February 15th, 2013 by Cynthia Shahan
The American Indians listen to the messages of their dreams, their great-grandchildren and their great-grandmother speaks to them. Akira Kurosawa made a film called Dreams that I have watched more than a dozen times. This film captures the beauty of folk tale dreams with foxes and peach blossoms spirits. In the same film, he captures the full experience one has on earth with war, something impossible to wrap one’s mind around. As short linked dream stories, they flow, as dreams do, one into another — the beautiful dreams; and then a tragedy; a soon to be experienced horror in life, that predicatively, as in film, manifests only after this visionary film artist dies. Thankfully, after this disaster, another dream story is followed — a story of a village, a land with zero emissions, a possible utopia, and a Shangri-La of wind and water energy only.
In Dreams, we watch projected images of a Fukushima-like disaster that only happened much later after the film. Joni Mitchell dreams out loud, creatively, lyrically, hauntingly, as she imparts wishes for trees instead of concrete with her hammer dulcimer. Other than people such as this, as a country, as global citizens, we navigate on a tight wire as we sort out the clear-thinking choices from a wheel of confusion out of control in delusion and denial.
Jerry Brown just made possible a longstanding dream of climate change activists, and normal folks who want long life for their great grandchildren, who are imploring these wishes in dreams.
Wide Awake and Working as a Realist
Decarbonization and zero-emissions technology is certainly on California Governor Jerry Brown’s mind. Clean air and clean energy are not lip service with him. Governor Brown and California state agencies have published 32 pages to lay out a process of how to make zero emissions a reality.
Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles are all getting a big boost on the roads in California.
Becoming Affordable and Green
One thing that holds truly concerned environmentalists back (unless they have liberated themselves by living on their bike or on transit) is a higher upfront cost of buying electric autos. Ways to ease this problem are in the works: according to the state’s 2013 ZEV Action Plan (PDF), California is looking to have 1.5 million ZEVs (zero-emissions vehicles) on its roads by 2025. Among the methods laid out, the state would subsidize utility price discounts for ZEV charging, create enough of an infrastructure to support one million ZEVs statewide by the end of the decade, and work with insurance companies to possibly reduce premiums for ZEV drivers. The state government would also have 10 percent of its light-duty vehicle purchases be ZEVs by 2015, and 25 percent by 2020.
Acting Now, Being Aware, Stepping in Time with Global Concerns
Californian’s do not drag their feet on change — they want clear air and long life, and realize the time to act is now. I sometimes wonder if the rest of our country is asleep. Here’s a spark to burst that hidden bubble, and for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to appreciate that we did wake up (instead of being overcome by lapses into denial environmentally). When one thinks of our children who are carrying a burden of planetary injury they did not incite, one does wonder why we have taken too long to act. Let’s hope that other states and their respective legislators begin swiftly to lay down regulations that work for zero emissions vehicles and drop the cost for these vehicles.
Interdependent Systems Streaming into a Shared Concord, Focused on a Soft, Light Carbon Footprint
For me, bike paths, bike shares, and mass transit are still priority concerns, but we also need electric cars and trucks for those who think they need them, for interdependent value systems and ethical choices that exist in our society today.
California’s plans are par for the course for a state that accounts for about 12% of the country’s 250 million or so vehicles but about 40% of the country’s plug-ins. In January 2012, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) came out with its proposed requirement that at least 15.4% of new vehicles sold by a major automaker in the state would have to either be plug-in electrics or hydrogen powered by 2025. California has also long been at the forefront of cutting vehicle emissions through initiatives such as pushing for stricter fuel-economy standards and emissions controls. I wonder what the state will do next.
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