And now another treasure from Italy not seen in any museums, but certainly zipping all around them. Cozy and adorable although at first glance for us Americans, they’re freakishly small. As I took in great works of the last couple thousand years, I saw these little cars as the future, even if just for the next century. This, my friend, is a Smart Car–and they’re ALL OVER Italy. Well-appointed and apparently safe, at 60 mpg (70 mpg for the diesel model) they happily buzz around the ruins of the fallen Roman Empire with a great environmental irony. Also spotted by this intrepid (and at the time, overfed) T&P correspondent was this hot little model not yet seen in the US: the Mercedes A Class. Coopers and Fiats were everywhere too but I can assure you that the gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalade would be driven out of Rome like an Etruscan. And, of course, parking is less of a concern (by half) when you can park perpendicular to the curb.
With the price of gas at about $6/gallon in Europe Smart Cars, Coopers and Fiats are absolutely all you see. No SUVs, no pickups, and the buses are even on a small scale and run on biodiesel.
Fret not, though. Smart Cars are lining up to make the journey across the pond to the US very soon. Mercedes is bringing them to the US next year so soon enough you can be the first on your street to own one, or two, or three.
Earth Day reports abound this year so I’ve compiled a few of my favorites below to which I will add throughout the day as I find them. So toss a coin in the T&P Trevi Fountain and return again as the day goes on:
- ABC News: Diane Sawyer’s life in garbage mind-blowing consumption statistics and some reports on progress from around the planet.
Bill Maher: The Birds, the bees and Earth Day “New Rule: From now on Earth Day really must be a year round thing. And in honor of this Earth Day, starting Monday supermarket clerks must stop putting the big bottle of detergent with a handle on it in a plastic bag. I don’t mean to tell you how to do your job, but you see that handle you just lifted the detergent with?”
MSNBC: Narwals used to track warming The narwhals dive as deep as one mile to feed on bottom fish and already have provided the first winter temperature measurements in Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland.
The website for The Vanity Fair Second Annual Green Issue is giving me some trouble, which made me glad to have the hard copy. That’s Leo DiCaprio and our little friend Knut (who is just off a bad week of teething problems and death threats) gracing the cover. Next year’s cover may feature Knut looking at Leo while licking his chops, but even this year neither of them were actually together for the photo or in that setting. Top notch reading contained therein if the site works for you.
MTV’s “Pimp my Ride” and California Gov. Arnold Swartzenegger pair up to convert a 1965 Chevy Impala, producing a vehicle that accelerates from zero to 60 mph in three seconds. The converted car’s emissions of greenhouse gases will be 50 percent lower than a comparable gas-powered car. And biodiesel fuel can be made from recycled products such as vegetable oil.
For this Earth Day 2007, along with my own hopes that Iceland stays Green and Greenland stays Ice, let me leave you with this:
“May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life.”
–United Nations Secretary-General U Thant
March 21, 1971.
Amen. So, whatcha gonna do?