17 June 2011

Turning over a New Leaf?

I want to say right off the bat, the following post is not an endorsement of the car to which it refers.

In fact, if you read the earlier entry on donating your car to charity, you know that my perfect vision with regard to automobiles is a car-less life for myself.

With that said, I want to talk about this commercial for the Nissan Leaf. Actually most of the video is about the making of the commercial, but the commercial is tacked on to the end. Give it a watch, and then, continue reading below.

The commercial interests me for a number of reasons. First, I hope the Leaf is just a first step toward human's future with cars. (I have heard reports that more electric vehicles are on their way to the mainstream market, but honestly, I don't trust car companies on this one--they've moved the goalposts one too many times.) Yet I'll continue to hold a little optimism.

Another important point (one that is not made apparent by this commercial) is that Nissan, at least, is starting to talk about the impact of a car's whole life cycle. The company says it is already considering how to recycle the lithium batteries that power the Leaf. This is nice to hear because while carbon emissions are a big issue, pollution comes in many forms, and sustainability requires an examination of the whole picture.

Finally, the main reason the commercial caught my attention is its use of nature. Except for the very end, the only voices the viewer hears are from nature. Is this just another example of green washing, in which a company hides behind an environmental claim while making money and doing really very little to help the environment? I hope it isn't. I hope it's an example of a new mainstream way of thinking about our relationship with the planet.

Still, what's with making nature come to us? I mean that bear had to do all the hard work. And can we really connect with nature just by buying a car, especially considering the damage that act has done to the environment in the past?

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