brought us servitude. The lifestyle we bought into did not include being stuck in traffic. Or feeling dinged at the gas pump. Or sitting around in a seedy body shop waiting for the dings to be knocked out of the fenders. In one car ad the traffic actually magically disappears completely. In others the car becomes jet plane. We know this is nonsense but we get suckered in by it, then feel annoyed by being taken in so easily.

And the sense of entitlement and empowerment of driving a really fast car goes to the heads of the socially inadequate who have no conception that their thrill of wheel screeching acceleration and getting to the traffic light 2.5 seconds before that geek in the minivan is actually a real threat to the health and safety of all about them. But that doesn’t stop the company that sells basic family transport as “zoom zoom”. And they are owned by Ford too.

And of course you do know that Henry Ford was a nazi, don’t you?

Written by Stephen Rees

January 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Returning from a two-decade road trip to find a region at the crossroads

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Miro Cernetig, Vancouver Sun

Being a broadsheet, the Sun gives its opinion writers a lot more space – 3 times as much for the new municipal affairs writer. In a substantial piece, he compares Metro Vancouver with other cities around the world – using sources like Grist – and finds us wanting. He also flags up Gordon Campbell’s upcoming announcement at UBCM and notes

I’m also keen to hear just how our hybrid-driving leader squares building bigger bridges and wider highways for more cars with the hard fact the automobile is the region’s biggest source of greenhouse gases.

And he’s not alone there. I am looking forward to reading more coverage of the region from him. But so far I do not think there is going to be quite as much to argue about, as he seems to be a lot “greener” than his colleagues or his editorial board

Wherever you stand on climate change — believer, denier or agnostic — there are undeniably big ideas at play that will shape the next generation of cities.

It is not a matter of faith. The “deniers” can only attack by throwing doubt where there is none in the scientific community. There has not been one single piece of research in a peer reviewed scientific journal which challenges the consensus that has existed among scientists in this field for many years. The same technique was used by the tobacco industry to throw doubt on the link between smoking and lung cancer. You cannot be agnostic in the face of evidence such as the recent reports of the shrinking of the arctic ice sheet – global warning is not only happening it is accelerating, and we have no alternative but to reduce our growing use of fossil fuels, as well as mitigating the inevitable rise in sea level. Certenig should be alright for a bit in Kits – but I am seriously considering moving from Richmond.