Eric Thompson: Do-gooders put vice grip on design

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You won't be getting your mate at the local garage to tune your hydrogen-powered car. Photo / Supplied
You won't be getting your mate at the local garage to tune your hydrogen-powered car. Photo / Supplied

I'm getting tired of the empty rhetoric thrown around by self-appointed guardians of planet Earth, and how anyone who designs anything should have the planet in mind before they even pick up a sketching tool.

A couple of years ago I mentioned similar thoughts and hoped that designers would have been left to their own devices, and that the green brigade would have moved on to something, or someone, else.

Not so, I'm afraid to report. So I'm going to have another tilt at my own personal windmill.

All design should be sustainable (in the true meaning of the word - "to keep up or keep going, as an action or process") and not the rallying call for misguided liberals with too much time on their hands.


For all you budding designers, do not base all your sensibilities on a few misguided souls who wish to change the world by socially engineering our perception of what, and what will not, allegedly save the planet.

Design stuff that will keep going and contribute, as well as being aesthetically beautiful, especially when it comes to transport.

The constant banging of the drum about go-green cars is no longer a rallying call, more an irritant.

What is the point in foisting green cars on New Zealanders when the Third World is going to continue to produce cheap and badly made cars for the masses? India is looking to provide a billion cars in the next 10 years for its growing population. You can bet they'll not be "environmentally friendly".

If you think anyone gives a toss about what New Zealand thinks - or that we have any influence on the likes of India, China or Russia - you're suffering the same delusions as those who think we're all going to end up in an electric, hybrid or whatever car.

Kiwis can now buy any car they want. Cars are far more affordable for low-income people and the vehicle fleet is more safe and fuel-efficient - despite what some would say.

Far too many governments jump on the latest tree-hugging bandwagon in an effort to scare us all into misguided, half-baked "save the world" policies.

The modern internal-combustion engine is about the most efficient means of propulsion we have at the moment.

It's cheap to manufacture, run and maintain. It doesn't need a physicist, a chemist, an electrician or a mechanical engineer to service it, either. If we ever see a hydrogen-powered car in reality, I doubt you'll be taking that down to the local garage to get your mate to tune it for you.

The scare-mongering of the 1970s about how the world was going to implode has proved to be nothing but empty rhetoric. I've said it before and I'll say it again - nuclear-powered cars are the way forward.

Listen up, you lot who are about to burst a blood vessel and yell, "What about Japan, you fool?"

If my memory serves me correctly, it was a tsunami that caused all that grief - not a reactor meltdown per se. Also, that technology was pretty old.

Green cars are over-priced and under-delivered, and why would anyone in their right mind pay twice as much for half the performance?

Until the price of environmentally friendly stuff costs less than the existing, there will never be a large-scale take-up of it.

It's all right for tree-huggers, politicians, scientists and philosophers - who tend to live in ivory towers - to tell those who produce most of the country's gross domestic product, and consequently pay their wages, what they should and should not be driving. And it's a hard pill to swallow when those who tell you what to do are out buying new BMWs.

- NZ Herald

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