From: some blogger
May I call you Angie? It’s just that I feel so close to you now that I have one of your Barbie Dolls. I was going to give it to my daughter, but since she’s not into them and they did such a flattering job on those thunder thighs I thought I’d keep it for myself.
Anyway, about those cars. I think it’s a great idea to give everyone here in Germany €2,500 to scrap their old car if they buy a new one. Prop up Opel through the back door, get those junkers off the road, a little jiggery-pokery by the dealer and maybe with a bit of luck you’ll see the ol’ beater again on your travels after it’s been sold off for a profit in Eastern Europe or Africa. We’ve thought of doing it, but even though our car is about 15 years old, we figure it’s good for another 100,000 km if we treat it right, so why bother?
Instead, I thought that since I’m in desperate need of a new bicycle to get to and from work, you might extend the favour to cyclists by giving us a few bucks too?
I love my old bike, Ange. We go back 15 years to my Hong Kong days, but it’s on its third set of front and back sprockets, the front and rear bearings once, two sets of new gears, brakes, cables, rims, spokes, tires – the works. The only thing left from the original bike is the frame, the forks, the handlebars and a few scratches.
Since the new bike I lust for is going to cost between €1,500 and €2,000, I figure if you’re throwing €2,500 of my tax money at people willing to spend €15,000 to €20,000, we could just lop off a zero on both sides and both of us can go home happy.
I know what your thinking. You’re rolling those sweet, droopy eyes that look so good on television and thinking: yeah, right. Why should you care about cyclists? We don’t buy that high-tax gas, so we don’t contribute anything to the German state. We don’t provide workers with high-paying jobs, we’re always whining for more bike paths, and when we get home we drip sweat on the carpet.
But I figure I’ve saved the planet about five tonnes of carbon over the past decade by refusing to buy a car. In fact, I’ve probably saved it about 5,000 tonnes because I haven’t chartered a helicopter to get to work each day. When you think about it, I could sell you carbon credits for that trip to Greenland you made a while back to traipse around on the ice and say: It’s melting! It’s melting! Let’s do something!
So whaddya say, Angie babe? Instead of caving into the unions and the auto lobby and propping up the last legs of an industry that only holds us hostage to this unsustainable petroleum- and metal-addicted vampire economy, how about living up to the Germans’ worldwide reputation as people who actually care for the environment and help out those of us who choose the most sensible form of transportation so we can do just that? I promise to donate the money to research into alternative forms of energy.
Ian in Hamburg