Monday, February 13, 2012

Are we REALLY green?

Some of you may know that I have an interest in older large BMW's. Once they are over 10 years old their value plummets and they are fantastic, super luxury value. Not without issues of course as some repairs can be un-viable.

There has always been debate on the BMW forums about green issues with these cars as yes, they do drink a lot of fuel. But the discussion is much deeper on 'built to last'. Here's a recent post from me on the wider subject:

Although there is a ground swell requirement for longevity. I think it is currently still over ridden by a much larger element of materialism.

Our very materialistic and status driven lifestyles create a burning desire to have the 'latest' even if it's not really 'better'. An iPhone4 is just so last week. Sometimes that 'desire' is to be seen as 'going' green. Wind turbines in back gardens was a classic example just a few years back. A complete waste of time and money but looked good.

In the short to medium outlook I don't see that's going to change without major outside inflences - economy meltdown (even more than the current one) or god forbid, world conflict. Those scenarios rapidly change our focus to more fundamental needs.

As things stand our basic requirements as defined by Maslow's hierarchy of needs are fulfilled sufficiently for us not to worry and our 'needs' are channelled into the 'desire' sectors.

I see the current short term build quality being hidden by a smoke and mirrors exercise to make us feel we are being green by buying products that have more effiecient running costs without consideration to the real energy cost of manufacture, distribution or end of (short) life disposal. It's far more profitable for companies to work this way. It is well documented that the most cost effective method of car ownership is to purchase from new and keep, well maintained, until it's natural and extended end of life.

Big business is no longer owned, run and controlled by individuals who are proud and take responsibility. Todays businesses are run simply to provide profit for investment funds rather than interested and involved shareholders.

I don't have a real answer to this other than to resist for as long as possible. Keep our older cars on the road and enjoy them whilst we can and laugh in the face of those who bought them in their first years of life for massive amounts of money to improve their personal status and threw that money into the hands of the main dealer network when they sold it back in a couple of years.