The debate about advancing

 

Recently I wrote anotherósome of you are saying thatís yet anotheróarticle about technology.

When I do these observational efforts, Iím almost always trying not to take a stand in the way of progress, advancements and improvements. Want my honest opinion? I wish alternative fuel options and energy sources were better and available in larger numbers, think that as a whole we treat the planet horrendously, and believe global warming is real. I think technological advancements, such as the amazing things a handheld cellular phone is capable of, are brilliant. I believe we should be treating each other better and with far greater respect, acceptance, love and compassion than we do.

There you go.

But those beliefs, and a desire for a better tomorrow, donít stop me from noticing that in a battery powered car I canít drive across most U.S. states without stopping to recharge. They wonít stop me from noticing that a massive power outage leaves us at the mercy of our car batteries to recharge usÖ someday likely to be for the majority the same car batteries that a power outage means canít be recharged.

And oh yes, when I delivered the last essay, I got a response.

I shared one of my favorite stories, about how during some recent storms that brought power outages to friends and family, I kept hearing stories and seeing social media posts about how dozens upon dozens of people were headed out to their cars. The power was out and they needed to charge their phones, or get the batteries ready to entertain the kids.

Then I pointed out that if you charge your car at home, and the power goes out, you canít charge your car. And, logical progression, recharge anything else.

The first three emails I received attempted to drop the mic on me by trying to explain that they each had portable battery chargers. (I didnít respond to those. I just nodded my head sarcastically as I read the emails, took a deep breath, and overcame the impulse to ask how they were going to charge the portable chargers if they werenít ready at the time of the storm or were quickly exhausted by parents that needed to keep the kids quiet.)

A few more emails arrived, and in most of them there was at least shreds of truth and a bit of a debate.

But the thing isóhence this essayóthe debate is kind of my problem with the whole thing.

Go back to the beginning. Iím with you. I want to treat the planet better. I want options for powering, heating and cooling my house that make sense environmentally and economically. And, I also want to be able to drive from the northeast all the way to Florida without spending more than five to ten minutes in a rest area if I so desire.

Two stories came up in the past few days that I found interesting.

First involved a person travelling with an electric vehicle. They did it as a bit of a challenge, were driving in many places that most folks would say needed a minimum of a dozen more people along with a stop sign and at least one business where you could purchase a beverage before youíd think of it as rural, and had lots of troubles finding any way of charging their car. Basically, had to make arrangements with motels and such to use a standard electrical outlet then sit around forever.

Second investigated a study that showed the cost of charging most electric vehicles is actually higher than filling a standard gas tank on a car with fuel.

Iím not going to link to either of them, because the specific stories (and accuracy of the story as compared to my insertions of humor) arenít the important part here. Whether or not it costs more to charge a vehicle than to fill a gas tank still leaves out the super special extra bonus item: Most electricity options used to provide the electricity to charge the batteries on a battery powered vehicle are doing so with the old fashioned environmentally damaging sources.

Most studies place the figure of electricity generated by coal in the United States as recently as 2021 somewhere above 20%. Thatís just coal.

What Iím trying to say is the argument isnít that you have to start somewhere. Of course you have to start somewhere. Thatís the point of starting. A beginning. Weíre beyond that now. The argument today is that you have to make it reliable and cost effective.

Many people live paycheck to paycheck, or in a situation that can be viewed in a similar fashion. Restricted, limited budgets. The starting somewhere with everyone sacrificing doesnít work for folks working hard just to cover necessities with little to nothing remaining for sacrifice.

Pick up the mic and hold off on clicking send. I donít need the email right now. What I need is reliable, affordable alternatives with all of us working together.

 

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com