Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do Your Bit Against Middle East Tyrants

These devices can actually be used for transportation.

If you want to strike a blow against the oleaginous tyrants in the Middle East, without firing a shot, here is an idea: this week, and every week, do one errand on foot or on a bicycle. Using less oil, tainted by blowhards straight out of the Middle Ages--except for their Swiss bank accounts--is the best thing I can think of to help America and the world rid itself of those bad guys in the stupid hats.

Where is the leadership in America that might ask us for such a tiny sacrifice?

Winston Churchill inspired his country to take up small deeds like this to fight the Nazis as did FDR.

My Grandmother Mary Chapman and her Victory Garden in Homewood, Alabama, 1943. On the back my wry Aunt Helen has written; "I hope victory is not dependent upon our Victory Garden."

JFK had lots of inspirational ideas--from "getting this country moving again" to the Peace Corps. Have we grown so sloppy and slobby that we like being in the debt of dictators who use the jets they buy from the West to strafe and bomb their own civilians?

Walking and/or riding a bike to run an errand would strike at least a small blow for the good guys. It would also be good for the waistline. If enough of us do it, it might serve to stabilize the price of oil. It would help the GNP to have fewer dollars going out of the country and into the pockets of Emirs who like to hire Beyonce for their birthday parties.

Or would we rather just keep sending our "all volunteer army" over there to get blown up? Blood and treasure in exchange for our right to drive SUVs?

Nobody seems excited about the prospect of digging more wells in America and off its shores. Nuclear power--which may have been ready for a renaissance, because so few other options remain--just took a serious public relations and environmental hit in Japan.

In Israel they are aiming at having an all-electric automobile system within the next decade. Their desire to thwart the oil rich neighbors who want to obliterate them is obvious. But they have a tiny country--such a system would be problematic in a country the size of America.

I'm a firm believer that the brainiacs doing research in labs across the U.S. will one day come up with a substitute for the petroleum upon which we've become hooked, like heroin addicts.

But in the meantime why not join the geek protest movement and hop on a non-cool bike and pedal to the library or the bank or the store to get that quart of milk? Or go "Shank's mare" as my father's generation would say. (You can look that up.)

The lives you save might belong to America's sons and daughters--or to those striving to unleash their bonds on distant shores.

The economy you aid will be our own. The weight you lose--hey, that will just be an added bonus.

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Ken G. said...

Hooray, Robin. We Americans need a healthy dose of reality injected into our automobile obsessed veins. Now, if only our options were as rich and varied as our native language, we'd have it made. Oleaginous? Hmmm...I didn't even know that word existed. One thought, however, regarding Israel's attempt to convert to an all electric automobile mode. Even that thought, though noble in it's attempt, requires some source of power--be it electric or battery, and both sources open up a whole lot of environmaental concers.

peretzklein said...

I once proudly suggested to my 6th grade science class my idea of plugging in a person's automobile into an electric socket, letting it charge overnight, never needing gasoline. Of course, the entire class, including the teacher, laughed. Nobody is laughing now. Lithium-ion batteries are the wave of the future.

Robin Chapman said...

The whole concept of electric cars is problematic to me because I have the same issues as Ken G: when you plug into the socket, where does all the power come from? I think in Israel's case (correct me somebody if I'm wrong) it is mostly nuclear power--but we won't likely be seeing more of that in the U.S. for a while now that the ones in Japan have gone China Syndrome on us. That's why I think someone will come up with something else one of these days, and in the meantime I suggest walking and biking as a way to thumb our noses at Mr. Gaddafi with his torture chambers and designer hats.

Ken G. said...

As a post script to my previous comment, I forgot to say that I personally drive a VW Jetta wagon that is powered by biodiesel. It is clean burning, fuel efficiency at it best, and my auto runs perfectly fine on a fuel source that is made from recycled vegetable oil discarded from restaurants, and corn that is grown in the good ol' USA. Other plant derived sources work equally well, By the way, my mileage is an enviable 49 mpg highway, with a combined city/highway mpg of 38. My car isn't going to burn rubber off the line, but it has plenty of low rpm torque--an advantage of the diesel engine design. Although there is no ill effect on the engine from burning biodiesel, as opposed to regular diesel, two local VW dealerships refused to service my car when they learned I was using biodiesel regularly. In fact, one mechanic from a dealership informed me that VW could void the automobile's warranty for my conscious decision not to use the standard diesel, as recommended. However, he applauded my decision and reasoning for switching to a renewable, energy efficient fuel source, and told me to take the car to an independent, certified mechanic to avoid potential problems from VW.

Robin Chapman said...

Now if you could just get your VW to run on something you could produce from a still in your backyard ...

Ken G. said...

Robin, I don't recall anyone having mentioned our own national fuel reserves, right here in America. In fact, California's San Joaquin Valley near Bakersfield, has enough petroleum to serve half the country. But that idea of brewing it in your own backyard isn't as far fetched as it may sound, really. The concept of homemade fuel is, in reality, being practiced by many environmentally minded, progressive thinking, concscientious individuals who are concerned by the political manipulation and environmental issues that fossil fuel consumption is having on the global community at large. But it's a grand idea to make it do double duty as a potent potable, too-- Whet you whistle and help the environment at the same time. That's a concept I'll drink to. Cheeers!