A cow still had to to be sacrificed to make that leather car seat that adds such prestige to the automobile….
But young people, more than ever are less interested in cars, and more concerned about cleaner, safer and quieter environments. In question is the whole idea of urban road space, driver taxed space in exchange for the right of movement; the opposite view recognizes the social importance of the road as an exchange space, but less easily targetted by government as a tax source since the concept of social inclusion and access are not really quantifiable. Favoring public transport is certainly more equitable and discards part of the expensive problem of social status by which the poor spend a disproportionate amount of income to hold onto a vehicle. The basic idea is that mass public transit helps bring diverse groups of people together but the automobile isolates the driver and the communities and business spread out over the network.
It seems so ridiculous to hear Ford Motor promoting unblemished Scottish leather in its Lincoln cars, dressing up the luxury as thoroughly green and sustainable. The problem is not the health of the cow and its complexion, but the idea of the car in general….
(see link at end)…DETROIT — The Ford Motor Company was among the first clients of the Bridge of Weir Leather Company, whose hides appeared after 1911 in the Model T.
Leather from the Scottish company is currently used to make seat covers for several Lincoln models — a point frequently exploited by Lincoln’s advertising copywriters, who cite the hides’ freedom from “brand marks and other imperfections.”
Dale Wallace, sales manager of Bridge of Weir, was on the Lincoln stand Monday at the auto show to discuss the firm’s place in an industry that has been responsible for its share of pollution. According to Mr. Wallace, much of the leather used in automotive seating is sourced from underregulated slaughterhouses in Latin America, where improper waste disposal leads to groundwater contamination.
Bridge of Weir sources most of its hides, Mr. Wallace said, within a 60-mile radius, minimizing the amount of travel required to deliver them to the processing point. Making finished leather produces significant waste; Mr. Wallace said that an unfinished hide sheds nine-tenths of its weight during processing. Most leather companies landfill this waste, a practice that is expected to be prohibited in some markets as early as 2017.
Looking ahead, Bridge of Weir built a thermal energy plant at its headquarters, which treats the waste as raw material to create heat and steam to dry leather and heat water. The diversion of leather waste from the landfill saves 100,000 miles in truck journeys per year, the company said. In further savings, fat is separated from the waste and turned into biofuel. “We can produce more than 100 gallons an hour,” Mr. Wallace said. Theal waste product is mineral ash, which can be sold for use in the construction industry.
Bridge of Weir’s organic tanning process uses tree bark, which allows the copywriters for other brands who purchase the low-carbon leather, including Fisker, Volvo, Jaguar and Aston Martin, to say that the hides are fully recyclable.Read More:http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/low-carbon-car-leather-bridge-of-weir-makes-its-case-at-lincoln-stand/
….Its the logic of the Scottish Lowlands, and not the the bad and bawdy Highlands of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell’s Tour less than a generation after the Jacobite revolt in 1745.
Each year about three million vehicles are added to the total in Europe alone and the number of roads and total road mileage also increases. This is unsustainable. The usual option is to construct more infrastructure to handle the swelling fleet, but the costs at all levels is prohibitive and the congestion issue only seems to get worse. But, how to develop an option where people can have access to the merchandise and services they need without having to participate in the road culture folly?
(see link at end)…It is all but forgotten that for a brief moment at the beginning of the twentieth century the interurban trolley system was a rival to the automobile. Using articles in McClure’s, Munsey’s, and other popular magazines, Fotsch’s first chapter shows that Americans welcomed the trolley because it offered an escape from the unsanitary conditions associated with horse cars, was quieter that the train, and took riders to more places than the railroad ever did. In contrast to the anxiety-inducing city, the trolley promoted something that popular writers called “brain health.”
Why, then, is America covered with freeways rather than trolley lines? Fotsch thinks that part of the reason is that publicists for the automobile made a successful appeal to the mythology of small-town individualism. The trolley was often crowded–and often crowded with the poor inhabitants of immigrant neighborhoods. The automobile offered a sense of individual autonomy. It gave teenage boys something to tinker with and prepared them, said the magazine writers, for adult responsibility. Highway construction, moreover, seemed free of the political corruption that still plagued trolleys. The moment of balance between trolley and automobile was brief. It soon seemed clear to urban reformers that their real challenge was to realize the promise of the automobile. Read More:http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=13376