Smoke and mirrors

Ponder this

editorial@sierrastarAugust 27, 2013 

Following a near death collision on Highway 41 several years ago I was faced with the challenge of finding a new car, as my SUV was far beyond salvaging. Once I could walk again I began my search, visiting numerous auto dealers over the period of a few months. Shockingly I found nothing that offered me much sense of safety.

The new breed of vehicles left me desiring nothing shy of an armored tank, but with the increasing price of gas, the salesman kept attempting to sway me toward the hybrid cars even though I mentioned several times that I would feel safer on my motorcycle.

I'm sure you've seen those miniature vehicles resembling clown cars, touted as the answer to global warming. I'm not against adopting a more "green" approach. I do my part using 15 watt light bulbs, (not CFL that are filled with toxic mercury that need proper disposal), and rechargeable solar lights for the outdoors.

To offset driving a truck I schedule several stops for each trip, keep the home thermostat set to save energy, dry most laundry on the line, recycle newspaper, plastic and glass, and use reusable shopping bags. To date I've planted 32 trees and thousands of plants on my property, yet all this seems negated by the fact that I drive a truck.

Staring death square in the eye awakened me to the blaring reality of how fragile we humans truly are. How very dependent a positive outcome during a collision is on the size and durability of the vehicles we each choose to drive. I must say the idea of stuffing my six foot tall frame into one of those cars gave me flashbacks of the terrifying 40 some minutes I was trapped upside down in my unrecognizable SUV years earlier.

Blame it on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, but it's impossible for me to feel comfortable driving a car that can be crushed smaller than a coffin knowing that there are 75,000 pound trucks sharing the road. Having seen the blow a 15,000 pound R.V. is capable of administering, I stand my ground.

Putting myself in harm's way to save a gallon of gas is where I draw the line. I began wondering what I was missing in the big picture. Is it possible that 'we' are consuming such large quantities of gas that we are destroying the atmosphere? Is taking the kids to practice, stopping by the store, the post office, or simply getting ourselves to work destroying the world? I believe it's much more than that.

Is it possible that those telling us to entrust our lives to a vehicle so small that it is unable to withstand the simple confrontation with a deer are bluffing? Did Mr. Gore walk to the 'rah rah' sessions he gave around the world scolding us for using too much oil, causing global climate issues? Precisely how much fuel did our commander in chief saved in flying Air Force One on his 92 days of vacation, while the family precedes him in their very own private jet?

Precisely how many 15 MPG black SUV's does it take to transport the presidential family, (they number 15)? Let's not ignore the EPA's estimated 251 million tons of garbage produced yearly by the U.S. No I didn't stutter, that means the equivalent of more than 4,837 trash heaps the size of the Titanic every year!

The reality is that 42% of U.S. greenhouse emissions originate from miss management of materials, yet transport of goods is responsible for merely 7%. If driving our vehicle of choice is destroying our world then how is it that Oregon significantly reduced their emissions in a year by recycling? Their effort was the mind boggling equivalent to the removal of nearly 700,000 vehicles from the road.

Why should I be judged so harshly if I choose to drive my clean burning truck an estimated 116 miles a month, yet my neighbor is given incentives, tax breaks and high fives for driving her hybrid 1,440 miles monthly to and from work? How long until those 17 'rare earth' minerals run out used in flat screen T.V.s, smart phones, several weapons and yes those sweet little hybrid cars? Should we start regulating sales of these products too? Would we all be so apt to judge if all of our personal choices were so scrutinized? Where will it end?

By allowing such misrepresented facts, our country will become even more divided than it already is. I see the glares when I make my monthly trip to the feed store to purchase supplies for the ranch. When a Prius can haul 12 bales of hay and can withstand a head on with a semi, R.V. or the like I will be the first in line. For now I believe I will keep driving my truck.

In reality, it is simply more than trucks that are destroying the world. The damages are an accumulation of spoiled people forgetting how to be self-sufficient — its companies focusing less on the outcome and more on shortcuts to better their profitability. If we paid more attention to the big picture rather than micro managing individual's choices, might we see through the smoke screen that our leaders so successfully blind us with. Like the awe inspiring illusions of a magician, not all is what it appears to be.

Could our paranoia be blatant misrepresentations of hypothetical theories yet to be proven? Weren't we falsely warned of the 80s and 90s bringing an ice age? In the 40s we experience a similar warming cycle? The climate has forever been changing; adapting is a way of life.

China's yearly 3.8 billion tons of dirty coal burning has attributed to a 5.5 year decrease in the life expectancy of their residents, yet me driving a truck is touted as being detrimental to our atmosphere. Should we cap the multitudes of volcanos spewing hazardous particulates tens of kilometers above our earth, resulting in acid rain, cancer, an eventual loss of vegetation, animal and human life alike?

When I hear that the children of Mexico City rarely use the color blue for drawing the sky, but rather chose grey not only breaks my heart, but confuses me as to why I'm being judged. Though I don't drive a hybrid I am doing my part in many other ways — are you?

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