Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guest Blog: The problem with cars and sustainable design

When I think of the term, "sustainable design," I immediately picture the pyramids. Still drop-dead gorgeous, the Gyza pyramids were perfectly constructed for the purpose of honouring the dead, and display an intrinsic harmony between form and function. And they're still standing without electricity, water, or the Internet, over 4500 years after being constructed.

Oh, and people still debate whether or not they were built by aliens. Or Transformers.

With vehicles, I wager that we haven't yet created such timeless, sustainable design.

As I mentioned above, design is both form and function. Sure, a Ferrari 250 California is beautiful, so is a Voisin C27 Aerosport, and countless others. Problem is, their function is directly related to gasoline to keep them going into the future. Otherwise, they become very beautiful paperweights — but not cars.

IPods are beautiful objects, but without future support from Apple — or a steady supply of power — they become form without function.

Personal mobility is already a huge issue on this planet — and an issue that changes almost across borders. In the US, it's about meeting ever-more-stringent safety and emissions standards, while keeping costs low for the consumer. In China, to contrast, the issue is in meeting an incredible demand for cars, and the socioeconomic implications that ride along with that.

A well-designed car for American consumers probably isn't going to be celebrated in China, and vice versa. But auto manufacturers know this, and spend billions of dollars tailoring vehicles to suit specific markets the world over.

Problem? A well-designed vehicle — in America, China, or wherever — isn't going anywhere without oil.

And that's why open-source design can transform the well-designed vehicles of today into sustainable ones for tomorrow.

Kudos to Local Motors here in America and Riversimple in Europe, and a few other startups that recognize that sustainable vehicle design isn't just about the looks, the powertrain, or using recycled materials. Sustainable design is about creating a consumer product that can be adapted over time to fit different needs and different fuels.

Making vehicle plans available to consumers means that with a little skill, time, and money, Local Motors vehicles can more easily be adapted to different powertrains, fuel sources, and environments. Sure, Ferraris will remain beautiful, but what happens if the oil dries up in a hundred years? Do you think collectors will rip out the engines and install battery packs and electric motors? Ha! They'll be all form and no function. 

Anyway, I look forward to the next 50 years of the automobile. Vehicles may not be as beautiful as the ones we've loved in the first 100, but you can bet they'll be more sustainable.

I want to thank Michael for writing this impassioned blog.
Michael Banovsky is an award-winning automotive journalist, blogger, and photographer, based outside Toronto, Canada. He contributes to, actively Twitters, and runs his own website at When not writing, he's guarding precious cables around the apartment from his kitten, Arcee, jogging, reading, or drinking coffee to put him to sleep.


Matt Johnston said...

This is a salient, carefully considered observation. Nicely done, Michael.

Michael Banovsky said...

Thanks, Matt!

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How Are We Responsible in Our Damavand Tours?
Damavand is one of the essential sites in Iran. We want to do everything we can to preserve this valuable natural resource. Our ancestors have left behind the mystical Mount Damavand for us to enjoy today. We feel responsible for keeping this mountain untouched for future generations. Damavand holds so many stories from ancient Persian culture at its heart. Also, it’s a gift of mother earth to us that provides many natural resources for our living, and sustaining them is key to our long-term survival. Therefore, we have a set of responsible travel policies for all of our trekking tours.

We’ll ensure to have a comprehensive session with you before going on the trekking routes to discuss tips regarding responsibility. These tips will include but not get limited to Iran etiquette and dress code. We also explore environmental worries about the Damavand region and the local community guidelines, which we would need to follow to ensure the less negative impact is placed on traditional communities.

Furthermore, we try to preserve the environment and diminish our footprint in nature. Not only we don’t leave any waste in nature, but also, we encourage others not to do so. Also, we try to use the minimum amount of plastic on our trips. Besides environmental considerations, we respect nomad people and their way of living while we meet them during trekking. For more information, check out the responsible travel page and responsible travel section in tour packages.

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Iran has many beautiful traditions and local subcultures that we would love to preserve. One of the ways we can help is with maintaining the local economy so it continues flourishing. We make sure to contribute to the local businesses on our tours with strong local partnerships in different regions. Also, we’ve designed a rigid set of environmental guidelines to reduce our footprints. We want to be a pioneer of responsible travel and push the tourism industry in Iran towards social and environmental sustainability.

