What I Meant to Say

Wendy Babiak's Visions and Revisions

Are We Americans Really That Stupid, Or Just Lazy?


The Bike: a human-powered vehicle ready to roll

When Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy (I’ve been told). So I’m trying to stay happy for my kids’ and husband’s sake (riding the bicycle helps…if you haven’t ridden in a while, try it out). But reading the news or, almost worse, participating in conversations online with Americans who are eager to moan and wail and blame but not actually make the changes necessary to improve our relationship with the earth and our neighbors on it, well…let’s just say that I’m facing a choice between despair and rage that is pretty dang close to leading me into some very uncivil statements. And I do try to be civil, even when I have trouble being compassionate and kind. Civility is the least we can strive for in our interactions, I think, though I have failed in that once or twice. Ahem.

Lordy, though, what naysayers Americans have become. Are we so brainwashed by the corporate media lackeys that we actually believe we have no power? Are people so ignorant that they really think there aren’t already technologies ready to put to use to solve our oil addiction? Check out these uber-cool Aerotecture rooftop wind turbines, invented by Bill Becker and his team at U. of Chicago, which are affordable and ready to order for urban use:

If you give a crap (please, give a crap!) about what we’re doing to the planet and live in an urban setting, petition your city planners and/or landlord to install some of these babies!

If, like me, you live in a more suburban setting, see if your local electric company is offering wind power yet, and offer to pay the extra $ to reserve some. We did, and man, do we feel better. We still turn lights off and do without AC, but it’s nice to know that the computer and other electronics (including the fans!) are powered by wind and not fossil fuel. If you’re in a rural setting, look into getting your own turbine. Soon some of these systems may even be usable in suburbia. Now that’s some change!

Another huge oil consumer is the agribusiness. Not only do the tractors use the stuff (and are unregulated re: emissions), but all the pesticides and herbicides are not only toxic, often hormone disruptors, but they’re petro-based (and were originally developed by the Nazis for use as nerve gas…why, exactly, are we letting them spray this crap on our food?!?). And then the food gets shipped all over the globe. So: buy local, organic food. Your palate AND the future will thank you!

Hmmm, power, food…what else do we need? Shelter. What if we could shelter folks and dispose of some of our waste at the same time, like big ugly used tires? Check out this trailer for an upcoming movie called The Garbage Warrior (h/t to Shreveport artist Katherine Usher…I had seen the houses, but didn’t know about the movie):

I like what he says: “If humanity takes the earth down the tubes, I’m dead. I’m trying to save my ass. And THAT is a powerful force!” Yes, it is. Dude’s making gorgeous, funky houses out of earth-rammed used tires (and other “found” materials) that act as a heat sink for passive solar heating. He calls them Earthships. They’ve got other great features, too, like an attached greenhouse where you can grow your greens feet away from your kitchen. Fresh, e-coli-free salad, every day. Yum. Health-care crisis a lot closer to solved.

Another development that would help kill both those birds (the oil and health-care crises, that is) and stop killing pelicans and gulls: HumanCars. That’s right, a human-powered vehicle (it’s actually a human-electric hybrid, so going uphill won’t give you cardiac arrest). It’s operated by up to four people, but one suffices. The CEO, Chuck Greenwood, and I have been corresponding (we’re getting ready to reserve one). A bit from their upcoming press release:

“Here’s the deal, people are enraged enough to consider options like a
human-powered neighborhood electric vehicle just for the simple fact
it represents everything positive about breaking away from the
fossil-generation. What started as an idea and bloomed into a brand is
now a movement and the Imagine is the visual metaphor.”

It’s a vehicle AND it’s a power-station. It stores electricity while it’s in motion (available to assist uphill or to plug in to help power your house when you get home). The kids want to play video games? Send them to the garage and make them get some exercise and store the electricity first. Watch this video of the prototype of the Imagine PS in motion. Steering it is supposed to feel like flying.

Then go to their website and dig around. I think you’ll be excited by what you find (I know I was!). I believe the sedan version is going to offer more weather protection and stuff-toting capacity, as well. The Imagine is getting tons of press in Canada and Asia, where folks are a lot smarter about these things than we Americans. Let’s educate ourselves and see if we can catch up.

Author: Wendy Babiak

Poet, permaculturalist, lay Carmelite. Pretty sure the world needs more love and less politics.

3 thoughts on “Are We Americans Really That Stupid, Or Just Lazy?

  1. Great videos! I am crazy about that Human Car!!!

  2. Pingback: Betwixt and Between: America’s Liminal Period, Or: That’s the Way the Paradigm Crumbles « What I Meant to Say

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