Someone recently shared an interesting Vox article with a powerful title and superb subtitle. Those were:
Stop obsessing over your environmental “sins.” Fight the oil and gas industry instead.
I was curious to see what the article prescribed, but I wasn’t super bullish it would include what immediately came to mind for me. Vox is focused on politics and policy — important stuff, but not at all the “vote with your dollars” ethos we heavily push here on CleanTechnica.
If you’re a regular reader of CleanTechnica, I think you know what I’m going to recommend — buy a freakin’ electric car!
Look, you can fight the oil & gas industry politically all day, every day. Nonetheless, as long as a career con man like Donald Trump can eke out a win on the presidential level (despite losing by 3 million votes), or oil-happy George W. Bush can do so (again, despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore), or [pick your next Republican contender] can do so, and as long as “Grim Reaper” Mitch McConnell rules the Senate and kills every single bill Democrats put on his table, the US government is unlikely to do anything significant to weaken and shrink the oil and gas industry.
On the other hand, you can easily pull thousands of gallons of oil off the market by switching to an electric car. You can bodyslam the polluting oil industry and slug it right where it matters by cutting your own addiction to what it is peddling.
The good or even amazing thing is that there are now dozens of benefits to going electric! You’re not sacrificing anything by going electric. As I just wrote, there are 30 big reasons to buy an electric car today. Not one, not two, not three, but freakin’ 30!
There are various ways to go electric. You can get a top-of-the-market Tesla Model 3. You can get a compelling electric vehicle from several traditional automakers if you for some reason prefer them. You can buy a used electric car for an insanely competitive low price. Or you can go full hippy and switch to an electric bike.
Yes, get involved in politics, in policy, in nonprofit work — I do fully support the request the author of that Vox article was making. She was talking down the importance of personal green consumerism in order to remind people that we need broad political action as well. I agree that we need the latter (especially so that another Trump, Bush, or McConnell isn’t elected to a high office), but I do also think the absolute biggest thing you can do to fight Big Oil, pollution, and pollution-loving politicians is to buy or lease a freakin’ electric car!
Naturally, many CleanTechnica readers have already done so or plan to do so soon, but I am increasingly irritated by climate activists who have been punked with regards to Tesla, climate activists who have incorrectly absorbed the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) pushed by Big Oil with regards to batteries and electric vehicles, climate activists who think it’s more important to spend hours on Twitter rather than cutting demand for thousands of gallons of oil by switching to an electric car.
Naturally, if you know me at all, you know that I heavily push green political action and green consumerism. The societal situation is too urgent for half-measures. We need to be putting out heroic efforts at every possible level. Yes, I do care if people ignore the importance of personal responsibility on the daily consumer level simply out of laziness, complacency, or the false presumption that individual action doesn’t matter. In fact, without quick and courageous individual action — especially from the people who should be most passionate about moving the market forward — we have absolutely no hope of solving our true climate crisis.
Politicians by and large do not lead — they follow. One of the best ways to push politicians to do what’s right is to push the market in the right direction. Countries are more willing to implement ZEV mandates and carbon pricing when they see that consumers want electric cars. Cities are more likely to ban gasoline and diesel cars if they see that consumers want electric cars. The US Congress is — well, come on, the US Congress is dead until Mitch McConnell and his ilk are removed from office, but in any case, the US Congress is not going to pass sweeping legislation in favor of zero-emissions transport until the market is already clearly showing that’s what it wants. We’re getting there, but any climate activist driving to a march or rally in a gasoline car is quite likely driving us in the wrong direction.
All images by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica (available for use anywhere with credit)