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Old 07-25-2008, 01:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Why I ecomod. (warning - deep stuff)

In the last week I have been presenting at an Electric Vehicles meeting and a Hybrid Car Show.

I have degreased a forklift motor and lugged it into an economy car. I built a rear cover for my pickup truck and now I am driving around with my engine off most the time. I have edited several videos on all these things I have been working on.

And now I am up all night thinking about these things and typing to you about it.

So what drives us to do this? What compels me do these things people consider "odd"?

What drives me to ecomod?

Because I can. It's something I can do.

Too many of us feel out of control of our lives. We work jobs we hate, but can't quit, because we need the health insurance.

We have bad relationships with our spouse, with our families, and just can't learn to change.

We vote for our leaders, only to find our voices not heard.

I have found that when I have felt the worst in my life, it came down to control, to power, and that I didn't have any of it.

Growing up, there really were times when I went hungry and cold. Times when I was abandoned. My adolesence included more psychiatric drugs than I would care to admit.

Those were the bad times. The times where there was nothing I could do, no matter how hard I tried.

My wife's mother died of cancer six weeks before our wedding.
When her father was dying of cancer two years later, I did something about it. I built a camper.

No joke. There wasn't anything I could do about the cancer. But I could put some of my energy into doing something, anything. I built something I had never done before, my self esteem. My ability to create. To make something beautiful while the world crashed around me.

My wife loves the camper. It's cute and gets attention. Everyone always tells me what a great job I did on it, even if I see every scratch and seam and mistake on it. I still feel good every time we take it out.

I'd still rather have her parents though.

When I was a kid, we had lots of farm fields and marshland. Now, it's all filling in with subdivision developments. Farmers get old, they can't make any money, their sons don't want to take over. The farm gets sold to developers..

The wetlands get filled in. Corporate parks go up in their place. We value the concrete buildings more than the sliver of green and blue they took the place of. The rivers are still too high from the floods we had a month ago. Some houses still are underwater. Too bad we didn't value the wetlands more.

It's too late in life for me to stand around and do nothing anymore. We all have to do something. It's too easy to say that "that's just how things are"

That's not good enough.

Our cars aren't good enough. Our energy use isn't good enough. Our food supply isn't good enough.

Mod your car, put in solar, plant a garden. Just do something!

I've got my electric bill down to $30 a month. I ride a Zero-Gasoline vehicle I built myself. I am running my own business. Maybe not doing a great job with it, but I pay the mortgage.

I really feel I am finally doing something with my life. I try to teach about what I know when I can, not that I'm an expert.

We're all in this together.

Let's keep building, keep helping, keep healing.

And yes, I will Keep Modding.

-Ben

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Old 07-25-2008, 02:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That is a hell of a story. Love it!!!
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Very good story, and well said at that.

I too feel good to be doing something more than making something that benefits not just me, but everyone. The less gas I use, the better off we all are. Its a great feeling.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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great story, very moving.

i grew up on a dairy farm (in upstate NY), and also grew 95% of our own food. now i'm on a 1 acre plot in a subdivision just outside of town (in AR). i also long for the days when i could look out over 100+ acres and see the results of hard work and dedication. it use to be work-->food. now its work-->get paid-->go shopping-->buy food-->hope it isn't poison.

now that i have bought my own home and fenced in the (3/4 acre) backyard, its time to "ecomod" my backyard and get some of that old feeling back.

while i know any difference i make is fairly minuscule on a worldwide level, i always remember that i am ridding the world of 1 overweight, lazy, fat-guzzling, pre-subway jared with an equally fat/lazy wife, eating nothing but mc-d's for breakfast #1 and taco-bell for all other meals, driving 2, 8mpg guzzlers, and trying to "fix" their lifestyle with magic pills.

wow, thats one heck of a run-on sentence, haha.

life is what you make it. so why not be the "odd" person, and enjoy every waking moment?
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
EV test pilot
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
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Electric Cycle - '81 Kawasaki KZ440
90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

S10 - '95 Chevy S10
90 day: 30.48 mpg (US)

Electro-Metro - '96 Ben Nelson's "Electro-Metro"
90 day: 129.81 mpg (US)

The Wife's Car - Plug-in Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Raine View Post
while i know any difference i make is fairly minuscule on a worldwide level, i always remember that i am ridding the world of 1 overweight....
Small differences are all we can really do. But if we can influence many others to do the same, that's something really big.

Just imagine if everyone made their fairly minuscule difference!
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My wife and I have come on hard times lately. She lost her job, my job doesn't pay as much as my previous one. The mortgage never stops, and most of the other bills just keep getting bigger.

By hypermiling, I can save $30-50 in fuel every month - real savings, that helps keep the books in the black.

On top of that, I'm reducing my impact on the planet. I've been vegetarian for 17 years, and was vegan for 8 of those - a big part of that was to reduce my impact on the planet.

I too have the "builder's bug" - when I feel like I've accomplished nothing during the day, I go to the garage and build something - a sail rig for our canoe, a recumbent bicycle, shelving units, fiberglass pontoons for said sailing canoe, cradle trailer and hitch so I can tow the canoe behind my bike... You get the idea. The more eccentric, the better.
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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doing

Thanks Ben,your words resonated throughout me.I've been fortunate to grow up amidst doers.And I never knew people couldn't do.And I had one of those epiphanies,where I realized,that if I wanted things to be better in my lifetime,I better -hit or get off the pot and do my part,if I ever expected to see anything.Waiting on everyone else to do for me wasn't working.I feel at home at ecomodder.I feel like there's kindred spirits here and I'm indebted to all the doers,'cause they help keep the fire lit.You may never know how important it is to me to know you're all out there.I salute you!
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I grew up in lower-middle class suburbia. We recycled before there was a municipal recycling program; it was tough to find places to take stuff. We had a garden and compost heap forever on our 1/4 (1/8?) acre plot of space. My mother reuses everything from plastic baggies to aluminum foil. She has cardboard boxes older than I am.

It just started to make sense to me about "why" we did all this a few years ago in school when I actually paid attention to the world around me. I loved the fact that my first project at my first job out of college was to replace reams of paper wasted every day with a digital interface.

It doesn't make sense to base your economy on a limited resource that gets utilized in an environmentally damaging way. Until I can get/make myself an electric vehicle charged by solar panels on my roof, I'll do everything I can to reduce my impact.

It helps that I'm a "doer." If I find at any time that I don't have anything to do, I feel lost and jump right into something/anything just to be doing. I ran into a rough patch a couple years ago where I had a whole lot of nothing to do and I very nearly failed at life then. I need to do, and this here is a very helpful doing.

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