Harassing EV owners is slightly dumber than blockading pipelines, but mostly the same – the circle of hell created by ignorant extremism
A new breed of idiot is running amok, in the US this time. Media reports have documented a new trend called ICE-ing (short for Internal Combustion Engine) where blockheads in big pickups purposely park their trucks in electric vehicle charging spots, blocking any EV owner from accessing power. These may be the same pioneers of the “rolling coal” hobby, whereby similar intellectual titans modify diesel pickup trucks to belch out vast quantities of soot and black smoke into the faces of cyclists and Prius drivers.
There are less-gifted people everywhere, so one might wonder what exactly provokes this fairly impressive display of brainlessness. The answer, ironically, is that these are the same calibre of over-the-top antics that we see in some elements of extreme environmental protests. Both tactics involve people who have escaped the orbit of rationality in the interests of fighting mythical opponents. Both do infinitely more harm than good.
There is no need to point out the harm that ICE-ing fools are creating; the environmental side is more subtle though. Well-financed and organized groups seek to obliterate the very fuels that keep us all alive, while offering wildly over-simplistic solutions as to how to live without those fuels. We see people chaining themselves to valves to slow progress on pipeline construction to hem in, for example, the oil sands, while at the same time the rest of the world is constructing 47,000 kilometers of pipelines and has another 140,000 km in the design phase. Most of these pipelines are in regions with environmental standards far lower than Canada’s, if they have any at all. At the same time, global oil consumption continues its relentless rise anyway, so that fuel will come from somewhere, but we don’t know where, and we don’t know the environmental footprint. This makes no sense but it happens, and then fuels sometimes irrational anger in people who can see through these tactics. If of a certain mental persuasion, these agitated folks up the ante and next thing you know a burbling diesel half-ton truck is hanging out in a Tesla supercharger parking spot.
Some get to this stage of insanity through a certain kind of mental insecurity. Sometimes we respond to attacks rather than thinking about the proper context. Suppose someone calls you stupid, despite considerable evidence to the contrary. The tendency is to fight back, to counterattack. The correct response is to mull over the possibility, asking of ourselves whether that is true or not. Any evidence, such as higher education, or a successful career/business, or whatever – should lead to the conclusion that the name caller is either mistaken or not intellectually qualified to judge stupidity, with no further thought to the issue.
But that’s not how we work. In the environmental world, this human trait is causing incalculable damage to industry and the environment, because a few key stakeholders have steered the debate in that direction.
A fairly obvious example is the single-minded focus on vilifying fossil fuel companies, any fossil fuel-related company, for causing global warming. We can ascertain fairly quickly that there is far more to it than that, with the primary evidence being the hyperactive consumptive habits of 7 billion people. That is where emissions come from.
This creates a big problem, because the attacks by the people that view elimination of fossil fuels (an umbrella which includes clean burning natural gas) as the main battlefield force people to take sides.
When people take sides, we get extremists, and extremists are like a giant blood-sucking leach on humanity. Extremists create poles of opposite polarity, create enemies w/ propaganda, and force outrageous amounts of time and resources to be spent on counterattacks.
Our goal as society and humanity should be to single-mindedly focus on efficiency, and on tackling the world’s biggest problems first, if the goal is to reduce our environmental footprint. We should use tax incentives to develop new technologies that work with the real world’s existing infrastructure. We should work to add forestry wherever we can and stop deforestation. We should adopt standards to tackle low hanging fruit, like poorly insulated windows and buildings. We should take every optional environmental dollar and send it to places in the world that have the most damaging emissions, and replace those. This would largely mean replacing global coal with global natural gas, an instant 50 percent reduction in CO2.
What we should stop doing, is attacking things mindlessly, whether it is Tesla drivers or safe and necessary energy transmission mechanisms.