FOR A DECADE starting in the mid-90`s, the streets have been clogged with the most mammoth gas-inhaling cars money could buy. There is frequently usually only one person in the vehicle, inevitably a little suburban mom, or in the case of car like the hummer-the owner is usually a buff dude. To those in smaller cars and with a little environmental consciousness, it`s really annoying and scary. It`s like being in your little rowboat surrounded by full-speed-ahead tankers.
The ranks of gas-guzzling cars will never really thin, atleast in the years to come. In Hollywood the Hummer is out; the hybrid is in. A-list actors like Leornardo Di Caprio are routinely photographed behind the wheel of a Prius, a car that gets around forty-four miles per gallon. Most of the people I read about or know who have gone hybrid or electric are cool. That is, they don’t gloat, act superior or brandish their save-the-environment credentials. But the hot-shots that own the huge Scorpio`s and swanky Skoda`s often show their high handedness by driving like kings of the road. There are only a few people who are truly enviro-evangelists. I have respect for many of these people, especially those who, like , have been sounding the alarm about global warming and the necessity of energy independence for years, a message certainly given new urgency by the war in Iraq and the escalating and seesawing price of oil, not to mention the melting of those .
No question, the environment is a hot issue (None too soon, some would say). Even the larger-than-life , has given up his signature fleet of Hummers. Various movie stars are on the eco-bandwagon: Susan Sarandon, Matt Damon and Cameron Diaz, to name a few. As always with stars, the tone is of the essence. Some seem to attach themselves to a cause in a thinly veiled effort to earn Brownie points with the public. They preen green for the cameras and go about their glitzy lives. But others, like DiCaprio, are low-key, thoughtful, informed and hard to ignore or resist. All to say that the environment is now a Hollywood cause!
There is that halo of self-righteousness about being green that can be so off-putting, even to those of us who share the cause. I listen with amusement as people talk about their current food choices. They question one another: where did you get your veggies? Are you sure they are safe to eat? You know how these labels are misleading. And what about the meat? Where does it come from? Is it free-range, hormone-free? So many doubts, just on the food we consume!
No question, our beautiful planet is imperilled, and we all need to do our bit. Switch those light bulbs to the low-energy kind. Recycle. Carry those old computers and electronic castoffs to the appointed place. Bring your groceries home in reusable canvas bags. Keep the air conditioning down in the summer. Drive one of those fancy hybrids when the budget allows, and go solar at home as much as possible. In short, everyone can be part of this all-important crusade of the 21st century.