Let’s face it – it’s hard to be hopeful. With the current economic climate in Europe and America, politicians are fighting to stay alive in an increasingly skeptical landscape. And the public is just fighting with frustration. But if one takes the time to read the fine print (although that tends to be conflicting and contradictory, too) there are always rays of optimism lurking there – sometimes in the most unlikely places.
This isn’t a story about a shining, pure idealist coming to save us from greedy, self-serving policymakers. But rather, a simpler confirmation that even the most perennial industries like the automotive trade can adapt to progressive changes, and survive. The recent North American International auto show, the largest in the US, has come back fighting, and the color is green – green for hybrids, green for ‘go’ on newly revived interest from consumers and green for the money the industry looks forward to making in 2012.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported that Ford, Chrysler and General Motors “all logged double-digit sales last year,” and the talk on the showroom floor is all about fuel efficiency, with Ford “planning to triple production of hybrids and electric vehicles to more than 100,000 in 2013, rolling out five battery-powered offerings.” It’s not just to do with altruism in fellow man and the environment, but probably more with spiraling fuel costs, regional instabilities and the desire to be practical at a chaotic time. Regardless of the intent, the outcome is the beginnings of a much-needed change in how we, as humans, interact with our environment and what we expect from our finite global resources. It doesn’t matter what wakes us up, as long as we are becoming aware and changing our ingrained lifestyle patterns. Good news from Detroit, good news for the planet.