big-tenteditors-blog-entry3This entry is a follow-up to an entry I wrote about different views on “the EV movement” and what one “should” do – and allegedly not do — in order to push this movement forward.

What I called “big-tentism”, or the idea that it’s crucial to get as many people as possible on board “the EV movement”, is the mantra of many, maybe even most, EV advocates. And logically so, as a movement is more powerful when it has more people.

But that doesn’t mean that a “big tent” always works.

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EVs to grow renewables
I’m part of the EV movement for two basic reasons: First, I see EVs as a great vehicle to grow renewable energy and to get America, and the world, off of fossil fuels. Second, and this is strongly related to the first reason, I’m on board with EVs because when they’re powered with renewable energy we essentially eliminate air pollution, which poses a significant environmental and health threat to us all.

For me, then, it’s not at all about EVs themselves. They are not the end for me; they are, quite simply, a means to another end.

And that’s where the trouble, or at least the potential trouble, begins in terms of me and the EV Movement’s Big Tent. And it’s not just me. I know there are a lot of folks out there like me who see EVs as a vehicle for environmentalism — heck, the Sierra Club recently signed on to the EV movement.

imiev-plus-solar1Trouble in the Big EV Tent?
You see, there are people in the EV movement Big Tent who don’t give a damn about the environmental and renewable energy parts of the EV equation. At first glance, it might seem like we can all be one big, happy EV family, despite what might be a gigantic ideological and political chasm between some of us.

But here’s where trouble can start: Growth in EVs in the U.S. could stoke demand for coal, inspire clarion calls for “clean coal” – such calls are already occurring – or spark pushes for more nuclear power, none of which I support, and, in fact, all of which I strongly oppose.

As soon as this happens – and believe me, I’m keeping my eye on this – I, and everyone else who’s in the Big EV Tent primarily because we see EVs as a way to grow renewable energy and green the world, are going to: a) fight against this; b) seriously revisit whether we want to be part of a movement that ends up growing that which we oppose more than anything in the world.

Now, it might be okay that some Big Tenters don’t join the battle against clean coal whose growth is already rhetorically being linked to growth in EVs. But active advocacy by other EV Big Tenters of coal, “clean coal”, “nuclear” – I’m very definitely not on board with that. In fact, I will fight relentlessly against those who push for dirty forms of generating electricity – whether they’re pro-EV or not.

Some of the other EV Big Tenters, most notably those for whom the environmental angle doesn’t matter much, if at all, are clearly not going to be on board with the greenie EV battle against “clean coal”, “nuclear”, and even natural gas – there are some serious environmental and health issues surrounding so-called fracking, a method to extract supposedly “green” natural gas from deep underneath the earth.

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Pro-coal EV-ers?
Now, it might be okay that some Big Tenters don’t join the battle against clean coal whose growth, again, is already rhetorically being linked to growth in EVs. But active advocacy by other EV Big Tenters of coal, “clean coal”, “nuclear” – I’m very definitely not on board with that. In fact, I will fight relentlessly against those who push for dirty forms of generating electricity – whether they’re pro-EV or not.

If the potential issues with a big-tent EV movement weren’t already clear to you – and I’m aware that a lot of folks are keenly aware of these potential fissures, which is precisely why many of these folks seek to downplay, one might even say, ignore them – I’m certain they are now.

Now, I’m not suggesting these issues are a serious problem yet. And, as I noted in my previous entry on Big Tent-ism, I’m generally for a Big Tent EV movement. However what I’m definitively not for is an EV movement that sits idly by when growth in EVs is used to justify growth in coal, “clean coal”, and “nuclear” (I’m ambivalent about natural gas).

And that’s because for me, it’s not really about EVs. It never has been and it never will be. Instead, it’s about using EVs as a vehicle to create a world which literally rolls on renewable energy — a world that’s a cleaner, greener, better place for us all.

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