Selling the global destruction machines
It's about time we ban automobile advertising, like the ban on cigarette advertising on television and radio. Cigarette ads were banned because people could not take their own responsibility for the damaging effects of lung cancer on themselves and on others. And now, with the incredible global damage underway to the world ecosystem, our government should limit the grossly misleading ads for cars and trucks and automobiles. The global climate change being caused by fossil fuel emissions will have a devastating effect on all life. Forests are dying from acid rain, ecosystems are dying, oceans are being polluted with oil spills, human respiratory problems are getting worse. The car buyers don't have the key knowledge to make informed decisions about the destructive nature of the products they buy.
Warning StickersThere should be permanent stickers attached to cars that warn of the damaging effects of fossil fuels. This would be the equivalent of the Surgeon General's warning on cigarette packages and on cigarette billboards and magazine ads. The message could be permanently engraved in the front windshield of the car. Any advertising would have to show a warning in clear readable print with no other distractions. If it was a TV ad, the message would have to be visible for 5 seconds. If it was a radio ad, the message would have to be clearly read with no other sound in the background. The wording of the message would have to be concise and informative. It could also include an address where readers could get more detailed information.
False AdvertisingThe blatant disregard for nature is obvious in automobile advertising on TV. Even on public television, the ads blast us with human-centered behavior, inconsiderate of any outside consequences, short-term or long-term. All sleek and cozy, cars gliding swiftly through pristine landscapes. They rarely show the gridlock and the ugliness of the road. Ads that show cars cutting through otherwise untouched natural areas are the most depressing. When will humans stop scarring the earth with asphalt?
In the Wrong DirectionAutomobile buying habits are getting worse. The rising sales of small sport trucks and vans are damaging to the environment. These vehicles are less efficient, and release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than compact cars. Most of these vehicles are purchased not for there off-road performance, but because of the massive advertising by car manufacturers, and end up being used mostly for single-occupant highway and city driving. There is a false need fabricated in buyer's minds by the auto makers that they are getting a vehicle that will take them anywhere anytime. Perhaps there is a secret fear that civilization's collapse is not to far around the corner, and that escaping the urban maelstrom will be like taking a little camping trip in the family truck. Too bad the gasoline won't be readily available in that case.
AlternativesThere has to be a massive immediate conversion from fossil fuel based transportation economy if future generations are to survive. Corporate culture has to restructure it's centralized, commuter-based workforce into a telecommuter network. This is already starting to happen with the advent of computers and telecommunications, but this will only be possible for about 25% of the current workforce. Other vocations will need physical decentralization to make goods and services available without the reliance on automobiles. The bicycle is the most efficient and ecologically-sound mode of transportation, and by reconfiguring our mall-based society, we can create more granular village-style economies that are more self-sufficient.
Pass the WordThis is just a new idea, and surely others have thought of it, but if it is passed on, perhaps it will grow and actually change the world. It is only one part of a much larger effort that must be taken. Tell ten friends and colleagues, and tell them to pass it on to ten more. Demand of your government that action be taken. This is a global issue, and America, as a leading producer of greenhouse gases with it massive fleet of vehicles, should take the initiative in protecting the health of the earth and it's inhabitants. This simple idea deserves public support, and with the help of many supporters, should evolve into a well-defined plan for action.
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