Just the other day, I was thinking, how can I affect change while living in Taiwan. There are not a lot of marches or rallys I could join, nor would the federal government take me seriously, as I’m not even a citizen of this country. Then it occurred to me that writing to the mayor very likely could affect some type of change, as I have heard from others that his office has personally responded to their phone calls and letters. As such, I wrote this letter to the mayor the other day and mailed it to his office on Monday. I have yet to hear back but will let you know when I do.
If anyone wants to copy the letter or send a version of your own, I highly encourage you to do so.
I am writing you this letter today to strongly encourage the government in Taipei to implement a program requiring local residents to switch from gas powered scooters, to electric scooters. If correctly implemented over the next 5 years, this plan could drastically reduce the amount of pollution in Taipei’s air. Although electric scooters still require electricity to operate, electricity is significantly cheaper, cleaner and better for the oceans, as there is no possibility of oil leakage from barges importing oil into Taiwan.
I have spoken with many Taiwanese people about the environment, and the biggest concern that comes up in Taipei is that of air quality. When people are asked to identify the causes of this air pollution, every single person says “cars and scooters”.
The plan I propose, would include a monetary incentive (perhaps NT$500 -2000 rebate on the purchase of a new electric scooter) for people to trade in their old gas scooters for an electric scooter. This would encourage people to purchase the newly required electric scooters. Further, the traded in old gas scooters could then be refurbished by mechanics or the government to provide poorer residents with a cheaper electric alternative to a brand new electric scooter.
As the standard of living in Taipei and Taiwan is increasing, people are more and more frequently purchasing new scooters. As such, implementing this plan over a 5 year period would give residents a long enough time frame that, when in the market to buy a new scooter, they could easily make the choice to purchase an electric scooter alternative instead of purchasing a gas scooter.
Recently a number of car companies, including Nissan and Tesla Motors have created fully electric cars that are coming out on the market in 2010. If this is possible, then surely it would be possible to promote the sale of electric scooters which already exist on the market, and are currently used in China.
I have noticed a lot of changes happening in Taipei that make me very happy to be a part of the community. I am very pleased with the new legislation preventing smoking inside buildings, am excited about the great local support for Taipei Car Free Day, and about the growing use of the riverside bike paths. Further the new bike path on Dunhua Rd encourages me to think that the local government is trying to cut back on cars in Taipei. I think these are all wonderful programs to have implemented, and hope that the Taipei government continues to help the city to grow to be prosperous, clean and environmentally conscious.