Las vegas is from a different world

I've just written a wrap-up of my thoughts about WWDC. I don't usually include much about my own life here but I thought I would make a bit of an exception here and expand a little bit on my trip to Las Vegas.

San Francisco was clearly different from much of the rest of the world. There is a technology boom (or bubble) going on and everyone you meet is somehow related to the technology industry. It was a vibrant and exciting place different from anywhere else I've been. I would love to go back there sometime soon. 

After the conference I went to Las Vegas for a few days to meet up with a couple of friends. Just like San Francisco, Las Vegas is a vibrant and exciting place that is different from anywhere else I've ever been. But it is like being on a different planet rather than just a different city. 

In most of the world, people are aware that climate change is real. The world is getting hotter, the climate is changing, severe weather events are becoming more severe and more frequent. Much of the world is looking at ways of reducing carbon emissions, even if governments have generally got their heads in the sand.

At the current rate of progress the world is going to be hotter in the near future than it is now.

Anyway, Las Vegas seems to have developed in a world where man-made climate change is not real. In San Francisco, I was amazed by how many Tesla cars I saw. Electrics cars may not be the future but they are becoming a viable alternative the gasoline-powered cars. And, given a carbon-free method of electricity production, they are probably better for the environment than petrol powered cars.

In Las Vegas I didn't see a single Tesla car. Not one.

Instead, it was like going back to the 1960's, before the oil shocks of the 1970's, where the cars were all enormous, inefficient and American. There were stretch limo cars, stretched limo Hummers, enormous stretched limo vans and just normal American-sized SUVs. The roads were all at least six-lanes wide. This was not a pedestrian friendly city. The city felt at times like the alternative reality shown in Back to the Future II.

Also, a trip to the Hoover Dam made me aware of the drought facing the whole of the western United States. I was aware that California was facing its worst drought for years, after four years with little rain. I was unaware that the Colorado River was facing a fifteen year drought and the level of Lake Mead is at the lowest it has ever been. Lake Mead is getting close to levels at which the Hoover Dam will cease to produce power. 

There are so many ways that Las Vegas is different to the rest of the world. I'm sure it is not the only city in the United States where large gas-guzzling cars are the norm, but to a foreigner, it seems like the worst of the worst. 

Despite that, I'd still like to go back one day, since it's like visiting a theme park from out of this world.