Adelaide had more than its fair share of green thinking blue sky thinking this week with the Green Cities Festival, the Solar Cities Congress and hosting Professor Ross Garnaut who suggests that Australians should cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent. Great stuff and right up the Vision Thang that Mike Rann, the State Premier, loves to float without backing it up with much action.
Too bad somebody scheduled all this with the V8 Supercar Motorsport Festival to reinforce the sobering environmental messages from earlier in the week. As the correspondent in the Australian put rather eloquently.
The Clipsal 500 will fill the city's streets with fossil fuel laden ear shattering, petrol guzzling, green house gas emitting V8s for the next four days. Every litre of high octane juice provided to the monsters with deliver over 2kg of greenhouse gas at the other end.
I was reading earlier that the Clipsal had hired a firm to work out their carbon emissions for the event and some clever types were out all week measuring and evaluating. No doubt there will be a big tree order for somebody. Some of this kind of carbon offsetting seems a touch cynical. Why not just not have such a polluting event. Apparently even Ford here in Australia has seriously questioned the value of the V8 Racing Teams in an era when people are looking to buy more environmentally sensitive cars.
So my challenge to Mr Carbon Neutral SA (after I retire) Rann, how about thinking up some practical ways of cutting carbon emissions like converting the race to renewable energy only or just cancel it all together. You could hire a huge sound system to create the noise of the cars, which is the part that appeals to most people.
Only half serious here since supporting the Clipsal is a bit of a badge of courage here in South Australia and I may want to apply to become a citizen someday. It is one of the biggest events in South Australia and brings gazillions of dollars into the economy. My Australianness may be challenged by suggesting such a thing. Clearly I am exactly the type of person that Kevin Foley, the South Australian State Treasurer and Chief Headkicker doesn't want living here in South Australia. What next they may say? Ban the floats from the Christmas Pageant?
On a related topic, V8 branding is one of the few things that really get peoples juices flowing here in South Australia. Holden or Ford, Adelaide or Port Adelaide, the two AFL teams are the two big ones and they define you. Most of the people in our office are Holden Guys since Holden has a large manufacturing plant here in Elizabeth. Me being contrary am a Ford Guy, which is good as it will get up their noses with Ford dominating the weekends events. Nothing like sport (is motor racing a sport?) to get Aussies talking. The reason I think that it may be considered a sport is that it is covered on the sports programmes, and so must be sport.
And yes I have been to the Clipsal. I went last year and enjoyed the hospitality put on for our clients and the community focus of the event. Other than a short novelty factor however, you can keep the racing itself. I found it pretty boring pretty quickly.