Car Saves Trees

Peter and I considered it almost immoral to sell my old car to someone else. Sure, it still ran, but I’m convinced it ran mostly out of loyalty to me, and my almost constant praying and urging for it to go on. I had this confirmed this morning when I wanted to use to for a last few drives before it’s collected. After all, it still had some gas in it, and, as I had been convinced was the case, it still ran. As I have done for many years, I put Neil in it and headed off to Neil’s school. Within about 2 blocks, it nearly stalled out 3 times, and seemed to come back to life only in response to my plea to keep going. Had I really been running it like this all along? Or was it just telling me, in its own way, reminding me how eager it was for me to move on with a new car? In any case, we had to return home and complete the journey in my new car.

When Lima Towing revealed themselves as a den of crooked thieves, Peter was on the verge on donating his car to the USO, and told me the process seemed unbelievably easy. I liked that idea, but I knew that there were a lot of non-profit organizations that were eager for car donations, and I thought it would be neat to find one that suited my interests and concerns. Yet, it was a little harder than I thought it would be. My favorite art museums were only set up for cash, as was the California Parks Foundation, which preserves and maintains the wonderful beaches I love, and some particularly terrific parks, such as Big Basin and the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The organization that most closely matched my interests and had the ability to turn an old car into cash for themselves was the Sempervirens Fund.

I had a few reservations. For instance, the Sempervirens Fund doesn’t actually maintain park land; rather it buys privately-owned undeveloped redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains and deeds them to the appropriate public agency, which is then responsible for making the land accessible to hikers and backpackers. As much as I love nature, we have lots and lots of parkland in the Bay Area, and not enough space for affordable housing. But on the other hand, the Santa Cruz Mountains aren’t really well suited to housing, and the owners of such forests are probably better off with money they can use to develop land elsewhere.

And then, there was the environmentalist factor. It may surprise some people, but Peter and I used to give money to the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, respectively. That was, until both organizations were co-opted by loonies. The last time I checked, the Sierra Club was screaming for money to save drowning polar bears; and Greenpeace was sending out people to tie themselves to Japanese whaling ships. So I had to check out the Sempervirens Fund. They were blessedly focused: they buy redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains and give them over to public use. Period. It’s up to you to add happy banana slugs, clean air, and dramatic vistas to the proposition, and I’m comfortable with that.

So I called the Sempervirens Fund. They weren’t as on-the-spot as the USO was about the car donation, but they could get it taken away within a week. While Peter ached to get my old car gone, I eventually figured I’d had that car for nearly 18 years, so I could hang on to it a bit longer to have it turn into money for an organization that suited my interests the best. But it also explains why my car was still around for me to take one last sputtering drive in it today.

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