Ask Alexandra – August 2006
I saw you recently in the movie Who Killed the Electric Car. I’m very impressed with your dedication to the cause, enough to get arrested. What guts. I read on your site that you are an EMT. How did you come upon the decision to get certified? And is there some way in which you are applying that certification? One more question: Such nice personal/family photos, but who is Jonathan? He looks like he could be a brother (same nose as you and your twin).
(born in 1963 as well)
I have been a certified Emergency Medical Technician since 1989. I took the course because my twin, Caroline, was a firefighter who encouraged me to because she felt the information could be very useful. I had taken a CPR course in high school and when I was 18 I did the Heimlich Maneuver on someone who was choking, so I know that medical emergencies can arise anywhere at any time. I definitely recommend to EVERYONE (especially those with kids or elderly parents) to learn CPR (call your local Red Cross or the American Heart Association to get information on the course nearest you). Although I have never put my EMT knowledge to much use, I have been recertifying regularly since, most recently this spring. I have a fantasy of someday using it in the field, with Doctors without Borders or something, but who knows. I do know that I am nervous about being in a situation where I am called upon to help someone because I am worried I will misdiagnose.
Jonathan is my brother! He is a firefighter in Oregon, and a wonderful person.
I am so glad you saw Who Killed the Electric Car?.
Thank you for writing,
While many are trying to figure out how to pay for rising gas & energy prices, I agree with you that we should find alternative energy sources. You have inspired me to acquire an eletric car. Critcs say that we are only fooling ourselves by driving electric vehicles. After all, we still need oil (at least indirectly) to power the vehicle. However, it is a start & will save gas coosumption (not to mention the positive environmental benefits.
My question is: How long do you believe it will be before an affordable electric car is available?
Finally, I have enjoyed your recent acting roles (especially “Gospel Of Deceit”).
Thank you for your courage & leadership in the pro environment & anti-war causes.
Actually, we don’t need oil, even indirectly, to power an electric vehicle. An EV gets its energy from a power plant, but only 3% of those plants run on oil, and that number will probably go down as gas prices go up. An EV is emission free, not pollution free: the power plants pollute unless they use solar or wind, so an important goal is to make sure that any new electricity plants built are NOT coal and that they are solar or wind powered. For more information on this, see my response to the first question in July 2006’s Ask Alexandra section.
I predict 5 years until the auto manufacturers make an electric vehicle whose price is comparable to its gasoline counterpart. Right now only small, independent auto companies are making EVs, which means the cars are more expensive, but several big companies have said they are working on a plug in hybrid which could be available by 2008. A plug in hybrid has a full electric range of up to 60 miles, and then the fuel tank kicks in automatically if you go farther (the average American only drives 34 miles a day, so most drivers will hardly ever use their fuel tank). The new lithium ion batteries that allow a full electric car to go 250 miles per charge are more expensive than their predecessor, the nickel metal hydride batteries, so that adds a lot to price. The main problem is that at first, as with anything, not as many cars will be made, so the cost of each will be higher. It is a bit of a catch-22, as not as many people will buy the cars if they are more expensive, but the price cannot come down until there is great demand! I encourage anyone who can afford a full electric car or a plug-in hybrid to put their money where there mouth is and purchase one. Buying one car really means you are helping the cars to become more affordable, therefore you are in effect helping sell many more in the future!
Converting an old gas car to electric is less expensive than buying a new EV or plug in hybrid. If the vehicle’s body is in good shape, but its motor and transmission are shot, you are giving the car a new lease on life! There are several companies that will convert your gas car to electric, or provide you with a kit to do it yourself. Go to www.pluginamerica.com for more information on this.
For those who cannot afford an EV, but you still want to do something, please go to www.pluginamerica.com . There is a lot of information on the home page on what you can do to support this technology.
I would be interested to know what you end up doing, Mike, in terms of an EV, so please let me know! Thank you so much for your letter, and for your kind words.
Dear Alexandra Paul.
The first time I saw you act was in the Lifetime movie “A Woman Hunted” I love that movie. It was an inspiring story. After playing the part of a rape survivor, what did you learn? Did your views of sexual assault change at all? Are in fact a survivor yourself or did you just play one in the movie?
I am so lucky to have never been the victim of any violent crime. I know that rape and sexual abuse are more common than most people realize, and I know several people who have suffered a lot because they were victims of these crimes. Often they don’t even know the extent of the damage from these traumas because it is all too painful to face, and denial helps them get through each day, but it affects their life in subtle, eroding ways anyway. Just shooting the rape scene was disturbing, so obviously it is devastating on so many levels in real life. My many years of therapy have taught me that the first step to healing is facing the trauma by talking about it and writing about it and sometimes facing one’s attacker and molester. All of that is a challenge, but one’s life will be so much better for it, for sure.