Air Quality Awareness Week 2015 – Part 4: Automobility’s and waste’s 3Rs

While others have their definitions, I have my own ideas of what constitutes automobility. What automobility means to me is anything that provides mobility, motion initiated by some external or internal means of power or force, inertia, of course, being overcome. Such a broad definition, I know.

Hydrogen_vehicle[1]There are many, many methods to make automobility a reality. Internal combustion engine, electric motor, air or vacuum pressure propulsion power all coming to mind. This can be achieved with relatively low amounts of pollution being pumped into the air via exhaust or absent any pollutants being introduced into the atmosphere at all. Several principles or technologies are presented.

The other part of this profile has to do with waste and the handling thereof. As consumers, one cannot separate consumption from expulsion – the waste component; the stuff that gets tossed, in other words. They go hand in hand.

Enough said. Time to get a move on in exploring the automobility and waste and waste-handling realms.

The three Rs: Replace, recharge, repair

Automobility is an area that really piques my interest; it always has ever since I can remember. Earlier in life I wasn’t so much concerned with the propulsion aspect as much as I am now. As I get older – and hopefully, wiser – I look at today’s inventions differently than the way I looked at those then new inventions of yesteryear. Today, for me, it is all about protecting the air and protecting health – first and foremost.

The thing I’m still trying to get my head around is a seeming reluctance on the part of the mass motoring community to drive more cleaner-burning, more fuel-efficient, higher-mileage-per-gallon vehicles. Okay, so I’ll admit that these can be more expensive at the time of purchase than the more run-of-the-mill vehicles. But, farther down the road, the former in a head-to-head comparison wind up by far being the less expensive alternative. It should be noted though that there are more alternatives to choose from these days than there were just a decade ago.

So, using my own automobile purchasing history as an example, vehicles went from what I would call gross polluting, less efficient types to far cleaner-burning much more efficient kinds of motor vehicles – what I would classify as ultra-low-emissions. Following that trend, the next logical step for me would be no or zero-emissions should I make another automobile purchase. It just makes sense. This takes care of the “replace” R.

As for the “recharge” R, should I purchase an electric vehicle, then the element of recharging onboard batteries enters the picture. If recharging of batteries can be done by way of a renewable energy supply, all the better.

Finally, there is the “repair” R. I’ve been a huge adherent of this principle right out of the starting gate, practically. If something can be repaired, great. If I can do the repair myself, even greater. As far as I’m concerned, maintenance plays such an important part in the automobility realm.

Meanwhile, not to be overlooked is the testing part of the experience. Testing systems as a way to check for integrity allows a person to know whether a mobility device is performing up to par.

As a brief aside, I wonder if travel in autonomous vehicles at some point will constitute the ultimate automobility (notice I didn’t say “driving”) experience. I’m just saying.

Let’s not forget: Reduce, reuse, recycle

Waste. I know I’ve been over this ground before. So, please excuse if some or all of what I am about to convey is repeated.

Waste. It comes in all shapes and sizes. There is waste of every description. So, what to do with it all is the real question.

Waste. Reducing the amount of waste goes without saying. Beyond that there is recycling and reusing of such.

Perth, Western Australia, landfill
Perth, Western Australia, landfill

Whatever can be recycled, like paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, metal why shouldn’t it? Moreover, whatever can be reused, ditto? As I am learning in reading Gar W. Lipow’s “Cooling It! No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming,” reducing material intensity is a big theme that carries throughout Lipow’s book and reducing the material intensity of waste is a big part of that. Also, by reducing the intensity of materials this also provides for a reduction in energy usage and therefore increased energy savings results.

All of which seems quite fitting, that is, as it relates to Air Quality Awareness Week 2015.

This concludes this four-part series.

Air Quality Awareness Week: One of the best awareness programs going to inspire the good air stewards in each of us to help make more breathable, this precious world resource we call air.

Image above (lower): Ashley Felton

– Alan Kandel