Travelling Weasels

FREEDOM FROM THE RAT-RACE

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: IS THE UK GOVERNMENT DOING ENOUGH?


[I originally published this piece on our sister site (veganvstravel.com) but because I'm currently rebranding this site (travellingweasels.com) into an ethical travel blog, I thought it would be nice here.]

There are three main reasons that people turn to a vegan lifestyle: the health benefits for their own bodies; the refusal to monetarily contribute to an industry that undeniably imprisons, tortures and murders sentient beings; and, what seems to be the most popular reasons at the moment: the environment. Animal agriculture is one the biggest threats to our planet. But it's not the only one. Cars, planes and other vehicles that use fossil fuels are also doing 'their part' to destroy our atmosphere. Even if everyone was to go vegan overnight, it would be awesome but, there would still be the question of these stinky, destructive moving metal objects. Aka cars. In my opinion, if you're vegan you should be anti-cars too, and even if you're not vegan you should still be anti-car: 1) they pollute the environment of us and the animals, 2) they're noisy and scary for us and the animals and 3) they kill (or at least severely injure) anything and everything that's unfortunate enough to cross their paths.

I. Making the UK Green: What is the Government Doing?

Recently the UK government made an 'effort' to make the UK a greener place by focusing on electric vehicles. But do we think that they're doing enough? And what else can we suggest to people for greener options? I'm going to break down what the UK government has 'promised' this time, and delve into why I don't think it's anyway near enough.

#1. £10 million electrical vehicle investment

In addition to the £73.5 million they said that they would invest in green transport innovation in June. It's earmarked for developing eco-friendly technology for the next generation of cars, vans and taxis. The projects focus on innovations such as recyclable batteries, ultra-lightweight components and advanced electrical systems. My thoughts: Quite frankly, I find this pathetic. Especially considering they spent £5 BILLION on trident in 2019 (source) if they can get that kind of money together to kill people why can't they get that kind of money together to save people? Also, I'm pretty suspicious of these innovations, as they often slap a green sticker on these things and then mine precious metals, or enslave children, or destroy trees etc behind it.

#2. £500 million to boost electric vehicle infrastructure

In order to boost electric vehicle infrastructure they want to support the rollout of new rapid charging hubs. My thoughts: this makes sense I guess, though I don't exactly think electric cars are the answer (see above and below)

#3. Banning new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars by 2035

The government has also brought forward a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars from 2040 to 2035. With government advisors saying that this ban should be put in place in 2032 instead, this change could happen even sooner. My thoughts: Just do it this year? Why wait? The planet's not waiting, and we've known about this since like earlier than the 60s. This is too little too late, and it's in the future I doubt they'll make it happen then, it seems more like a promise now to make them look good without actually having to do anything...

II. The Sustainability of Electric Vehicles

So in a nutshell, I don't think they're doing enough, I don't think they're doing anywhere near enough. In fact I think enough is on another planet from them at this point. But what about other Brits? Lease Car put a tidy little survey together about electric cars and where the general population's opinion lies. This revealed (out of the people they asked) that only 3% currently own an electric vehicle, but 83% said they are very likely or somewhat likely to switch to an electric car in the future. Furthermore, it showed that the majority (70%) said that they were put off making the switch because of the associated costs.

... so start taking public transport, cycling (second-hand bikes!) and walking more (better for your health than just sitting whilst driving)

So it's clearly a cost (and probably hassle) issue. If the gov can manage to scrape all this magical innovation and infrastructure money together (not to mention the trident money) they could just use it to start giving away electric cars. I'd also implement (like immediately) an insanely high taxation on fossil fuelled cars to further fund these new electric cars, before banning fossil fuelled cars forever. If the 'single use plastic bag' issue is anything to go on, the majority of the UK public won't change unless change is enforced on them, unfortunately. But change comes, even if you just charge 5p for something...

But honestly, I don't think electric cars are good enough either. Firstly, although they are of course greener than the old fossil fuelled cars, they're not as green as most people think - watch Planet of the Humans - most green stuff is rubbish and we should be looking to instead eliminate our dependencies on machines instead of creating greener ones.. Okay not all machines, obviously hospital equipment can be useful and I love my laptop as much as the next person... But I really do think the time of cars should be over. Even if they're weren't polluting our atmosphere, they go too fast, they're too heavy, they kill too many humans and animals. Furthermore, their convenience has had no small hand to play in the obesity epidemic. Just saying.

III. Wrap Up: So What Should the UK Government Actually Do?

  1. Insanely high taxation immediately on anyone using a fossil fuel car, make it so high that almost no one can afford to drive, say 10% of people, and use that money to pump into making trains, buses and other public transport *actually* green and affordable, accessible etc
  2. Once the public transport has been cleaned up, ban cars completely
  3. Tear up the roads and plant fruit and nut trees where they once were. Boom suddenly there is an abundance of food for everyone (and it's vegan) and the air is clean af. 
Maybe this seems to radical to some (most), but I think it's even more insane that these stinky killing machines are still roaming our planet, and I also have great belief in time and humanity. We put people on the moon (apparently) we can do this. 

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