Life in the Slow Lane

July 7, 2008

Nurture, don’t knock, nature

Filed under: Life — pauljlane @ 2:43 pm

I am a garbage-picker, I am quite proud to say.

I recycle whatever I can each week, making sure all scrap paper at the office goes into the box and sorting through everything I get rid of at home. I have even started sorting my recyclable materials, which at times makes a mess of the back yard (thank you, honey, for bearing with me).

This is not really garbage-picking, but that’s among the terms I’ve been call ed by family members and others who don’t grasp what I’m doing, or who think it’s stupid (which is a mean term, by the way).

The time for that type of thinking has passed. Look at gas prices, check out the wacky weather of recent years, drive by the giant pile of trash on I-190 in Niagara Falls – we consume too much.

I have said for some time that the next car I want to get is a Prius, Camry hybrid or some other ultra-fuel-efficient vehicle. Aside from the savings on gas costs, it helps the environment – especially important since I now have children, and in a worst-case scenario the planet may be near ruins by the time they approach their golden years.

This morning on CNN, I heard a report that Toyota was considering adding solar panels to its Prius in order to further improve the efficiency (hybrids use electricity to help off-set the use of gas). The female talking head who was listening to the reporter speak got a disgusted look, like the cameraman had just cut one or something.

‘What?” the reporter said.

“Solar panels on my car?” replied the anchor in a tone that suggested someone had just showed her what was sucked out of a week’s worth of clients at a liposuction clinic. “I don’t think so … that would look gawdy.”

This is what might end up ruining us all – vanity … well, that and laziness. Get of your butt and walk to the store once in a while, and take the 10 seconds you’d need to put the plastic bottle in the blue bucket, and things might be a bit better.

As for vanity, would solar panels look better than a Schwinn? If we don’t develop alternative energy sources, that’s what we’re looking at. If we spend our time poo-pooing new concepts instead of embracing the intent behind them, things will never change.

And ask the ancient Romans how well an inability to adapt worked for them.


This story on the new Prius is courtesy TG Daily.

Toyota is playing with the idea to equip upcoming Prius hybrids with solar panels to improve the energy efficiency of the car.

According to an article published by, Toyota engineers have started working on ideas to integrate solar panels in its Prius vehicle. However, the solar panels are not planned to become an additional direct power source for the electric engine, but as a technology to provide energy for electric components such as the air conditioner.

Similar ideas have emerged in the past from other manufacturers. Porsche, for example focuses much of its (non-solar) hybrid technology to be released in 2009 in the Cayenne hybrid SUV and the Panamera hybrid sedan on powering electric components through regenerated energy and Fisker recently said that its 2010 Karma sedan would be offered with solar panels that could power components such as the air conditioner.

According to the Nikkei article, Toyota has not made a decision on the solar panels yet and there is no information hen solar panels could be offered and how much they will cost. However, the company confirmed that a plug-in version of the Prius is on track for a 2010 release.


1 Comment »

  1. interesting read.

    Comment by GlobalWarmingDESTROYER — July 23, 2008 @ 12:26 am | Reply

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