Monday, December 12, 2011

Protesting to the Blind

2012 Civic Natural Gas ©2011 American Honda Motor Co.
In their now third attempt to stir up a market that's hard pressed to buy, Honda has launched the new 2012 Civic Natural Gas. I say it's hard pressed as I'm sure there will be some folks that will purchase the car. For instance, in 2008 the state of Utah made a huge move installing natural gas stations due to gas prices and a little jump in sales occurred within their market. To put that in perspective, only 800 natural gas cars were sold in the U.S. back in 08 and 200 of them were sold in Utah. But this is a mere drop in the bucket when you consider that there are probably 150 thousand gas stations in the U.S. with an estimated 150 million cars on the road.

Protestors in Washington, November 2011 - Note: Markers are made from Petroleum.

In November, the all knowing environmentalists marched in Washington to protest the Keystone XL pipeline project as in their opinion, it posed a danger due to potential leakage. And to them, getting it postponed or reevaluated is considered a big win. Hooray!!! Hooray for what? Managing to push a project into next year is the the best you can do? Showing up in Washington parading around with a bunch of signs is your idea of change? Excuse me for wanting some originality but this kind of exercise got old during the Vietnam war and none of us with a brain in our head will find this to be a successful and tactical solution. Don't even get me started with the whole occupy Wall Street thing.

So what's the solution for our gas guzzling appetite?

I was asked about natural gas cars a couple of weeks ago from a young person and my response was they are a wonderful invention. They burn clean and would be ideal for around town excursions. Not to mention we have plenty of natural gas and with the device you can purchase for your home, you can easily fuel it right in your own garage.

So what about electric cars? Same thing. Cool concept and would work just fine for around town excursions. Drive around town, come home, plug it in and your off to the races the next day.

So why is this such a hard sell?

People have a hard time with change. And not because we can't but because it means functioning differently than what we've become accustomed to. We have now lived for 100 years with the ability to get from point A to point B whenever we want. If I need to get to Dallas, it's as easy as jumping in the car and I'm there in an hour or so. Giving up this kind of freedom would mean a 90 degree turn in my behavior and even if it made all the sense in the world, I would still have a hard time shifting gears. It's just the way we're made.

A great example of just how ridiculous we can be when it comes to changing our habits can be found in clear Coca-Cola. Coke is actually colored using a food coloring and the color adds absolutely nothing to the taste. Coke decided to sell the drink without the color in 1992 and couldn't move one bottle or can off the shelf. Tastes exactly the same but it was clear so we're not drinking it which sounds like an irrational child refusing to eat something at the dinner table because it's green.

When you step back to examine yourself and the effects your behavior may have on the world, the environment can be a big issue. I'm really not bashing the environmentalists as I do believe we should take care of our planet. What I am bashing is a failure to make a difference through solid creative thinking as well as changing the way we live. Especially when we can control these things just by adapting our behavior.

For example, in 2008 gas prices got so high that it became a real challenge for employees to get to work. The cost to fill up was effecting their home budgets and for a lot of people, that meant cut backs in areas that are a little tough to cut back on. Kind of hard to fill up your stomach when you have to keep filling up your tank.

To help with this problem, we started letting employees work from home three days a week while only coming in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This put us on technical duty loading all files on-line which allowed staff to exchange working documents as needed either through email or straight off the server. By doing this, it saved our back sides when Dallas was hit with record ice and snow in 2010. The ice was so thick underneath all the snow that it stranded our designers within their own homes for a whole week. No worries as we were already set up to work at home and we never missed a beat.

So with technology flowing in more places than filling stations, why doesn't America see this advantage? Do we all have to go into the office every day? How much time is wasted in mindless meetings? I've seen it first hand and granted you have a good work ethic, you'll get the work done come hell or high water no matter where you are.

I'm not saying this is a solution for everyone and I'm also not saying that it would work every day. It helps to get that one on one time with people especially when you need to bounce ideas around and stay on track with tasks. But if it were made possible by companies everywhere, just think of the difference we could make? What would this do to our pollution levels? Where would our fuel prices go?

I have a real hard time with protestors and seeing any real change that resulted from someone holding up a poster board. If you want to change the world then take a stand. Stop drinking artificially colored Cokes, put down those idiotic signs and create change with yourself. We hold the keys to this country so let's all grow up and drive it. 

And nowadays, you can even use natural gas to fill it up.

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