I have a confession to make: I’m a tree-hugging, Birkenstock wearing, granola eating environmentalist.
Well, not quite. I don’t wear Birkenstocks, or sandals, I rarely if ever eat granola (though maybe I should eat more of it ;-), and I can’t ever recall hugging a tree, though I am an environmentalist
I’m coming out of the closet as a tree-hugger not to get in your face with my environmentalism, not to dictate to you that you have to do X, Y or Z, not to make you feel guilty, but because I’ve grown weary of the “Look-at-me-I’m-NOT-a-greenie -I’m-an-average-American-and-I-love-EVs” talk out there.
You can find this I’m-NOT-a-greenie-but-I-love-EVs-anyway rhetoric all over the Internet, from Bob Lutz’ spirited defense of the Chevy Volt to repeated references to the fact that EVs aren’t just for greenies in mainstream and automotive press to blog posts written by various EV advocates.
EVs and broad appeal I get that the rationale behind most of this I’m-NOT-a-greenie rhetoric is about showing the world that EVs have broad appeal, that they aren’t just for a narrow slice of American humanity. And, believe me, I want to see EVs, and, in particular the EV + renewable energy synergy, gain broad appeal in the U.S. and go mainstream.
Singling out the ‘greenie’ EV contingent for indirect, or direct, criticism in an attempt to mainstream EVs isn’t, in the view of this particular greenie anyway, the best way to maintain good relations among those in the broad EV tent.
But the “Look, I’m not a greenie!” stuff still stings nonetheless. Even if it’s not consciously intended, this approach implies that to be an environmentalist is ‘elitist’, ‘out there’, not cool, and even ‘un-American.’
I haven’t seen much of the reverse where, for instance, environmentally motivated EV drivers/advocates seek to distance themselves from the national security get-off foreign oil EV advocates, or where they seek to put space between themselves and the many EV advocates whose interest in new technology has driven them toward electric cars.
A tenuous EV coalition? Marginalizing environmentalist-driven EVers, might, on the surface, seem like a good strategy for helping to mainstream EVs given the unfortunate anti-greenie streak among a large percentage of Americans [this contrasts with public views in much of Europe, where green is mainstream] and the fact that a seemingly small percentage of Americans and, apparently, EV advocates and early EV adopters can be considered ‘true’ greenies,.
However, singling out the ‘greenie’ EV contingent for indirect, or direct, criticism in an attempt to mainstream EVs isn’t, in the view of this particular greenie anyway, the best way to maintain good relations among those in the broad EV tent. Nor does it do any favors to the broader environmental movement in the United States, which could use all the help and support it can get, including, ideally, at least the indirect support of EV advocates for whom environmentalism might not be at the top of their list of reasons for pushing for electric cars.