The Green Flash

With Eve Simmons

Why don’t most of us carpool…? Why we need a carbon tax.

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In response to a friend’s query about people carpooling to my home for an environmental event…

Dear Jack,
As to the question you’ve raised, I’m sure very few, if any, carpooled. My friend Jim biked. Holding ourselves to a higher standard and practicing what we preach is a noble goal to be sure – integrity is a good vibe:) If I thought that running out into the street while waving my arms and screaming would work, I’d do it (I’m sure you would too). However, we humans are an independent (even though we take comfort in groups), adventurous, pleasure-loving and nomadic lot, not prone to punitive sacrifices or guilt. I think we need to approach the problem from a more positive perspective and stop trying to force people into something that is ridiculously inconvenient and dysfunctional in an immediate sense. Of course, climate change is the ultimate dysfunction, but it doesn’t often have a huge, obvious and immediate impact to most people so far. I think of Eleanor Roosevelt’s wonderful quote about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, even though I’m one of those proselytizing environmentalists. From a behavioral approach, people need rational alternatives in order to change behavior – that’s why I LOVE the carbon fee and dividend. It eclipses the KXL, fracking, gas guzzling autos and every other high carbon footprint out there, and it works when nothing else will. Now if only we had a sane Congress and sound campaign finance laws and a media protected from corporate influence and plenty of time, we’d be home free 🙂

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