Revenge of the Nerd, Hope for my Green Ass
By Mike Kojima
During my trip to Germany to the 24 hours of Nurburgring last week I hung out with D Sport Magazine's publisher Mike Ferarra who was also traveling with us. Mike holds the same ideas about the green revolution as I do, perhaps even more extremely, hence last months “Green Sucks” issue of D Sport. Sharing rants, I realized that I forgot to finish my thoughts about being green here.
About three months ago I went on a bit of a rant about some much touted “Green” solutions to counter our problems of global warming and declining supplies of petroleum. Most of these drawbacks are based on doing a little studying on the subject beyond what the popular media writes about and doing a little thinking as an engineer. I could have gone into a lot more specific detail but heck this is a little monthly column that is supposed to be somewhat humorous so I have kept the details light since I am too lazy to do calculations and supply supporting data. I am probably making a lot of enemies with the greenies but uh whatever. Most of them have a liberal arts background. If I want to make my life more aesthetic, I’ll dig up your number; in the meanwhile leave thinking about hardware to me.
Like I said, I am all for less pollution and more efficient means of transportation. In my last bit of editorial on the subject I ranted about bad ideas. This month I’ll talk about ones that will probably actually work. Some of them will require governmental intervention and a change to our individualistic self-centered freedom loving culture but these ideas will work, they work in other countries. With gas prices probably reaching the mid 4 dollar per gallon range soon, the economics of these ideas start to make sense as well.
1. Telecommute. As communications technology continues to improve, there is no reason why employees doing information type jobs should have to commute to work except for select important meeting where teleconferencing won’t cut it. Corporate America needs to wake up to this fact. This could save so much energy that the numbers are too staggering to compute. The MotoIQ staff does this extensively to make up for the pollution we make racing.
2. Move closer to work. A lot of people don’t consider this much. Jeff lives in our office which is a converted house. This makes up for the greenhouse gasses he spews out of his ass.
3. Walk or ride a bike. I would ride a bike nearly everywhere if I didn’t have to worry about cell phone talking idiots taking me out. I envision bike only roads or at least nice wide bike lanes. Biking is a viable way to get around in Europe and Asia. American culture needs to change to accommodate cyclists. Offices need to relax dress codes so you could come to work in comfortable walking or biking attire. It’s good for your fat ass; you’ll waste less time going to the Gym. Coming back from Germany I noticed something interesting. Germans eat a very rich diet. Three square meals a day with lots of red meat, dairy, gravy, rich sauces, beer and not much in the way of vegetables, yet there are few fat Germans. The reason, I think its because Germans walk and ride bikes alot.
4. Take public transportation. If you have spent much time in Japan, Europe or urban Canada, you can get nearly anywhere quickly, safely, cheaply and efficiently by walking, taking a bus, subway or commuter train. You are never more than a few blocks away from a bus stop, train station or subway. You rarely need to wait more than 5 minutes for a bus, train or subway car to come. You end up walking a bit but it’s a nice healthy amount, a few block here and there. The experience is pleasant and much less stressful than dealing with idiots in bumper to bumper traffic. Sure in rush hour you might have to stand but that’s good for you as well. Our country needs to invest in a better public transportation infrastructure for the long term. We need to start this sort of planning and search out funding now.
5. Ride a small motorcycle or super efficient scooter. Nowdays these can get upwards of 80 mpg. Jeff has owned at one time or another, an LS-1 powered FD, a suburban and a Turbo Sentra SE-R and was spending $300 a month on gas. He recently bought a scooter and now spends only about $40 a month. He also rides a lot more places than he used to drive because now he doesn’t have to worry about spending too much on fuel. Like a bicycle, motorcycles and scooters are vulnerable to 4 wheel idiots. I envision two wheel only commuting roads for them which requires governmental intervention. In the Netherlands, nearly 70 percent of the population gets around on scooters, despite their harsh winters. In Europe and Asia the scooter is an important mode of transportation. If you havent noticed, we have been writing on how to have fun with these sorts of things in the near future.