South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is purchasing 700 electric taxis. This subsidy is worth 18.2 million won (around $15,000) per EV, far more than the 12.7 million ($10,300) subsidy for buying an EV for personal use. Seoul is making foreign manufacturers, not only Korean brands, eligible for funding. Previously, only electric taxis from the Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia were subsidized. The Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric models from Hyundai and the e-Niro and e-Soul models from Kia were the only electric taxis. This will change.
Taxi companies in Seoul will be able to choose from 19 different models from 7 manufacturers. These include the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model 3, Jaguar I-PACE, and Nissan Leaf. The city notes that the high mileage of 440 kilometers daily for taxis if electrified will significantly improve air quality.
The rest of the world can and should learn from Seoul’s example. Here in the US, Republican politicians justify inaction on climate and air with excuses regarding religion and money. Many religious leaders, especially those here in the Bible Belt, believe that climate change isn’t real. The truth is that many — not all, but many — believe that “God will fix it.” I’ve even been told by a friend who is devout that, “We don’t need to worry about the climate because when the rapture comes, Jesus will fix everything.”
This mentality that “God will fix it” is an excuse to be lazy, in my opinion. Sure, I believe in a higher power and I don’t hate religion — but when it comes to common sense, a lot of people turn to a senseless mentality in hopes that God will solve a problem so they don’t have to. This allows those leaders and our politicians who believe in this as well to put off funding for helpful solutions, choosing to denounce something that is vital to our livelihoods. Why waste money on healing our planet when God can do it? What many of them forget is that the same Bible they quote from also says that we were given the task of caring for this planet.
For the most part, people do not say that they don’t need to work because God will provide them with food. They do not say that they don’t need to do anything to get a big flatscreen TV or new iPhone. Not caring for the planet, including atmosphere, that sustains us is laziness, not righteousness.
So, as we bicker over religion and politics, we should pause from that and watch how other countries are prioritizing the care of our planet. We can argue all day about our beliefs, but it will not clear the pollution from the air, pick the trash up off the sidewalk, or inspire someone to use a trashcan instead of a river for their trash. We need to relearn to care about our world and not put it off on God or whoever you may believe in. This is why the EV movement is so important — it’s encouraging others to be self-aware of their impact as they drive, and this leads to other ways of helping and caring.
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