Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Follow us on social
  • Children of Eden written by Joey Graceffa
    By: Destiny Breniser This book was published in 2016 with its genre being Young Adult,  Dystopian, and Apocalyptic. This story is about Rowan, who is a second-born child living in a city where her entire existence is illegal. She longs for the day when she can leave her family’s house and live without fear.  She […]
  • An Unwanted Guest written by Shari Lapena
    By: Destiny Breniser A classic whodunnit that keeps you guessing till the very end. With twelve characters to read varying points of view from, there is always something happening to leave you wondering what is going on.  This book was published in 2018 with its genre being a mystery thriller. The story starts with Reily […]

Fender benders and forest fires

Raise your hand if you’ve been in a car crash.

OK, I can’t see you, and the professor just called on you for a question you obviously weren’t listening to, but my point is made. Now, given the miscellaneous hands popping up around campus today, consider this: Would you rather be in a 50 mpg SmartCar, or a gas guzzling behemoth at that fateful moment? When I had my first mishap I was in a boat of a luxury sedan, and registered a 20 mph impact as “mildly unpleasant.”

So here’s the tradeoff: I am (was, actually – the car’s scrap metal by now) killing the planet while I personally walk off without a scratch.

Before I get into the crux of my argument, allow me a disclaimer. I do not argue that global warming is not occurring, that Al Gore is a sycophantic doomsayer for the U.N. (O.K., maybe), or even that it’s “not as bad as it’s made out to be.”

But I do believe this: I would much rather be safe and comfortable than switch to a smaller car and maybe maintain the planet for the additional percent of a percent of a millisecond.

See, I actually like driving big, powerful sedans. (Granted, I currently drive a minivan, but that’s not immediately significant.) The whole “bumper kissing” incident just proved my foresight.

Okay, fine, so there was no foresight involved, I just liked/inherited the car. Anyway, I was reading The Wall Street Journal the other day and an opinion columnist had a fascinating point to make. Basically, the columnist pointed out that we are paranoid about safety, to the point of demanding our playgrounds be refitted with clean, nonabrasive rubber instead of mulch and the monkey bars be coated in foam padding – and yet our deer-in-headlights fascination with global warming is so overwhelming that we are willing to buy fuel efficient death-traps.

Then a few days ago I saw an ad for a compact that stressed that it was the only car “in its class” with a five-star safety rating. But really, if that were to be the determining factor in someone’s purchase, aren’t they going to notice the battle-ready SUV freshly polished on the showroom floor?

The point is not that you should risk your life rather than buy a safe(r) car; just the opposite. My father is a senior civil engineer for American Electric Power, whose “fact of the day” bulletins occasionally refer to power usage and its effect on greenhouse gases. They point out that more than one quarter of smog-causing emissions are produced through cargo ships which haul 90 percent of international trade.

So unless we’re willing to turn our backs on the whole international free market concept or enable private fleets to use nuclear-powered tugs, we’re in something of a tight spot.

A.E.P. also points out that 18 percent of emissions come from livestock (and I suspect STAND would argue an equal portion comes from cigarette smoke). Keep in mind that 18 percent of all emissions is more than is exuded from every car in the world combined.

So if we want to save the planet we need to give up: safe cars, non-domestic products, all livestock products, and (though I don’t have the numbers at hand) most modern farming methods. Hypothetically, if we could save the planet, the cost to its human inhabitants would be devastating. The massive excess of food that America produces and donates in part to poor countries for relief would be gone, the flow of capital into said countries would almost completely halt, and those of us accustomed to meat and leather attire would be seriously cranky for at least a week.

My point is, we’re framing this as a Malthusian rock-and-hard-place scenario- no going forward, no going back.

Time out. Europe depleted its natural resources (forests especially) about 500 years ago, with Europe and Asia quickly following suit. Last I checked there are still a few billion people living in those areas, fully industrialized in some cases.

So maybe we will all be washed out to sea someday, but in the meantime our lives are better, safer and longer in part because of our production and consumption.

So if every single person that reads this article switches to an SUV, two things will happen. First, I will sue for royalties from local gas stations. And second, the world might, just maybe – but probably not – end a microsecond sooner. Personally, I think my future sedan is worth it.

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$1410
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$1410
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *