O.K. lets start with a few problems I have noticed. First of all some of us believe that the environment needs help. We need clean burning, sustainable fuels and solutions for a cleaner future. Whether global warming is real or not, I don't think we want to return the the Victorian Age. Some of the more romantic parts might be cool to bring back, but what I worry about is the pollution. During the Victorian Era the industrial revolution caused the burning of wood, oil and coal without regard to its detrimental effects. It is widely known that the Victorian Era brought about the fancy ornate interiors as a result of the fact that the outside of the houses where commonly covered in soot. Since the outside of the houses where generally soot covered, they focused on making the interiors as ornate as possible for entertaining of guests and impressing people, since you couldn't impress people with the outside of your house because it was covered in soot.
What people in the environmental movement need to realize is this. We live in a free market economy and as such must live by its rules. I have heard suggestions such as adding 4 dollars a gallon to gas as a tax. Such a ploy would quickly loose support from Republicans and Democrats alike. It would be political suicide for anybody to support such a bill. It would also cause numerous problems for the economy in general. Take for example the fact that the US is a much larger area than Europe. That alone makes it almost impossible for people to bike and take mass transit to most places outside of a major metropolitan area. The real estate is simply too spread out. It is a great idea to implement in cities. I even read a new study saying that 50% of us live in cities now, so this direction can help a great deal. The problem is that the other 50% does not live in the city. I know people that work for a major retailers distribution center that drive one to two hours a day to go to work. They are paid almost twenty dollars an hour, so they have an incentive to drive that far. Most of the people who live in these rural areas are poorer people and may not have the resources to move. The cost of their rent or mortgage is fractional the cost of moving to a city.
This is the solution. Since we live in a free market lets use it to our advantages. Take the electric car for example. We shouldn't be making it mandatory that people have to sell it or buy it, make it better. Make an electric car that is better than an internal combustion engine car. Having driven the Nissan Leaf, I can tell you for a fact that it is indeed a better car. Period. The only thing holding it back is its apparent lack of range. Sell the car for its better points. Its quieter, simpler, cheaper to fuel and cheaper to maintain. Then add to that the life expectancy for an electric car is far greater than its internal combustion cousin. What we need to do is sell the sustainable products as being better products and people will want to buy them. People will resist buying things they are made to buy, even if it is good for them. We need to get people to buy them because they are better, not because they are made to.