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A Greener World - A Possible Dream

EV World editor's keynote address to opening of 2005 Kansas City Solar Home Tour

By Bill Moore

Thank you for extending me the opportunity of addressing this group. It's been a long time since I stood before an audience and shared my views on any topic and back then it was as a very young church pastor talking to his small congregation about a coming better world.

Ironically, I stand here again to talk about a better world, but not a millennial one ushered in by a triumphant Savior and his resurrected saints -- though that's a vision I know many of us cherish and pray for -- but one built by a world that has finally matured out of its millennial-long adolescence. It is a world that I often refer to in the opening introduction to my interviews on EV World as being one where "communities aren't just smart, their intelligent and sensible". I ask my readers and listeners to imagine a world "where all cars are green, bicycles rule and public transit is fast, frequent and fun. It's world where mobility is sustainable and accessible to everyone, where energy is clean and abundant, renewable and affordable".

So you see, thought it's been over twenty five years since I preached my last sermon, there's still a little of the evangelist left in me. Back then, I had been wrestling for several years with my personal dichotomy between preparing people's hearts for an earthly millennium, as we understood the scriptures, and preparing our minds and our hands. Eventually, I decided I wanted to get my hands dirty, if you will, and get down into the grit and grim of this world to try to make it a better place. Eventually, I started EV World and began my secular EV-angelism, using the vehicle (if you'll pardon the pun) of electric cars to address the larger issues facing our civilization.

While for some, it might seem a long and tenuous step between preaching the Gospels and writing about hybrids, and fuel cells and peak oil, in reality, there is much that unites them, philosophically.

Theologians have, for centuries, debated over the essential nature of man. While some argue man's nature is fundamentally evil as a result of the fall, humanist theologians and philosophers see it as innocent and childlike, corrupted only later in life. Both, however, saw it as redeemable. I am not here today to argue either way, but only to point out that it is also human nature to abuse and misuse, sometimes for the noblest of motives, and sometimes for the most base.

Take America's -- and the developed world's -- addiction to petroleum. If you're a reader of EV World you appreciated how this has become a dominate theme for us over the last few years as I awoke to the problem myself in the mid to late 90's. While I am old enough to remember gasoline rationing in the 1970s, as I began to minister to my first congregation scattered across the hills and hollows of southern West Virginia and Western Virginia, I -- like most Americans -- quickly moved on and forgot it.

But not entirely, in part because of a couple I met who had moved from New York as part of the "back-to-the-earth" movement inspired by magazines like Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening magazine. He was a successful chiropractor and she a former fashion model, now raising a houseful of very bright kids free from the influence of television. They introduced me to the idea of sustainable living and much of what that entails. And though my young wife and I and our two small children would move on in life, transferring next to Los Angeles, then to central Illinois and finally back home to Omaha, I never forgot them or what they helped me come to see and understand; that we have a responsibility to nurture and respect the "Eden" God has given us.

It would be nearly twenty years from the time I resolved to resign from the ministry to the time I decided to launch EV World. I would clean windows, work for an airline, write advertising copy, be published in Discover, Popular Science and Air&Space/Smithsonian, even briefly host a local cable television show on family finances. In 1993, I discovered the Internet, spending the next ten-plus years building and managing corporate websites, while writing software reviews for CNET and my old web site, Macware.com

Then one day in the summer of 1997, while waiting to talk to a banker, I found a two-page spread advertisement in Business Week magazine for, of all things, an electric bicycle. Curious, I wrote down the URL of the company and drove to my local library that had an ISDN connection -- remember in 1997 many of us were still using painfully slow 14.4 modems. Over the next hour or so of searching the Internet, I discovered an amazing world of electric cars and trucks and buses and bikes. The more I read, the more excited I became. The articles I had read in Mother Earth News all those years ago, started flooding back into my mind.



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