In Like a Lamb

In my part of the world, the weather has been all but impossible to predict for any stretch of time. There were parts in February that were under -50C, followed in the same day by a 40+C shift. It still wasn’t cold enough to have any skating on the world’s largest skating rink – a first in it’s history. We’ve had so many snow days my kids have only had 4 days of school a week. A derecho hit us last May, which acted as a sort of “god rake” of multiple mini-tornadoes that helped bring down the price of lumber. 2 weeks ago an ice storm hit that knocked out power for a million people. And this past week, we had 5 days straight of 25C+ weather, which is beyond wild. I went from snowboots and a winter jacket on 1 day, to shorts the next. It feels like we just skipped spring entirely.

I did use the term weather above, as climate is a different item. Climate change is a different topic, and frankly as debatable as the earth is round.

There’s a native proverb that goes something like “we don’t inherit land from our ancestors, but rather borrow it from our children”. When I was younger, I didn’t quite get it. Parts of it, certainly. Recycling has been around in my city nearly as long as I’ve been alive (which tangent, still amazes me how it isn’t everywhere in North America). When I had my first child, my perspective changed. Plenty of parents want the best for their kids – but that is often limited to the concrete. You can see that your kid is in a great school. It’s pretty hard to see that the land is better, or that you can do something tangible about it. I would posit that this is because “better” is often viewed as “more”, whereas talking about the environment “better” is often “less”. No one needs a lifted pick up truck, no one. A recent survey about SUV usage in Quebec came with some interesting bits.

  • 47% of vehicle owners have an SUV as the main vehicle
  • 74% have never used their towing hitch
  • 39% only use their cargo space at least once a week

Which seems to indicate that SUV vehicle purchases are more of a “what if” scenario. Personally, I have a SUV, with a hitch. I’ve used that hitch to a crazy degree, and it’s fully loaded multiple times a week. 10 years now and time to look for the replacement, which was an interesting conversation.

What do you want vs need?

My better half was interested in a Dodge Ram. The box was viewed as a boon for multiple hockey bags (with a cover naturally), and certainly better towing ability. Again the concept of “better”. My mind went immediately to the cost of a truck today – in particular fuel.

In my mind, we need a vehicle that:

  1. Fits 5
  2. Has storage for 3 hockey bags
  3. Can tow 3,000 lbs
  4. Great fuel economy, ideally a hybrid for city driving.

The first item is a simple one, nearly every non-sports car can do this – no MINI. I’m a taller person, so there are some limits, but test drives sort that out quick enough.

The second item is very limited through sedans. CUV are mind bogglingly worse than any other vehicle class in almost every aspect. That leaves SUV+ options, which are honestly more limited than people realize. Fitting a few grocery bags is much different than 3 hockey bags.

Towing capacity is fascinating. Most vehicles can tow, though primarily at the 1,500lbs level. 3,000lbs is a notch higher and the options are somewhat limited to larger SUV, vans, and trucks. Interestingly, a Mustang or a Challenger has tremendous towing ability.

Fuel economy is the great divider. There are many tools out there, and comparisons are easy enough to sort out. A Dodge Ram “hybrid” vs a Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a 50% difference in fuel economy – over a $1000 difference per year. And that’s ignoring the actual cost of the vehicle, where the Ram is already nearly $10,000 more than the Highlander.

Small but consistent steps

I personally may not have the largest impact on this, but at the aggregate if many people make small changes it can have a tidal effect. The “low hanging fruit” if you will, is to tax the hell out of private jet flights and industrial waste to fund green efforts. Lobbying there is at another level, and voters in general have etch-a-sketch memory, so my hope for actual change at that level is miniscule. It’ll be a ground swell effort, and some philanthropy. I have faith that there are individuals that want this to improve.

2 thoughts on “In Like a Lamb

  1. Unrelated to either the content or the topic, I just wanted to put on record how much I love your prose style. I enjoy reading your posts, whatever they’re about, just to hear the way the words sound in my head.


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