Sustainable Automobility

Sustainable Automobility

Understanding the Car as a Natural System

Paul Nieuwenhuis

If we are part of nature, then so is everything we make. This unique book explores this notion using the example of the car, how it is made and used and especially how we relate to it, with a view to creating a more sustainable automobility.

Chapter 1: Introduction: a natural history of the car

Paul Nieuwenhuis

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, management and sustainability, environment, corporate social responsibility, ecological economics

Extract

If you are expecting a conventional academic book about the car industry, you are likely to be disappointed, so - to paraphrase a Dutch expression - you may as well unhook here. Instead, this is to some extent an account of a personal journey, although it does occasionally stray into territory that may be recognizable to an academic - that is, after all, my background. The problem I have is that I am both a car enthusiast - a 'petrol head' if you like - and an environmentalist - a 'tree-hugger'. These two inclinations are, on the face of it, a challenge to reconcile. Yet, that is what I have been attempting to achieve over the past twenty-five years or so. In the process I have become what one of my colleagues describes as 'a philosopher of the car industry'. This industry tends to be one of doers rather than thinkers; philosophers are therefore thin on the ground in the automotive industry, and this is increasingly a problem. As a society we are facing major issues, and the car has often been identified as a large part of the problem. Business as usual is not really going to address this, yet many are incapable of conceiving of a car industry other than the one we have today.