Reviews: Books, Movies and other Infotainment

True Green @ Work

Cover shot of the book 'True Green @ Work

Cover shot of the book 'True Green @ Work

True Green @ Work is a book about implementing measure that will reduce your company’s impact on the environment. The parts of this book that are aimed at the plebs (as opposed to the upper heirarchy of corporate society) are pretty basic things that many of we eco-minded individuals already do.

I’m hoping this will be a good book to trigger conversation though – I might take it to work and strategically position it on my desk to start conversation and encourage people to do the right thing. I can tell people it’s my ‘bus reading material’ (never mind that I get ill if I read on the bus). Folks tend to believe things more if they read them framed in certain terms, in print. As such, I think this book could be beneficial for the average worker. Otherwise, this book is really aimed more at the leaders of medium to large businesses and megalithic corporations – the kinds of things they talk about, such as green building design and alternative energy sources, are just too far out of reach for most people. That being said, since I already knew all of the typical stuff, I actually found the parts of the book aimed at the upper echelons to be the most interesting.

This book is written by Kim Mackay, Jenny Bonnin and Tim Wallace – all Australians. The first two are very involved (think co-founder level of involvement) with Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World. As such, this book has a quite Australian-centric focus, which is nice for a change. So often I am reading books which are chock-full of useful information, but which reference US stuff all the time (such as Eat Where You Live by Lou Bendrick, which is a great book, albeit very American).

Overall, I think it’s a good book. It’s useful for the uninformed, those requiring encouragement, or the high-level management of decent-sized businesses. It’s interesting for the environmentally-conscious and Australians generally. I’m also hoping it will be a great conversation-starter and will encourage some of my colleagues to do more.

Check out the betruegreen website to learn more.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electric Car?, a documentary released in 2006 and narrated by Martin Sheen, explores the introduction of the modern electric car into California in 1996, and it’s subsequent destruction. Yes, that’s right – totally annihilation. So what was up with that?

This documentary, peppered with appearances by interested celebrities, activists and folks in the car business, looks first at the original electric cars, which at the turn of the century were more popular than gasoline fueled automobiles. The documentary then looks at the introduction of a California law ensuring any manufacturers selling cars in the state also had to produce and sell cars with zero emissions. The number of cars they needed to sell was on a sliding scale. As a result, lots of electric cars from a number of different companies were released in California around 1996.

The electric cars got fantastic reviews – they were clean, efficient and much cheaper to run (the electricity required was the equivalent of $0.60 per gallon). Tom Hanks even had a spot on Letterman raving about it. Then, they were removed from the market, taken away from the owners, hidden, crushed, and shredded (literally – I didn’t even know they shredded cars). There was an uproar by the drivers of electric cars, including actress Alexandra Paul, who participated in an almost month-long vigil outside a back lot at General Motors, so the electric cars there couldn’t be snuck out to be destroyed, but it wasn’t well publicised. As a result of this systematic destruction, no electric cars remained on the roads by 2006.

The documentary looks at a number of suspects who may have caused the eradication of the electric cars:

  • Consumers
  • Car Manufacturers
  • Government
  • Oil Companies
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells
  • California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.)
  • Electric Batteries.

The electric battery was the only suspect that wasn’t ‘guilty’ (the batteries weren’t the best, but that was because the car manufacturers didn’t use the most advanced types of batteries, not the fault of electric batteries in general).

Current green alternatives (such as hybrid cars, hydrogen powered cars, biodiesel powered cars), while better than petrol fuelled cars, are not as clean or efficient as electric cars. If charged using sustainably produced energy, the electric car would produce almost no pollution.

This documentary is a fascinating investigation into clean transportation and why although the technology exists, it is not available to the average consumer. The special features definitely add to the experience – I am especially impressed by the segments with Stan Ovshinsky and his wife. That guy is a genius. Mr Pre-teen wants to email him with an idea he has for a different kind of electric car. 🙂

General Motors posted a rebuttal of the points presented in the movie in their blog post Who Ignored the Facts About the Electric Car?, written by Dave Barthmuss.

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4 thoughts on “Reviews: Books, Movies and other Infotainment

  1. Pingback: Reduce: Boredom on the bus « Eco Lesbo Vego

  2. Pingback: Review: True Green @ Work « Eco Lesbo Vego

  3. Pingback: Newsflash: Nissan’s electric car « Eco Lesbo Vego

  4. Pingback: Newsflash: UK Goes Electric « Eco Lesbo Vego

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