31 August 2012

One Vespa = One Life

We have all heard the never ceasing rhetoric "air pollution is bad", and despite forming part of 'modern' humanity since the Industrial Revolution, it doesn't appear to be decreasing at any significant levels.

Ok then, what is the major source of this air pollution? Car ownership has to be right up there as one of the primary reasons. Did you know that this planet has approximately 1 billion cars on its surface? No? Well, that equates to roughly 1 car for every 7 persons alive today! That is amazing, if not down right tragic.

I know that we could debate the merit for having several types of vehicles in our driveways, until the cows get home. I'm sure that we could justify (as eloquently as OJ Simpson's lawyer) why we need a 4x4 SUV vehicle (for that once a year trip to the Kruger Park) and a shiny new BMW 3-series (its for my work you see) and the 80's Toyota Hilux (for taking out the trash and garden refuse) and the VW Polo (that is Janet's university car). Do we really need all of these oil-burning vehicles in our lives?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the oil burning internal combustion engine. I would most probably not be writing these words to you without some contribution (indirectly or directly) of its power and influence. Again I ponder, do we need so many vehicles circulating around our planet? Consider the fact that by burning up fossil fuels, we also burn up oxygen and produce countless tons of carbon dioxide. The key word here is OXYGEN.

It requires about 22 trees to produce the equivalent oxygen consumed by an average person in one day. An acre of apple tress will sustain 18 people for 24hours. Do you see where I'm going with this? If an acre is required for 18 people, then how many trees are required to sustain 7 billion? The 'lungs' of the earth are its vast natural forests. The greedy businessmen and corrupt governments of our world, stand-by, assist and then watch as millions of m2 of forests are cut down and vanish from the face of the earth every year.

This is certainly a multi-faceted world problem and not easily solved or explained by a simple article appearing on The Posers blog. What I believe is that we can all make a positive contribution in some small (sometimes perceived insignificant) way. I remember coming out to Africa from Europe in the 1980's. Then, it was quite normal to finish your Sparletta (pine nut), crush the flimsy can, and toss the whole thing out of your car window. With time, government advertising campaigns, the little "do not litter" logo, the "keep your country clean" engraved into the top of your can, all began to take effect and change the mentality that littering was simply not acceptable. Today, its rare to be driving down the N1 and get hit on the helmet with a half empty can of Coke (though I did have a near miss with a Chicken Licken 'Taxi 2' combo).

My point is that by simply better utilizing your vehicle, purchasing the correct vehicle for the purpose intended, exploring alternative forms of transport and opting for fuel economy and efficiency instead outright performance, this will in the long run be kind to both your wallet and the environment! Was it not a rather young Ewan McGregor in the movie Trainspotting that said "choose life"? I go one better, I say "choose Vespa"!

(Posted by Paulo)


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