Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's not easy being green

Thomas Friedman was on the Today Show this morning. He suggested that it would be a good thing if oil topped $100 a barrel as this would lead Americans to make other arrangements, as Kunstler might say. Faced with record high gasoline prices, he said, we would drastically change our habits. We would consume less oil. We'd make smarter choices about the types of cars we own. His theory goes something like this: Conservation would reduce demand, thus dropping the price of oil, which would allow us to stick out our collective tongues at Iran and other oil producing nations.

I hate to tell this to Friedman, but behavior modification will be a difficult assignment around these parts.

A local LEED-certified shopping center has recently become the subject of public scorn. Callers to the Savannah Morning News' "Vox Populi" gripe line have promised to boycott businesses in the Abercorn Commons, home to the planet's first LEED-certified McDonald's restaurant. The project's developer seems be doing everything right, from recapturing rainwater to energy efficient HVAC schemes to using recycled construction materials. It's the sort of development lots of cities would be proud to have, as Andre recently pointed out on his excellent blog.

What made the folks so angry? Some of the spaces in the permeable surface parking lot are set aside for hybrid cars. Here are some samples from Vox Populi:

"The 'Hybrid Vehicles Only' parking is ridiculous."

"Politically correct parking spaces for politically correct cars? I am physically handicapped and will spend my money elsewhere because I do not feel welcome there."

"I've been looking forward to the new stores but I don't drive a hybrid car, whatever that is, so I won't be shopping there."

With loyal customers like these, oil companies have little to worry about.

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