Do you have a box?


In a story on Amory Lovins in the Jan 22, 2007 New Yorker, the writer describes him as ‘thinking outside the box’ to which Lovins says ‘There is no box.’ (Lovins is co-author of Natural Capitalism and a long-time innovative thinker about sustainability). Lovins comes across as a bit of a nutty professor, and there are worse things to be.

I think we all have a box, that is the limits of our own thinking, the pre-conceptions that we don’t even think to question. But some have a much bigger box than others, and I think we all could stand to push the sides out!

My pet peeve in this area has to do with the role of cars in the future. Most people I talk with seem to feel that ‘you can’t get Americans out of their cars’ and Lovins seems convinced that you have to have lots of car-like contraptions (he just wants them built more resourcefully). But I don’t buy it. Cars have some nice things going for them; they get you around, they keep you warm and dry, they have nice sound systems. But they are big and bulky contraptions that only make sense when the price you pay for gas is the extraction cost when it’s plentiful. The only time I really like driving is out on totally open roads, of which there seem to be few these days. Imagine life without (most) cars (it was the world of just 100 years ago).

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