Left Justified: Fuel is a film and a need

By Stanley Campbell

Our little peace and environmental groups are showing a new film called Fuel, and already I can hear the yawns from my conservative friends (yes, some of my best friends are conservative).

State Rep. Dave Winters (R-Shirland) is not so sure global warming exists. He is one of the growing number of vocal believers using pseudo-science to dispute the growing number of scientists who call for capping and reducing CO2 production.

As I’ve said before, I am not a scientist, and couldn’t tell you why the ice caps are melting and what is killing the polar bears. I do know the U.S. car companies don’t want to build more efficient cars. (Have you seen their truck ads lately? “It’s manly to drive a big-honking, gas-guzzling truck.”)

I’d invited people to celebrate new ideas for clean energy production, and Winters showed up. I was pleased. He is one of my favorite Republicans. Winters votes regularly for the environment, so I was surprised when he went ballistic. I was hoping he’d talk about some of the state energy legislation, particularly a bill to upgrade auto efficiency.

Winters apparently wasn’t buying cleaner cars.

I was a bit disappointed. I remember looking for a new car when gas prices hit more than $4 a gallon. My Saturn went from 33 miles per gallon in 1993 to a new 2004 model getting only 22 miles per gallon.

I went to test drive a Prius. “Stand in line,” they said. Seems they only had one on the lot, and it was a two-month wait to order a hybrid. Customers were in a desperately suspicious mood.

Then, the salesman complained of all those customers in his parking lot waiting to drive a Prius. The world is standing on its head. Here’s a car salesman venting about too many customers! Did he complain that his car company may have underestimated the demand for hybrids? Nary a peep.

So, some legislators and the car companies don’t like efficient cars. So we, the consumers, get gas-guzzlers.

The Sundance Award-winning film Fuel will be shown Monday, Sept. 13, starting at 7 p.m., hosted at the JustGoods fair trade store, 201 Seventh St., Rockford (use west-side entrance at the parking lot off First Avenue). Free and open to the public, the documentary shows positive ways to deal with the energy crisis. The film lasts 90 minutes. Refreshments provided.

And bring a Republican with you.

  Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the Sept. 8-14, 2010 issue

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