Stephen Corby faces the prospect of moving to EVs

Big problems require giant solutions

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I hate vegetarians, I really do.

Not only do they deny the simple scientific fact that humans are omnivores, but they are unbearable house guests, particularly in BBQ season. I also despise the way they waft around, waif-like, on a cloud of moral superiority and tofu.

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And yet, slightly shamefully, I have recently begun to consider joining their ranks, albeit in the most limited of ways, after reading what legendary thinker Sir Paul McCartney says about the obvious benefits of flesh eaters committing to the idea of Meat-Free Mondays.

This is the kind of maths I don’t like, and yet have to respect. While we’re designed to need, and very much enjoy meat, the world is now so overpopulated, and over-farmed, that we really can’t afford to eat it every day.

I was left with a similar feeling of resigned recognition recently after watching An Inconvenient Sequel, Al Gore’s follow-up to his disturbing 2006 doco-horror film about our planet.

Yes, Gore is annoyingly in love with himself, preposterously proselytising and carpingly Christian. But but there’s no doubt he’s passionate about trying to salve us from ourselves, and perhaps more well versed than any public figure when it comes to climate change.

I, for one, have to agree with him, and 97 percent of scientists, in positing the fact that the world is warming, and that it’s our fault. But watching Gore’s latest film it’s easy to see how hard the road to change is.

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At one stage he tries to convince an Indian official that 400 new coal-fired plants might be a bad idea, and the guy responds that he’ll be happy to talk when India has enjoyed the 150 years of conscious-free carbon burning that the US has benefited from. And that some 300 million people in his country currently don’t have access to grid-based energy at all.

Watching Gore’s film, though – which I both recommend that you do and acknowledge that you may not really want to – it’s hard not to become angry about the piss-poor efforts of the country we live in.

Tony Abbott and Alan Jones clearly go to bed every night, possibly together, wrapped in a blanket of “Not my problem, I’m old already” that’s almost as thick as their skulls. And our prime minister, who we all know believes the science, refuses to exploit our obvious advantages in areas like solar power.

Which all leaves you feeling a bit powerless until you ponder what you, personally, can do. A Tesla Power Wall is one thing, but much like buying one of the company’s cars, it’s the kind of feel-good measure only available to those with a lot of money (and yes, the Model 3 might change that, if it ever arrives).

So you’re left with your choice of car, and forced to ponder some harsh realities. Personally, I’d never buy a diesel-engined vehicle, ever, knowing what I know about their effects on the environment, and people’s lungs. And the fact that legislative moves in Europe prove they’re on the way out anyway.

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So, would I consider an EV, or a hybrid of some kind? Frankly, it’s as unpalatable as a mushroom burger on the barbie, but at the same time, I feel forced to at least consider the possibility.

Because if you’re not willing to make a change at a personal level, and thus to set an example for your children, then surely you’re as culpable – as the mercury climbs and the weak die each summer – as a Turnbull or a Trump. 

Sometimes the truth really is inconvenient.

 

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Stephen Corby
Journalist

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