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We are searching for experiences on our tours. Therefore, our goal is not just to show you different sites and follow a rigid travel schedule. We want to give you exposure to new and exciting experiences. We’ll put you at the heart of local communities. We’ll help you socialize with them, hear their stories, and share yours. We will take you to those hidden gems that locals go to in different regions. Overall, we want you to touch the reality of this ancient land.

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Damavand Mountain was registered as the first natural monument of Iran in the list of national monuments of our country on July 21, 2008. It is worth mentioning that this mountain was included in the list of four valuable regions in terms of environmental protection in 2002 as a national natural monument. Tourists touring Tehran can easily reach the summit via Haraz Road.

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Located near Tehran, Damavand trekking is one the most popular hobbies of the local people as well as tourists. From youths to elders, from amateurs to professionals can pick a share of their own from Damavand trekking tours. That’s why it is on the top of Iran mountain tours lists. So, taking a Damavand tour package is not just about the trails and their natural beauty. It’s also about the local life and the stories you’ll get to explore. You meet the nomads that travel by season. Or you’ll get to meet hikers from different regions in these Iran.

The best season for climbing Mount Damavand is in summer when the Damavand peak weather is mild and the pathways are not icy or covered with much snow. The weather in Mount Damavand's summers is mostly fine but it can drop to below zero as well. So you need to have proper gears. You should know that Iran mountain tour packages are categorized as easy and affordable. And with Damavand peak being the tallest mountain in Asia, Damavand ascent gets you lots of bragging points! Which is worth every penny you spend.
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Why will Damavand trekking tour be a memorable holiday for you?

Traveling to Iran can bring a totally different feeling to you while visiting Damavand can make your trip even more memorable. Apart from taking perfect photos of the highest summit in the whole middle east area, the highest potentially active volcano in Asia, and the 12th highest mountain in the world, there are three other main reasons to have a Damavand climbing tour package in your holiday checklist.
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We care about food. The meals are not full board so that you can choose them based on your personal preferences. Persian cuisine is popular for its diversity and deliciousness. We’ll introduce a wide range of restaurants to you so you could try what best suits your taste. In the end, we’ll expose you to a ray of delicious local Persian dishes during your trip.

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Join small group!
You could book Iran small group tours during specific dates if you’d like to tag along with another group. However, the small group tours would have less flexibility. In exchange, you’ll be traveling with like-minded travelers and have fun as a group. Those tours are also more affordable.
All the dates that are listed are guaranteed departure. That means even if you are the only one in the group, the tour would still take place at that time and date.

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Tower of silence is this ancient Zoroastrian cemetery that has the most spiritual feels to the atmosphere and the best view of the historical city of Yazd. Consequently, it made me question if I wanted to hide somewhere and never leave Iran! I started praying to the ancient gods for some more paid time off!

Unknown said...

کودکان به دلیل سیستم دفاعی ضعیف و حساسی که دارند باید از ادکلن هایی استفاده کنند که از حداقل مواد شیمیایی تشکیل شده باشد. ادکلن های کودک از مواد با کیفیت و خوشبو با بویی ملایم تولید می شوند که برای کودکان مناسب است و هیچ گونه حساسیتی برای کودک ایجاد نمی کند.

با دقت به کیفیت و مواد استفاده شده در ادکلن های کودک، اکثر مشتریان و مصرف کنندگان رضایت و استقبال بسیاری از از این ادکلن ها داشته اند. فروشگاه لیمادو برای جلب رضایت و اعتماد شما مصرف کنندگان گرامی ادکلن کودک را با مناسب‌ ترین قیمت ارائه کرده است.
ادکلن کودک

Unknown said...

Next was Abyaneh, with people who have saved their history in their everyday life and through centuries. We explored Iranian life from 500 AD to the 17th century there. Then, we moved to Isfahan with that masterpiece bridges of the 17th centuries over Zayanderud, where have been family hangouts all these years.

Unknown said...

Soaking in the natural hot springs of Sarein, I got to close my eyes, relax, and settle down. Letting the medicine of mineral water wash away all the tiredness of traveling out of my body and soul. The warmth of the springs in the cold weather of Ardebil was so soothing!

Unknown said...

Hundreds of men will be carrying a massive wooden structure called “Nakhl” around town. The Nakhl symbolized Hussein’s coffin, and taking it around town (Nakhl Gardani) is like a ceremony for the dead body of this heroic figure in Iran.