Okay, here's a question for all you transit riders and eco people out there. What does the new, sustainable transportation world look like?
There are basically two camps developing in the green movement when it comes to transportation. There are those who believe that we can reform the automobile, keeping the advantages (and maybe development patterns) of the private car while getting rid of the negative environmental consequences. These are the folks producing and promoting hybrids, electric cards, fuel-cell vehicles, and other such developments. (I hesitate to include ethanol, because ethanol really isn't a green fuel. It burns cleaner, but actually produces more CO2, as it has a lower energy density.)
The other camp is folks who believe that we must essentially replace the private automobile on a day-to-day basis. They call themselves the Car Free Movement, and they advocate for transit infrastructure and development patterns that allow the near-complete abolition of the private car. (I say near, as most advocate for some form of car-sharing arrangements for emergencies or long-distance trips.)
Browne at the Bus Bench posted a bit of a rant about the "GREENWASHING" she saw at the LA Green Expo. In my personal opinion, this is what the electric car/hybrid/fuel cell folks are doing- trying to convince people that they can buy their way out of this crisis. The fact of the matter is that our current society is unsustainable. Getting out of it will not be accomplished by simply buying a Prius.
Go over and read up on the Car Free City people. They have a real vision for the future, and it is a beautiful one. Livable, mixed-use communities, with ample opportunities for local retailers, connected by frequent and convenient public transport, and (most importantly) NO CARS. At least, not for most people on most days. It's beautiful. If they built a car-free development anywhere near my town, I'd move in immediately. (hint hint, Riverside planning commission) Furthermore, I think that their vision for the future, one that emphasizes less consumption and a change in development patterns, is a more credible one. They paint a gorgeous picture, but they acknowledge that it will take a lot of work to get there.
Compare that with the future implied by the other camp, which is a future of electrically-powered suburban sprawl. I know which one I'd like.