John stood nervously in the dock. The judge peered sternly at him over the rim of his spectacles.

“John Coombes, you are charged with endangering the environment. How do you plead?”

“Not guilty Your Honour.”

The prosecutor arose and prowled over to John like a stalking leopard.

“Mr Coombes, did you purchase an electric car on the 29 September?”

“I did,” John replied.

“Were you aware of the high cost of battery production, the human cost of extracting the essential battery metals Lithium and Cobalt from the ground? Are you aware too that heavier electric cars do more damage to our roads and infrastructure?”

Ashen faced, John could hardly mumble a response before the barrister pointed at him.

“No, I didn’t think so. Your act was totally selfish, the pursuit of lower personal cost with no consideration for the environment.

“No further questions Your Honour.” He sat down with a smug expression.

John’s advocate stood, smiled reassuringly at John and spoke in a measured voice.

“My learned friend makes excellent points.”

”However,” he went on, “my client’s electric car makes zero CO2 emissions unlike fossil fuel equivalents. Consequently, there are significantly less pollutants in the air which are not only a major cause of global warming but also cause large numbers of hospital admissions a year, a drain on our NHS.”

“Lithium extraction and cobalt mining is an issue, particularly in the Congo but scientists are investigating Iron and Silicon as alternatives, both plentiful, affordable and easier to extract.”

The advocate turned to the judge, his voice now strong and assertive.

“That, Your Honour, is my client’s defence. He would like cleaner air for us all and to do his bit to reduce global warming. If we don’t follow his example, there may not be a Congo or even this court room in the future.”

The judge paused and delivered his verdict.

“New technology may bring negative impacts and we must try to understand whether the good will ultimately outweigh the bad; it’s always a question of balance. In this case I find the defendant not guilty, case dismissed.”

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

Nicely written story, Julian. The courtroom setting is original and the comparison between the negative and positive effects of running electric vehicles is an interesting one. Nicely done.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Julian, welcome to Voice.Club. You cleverly introduced the pros and cons of electric cars in a unique setting. Well done.
Seems like every solution to the climate crisis has some kind of negative impact…sadly.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

I reread your wonderful short fiction again, Julian and noticed a tiny mistake. You wrote, ““No, I didn’t think so. Your act was totally selfish, the pursuit of lower personal cost with no consideration for the environment.” “No further questions Your Honour.”  According to MLA, when one speaker’s dialogue extends to more than one paragraph, employ an opening quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph. However, use a closing quotation mark… Read more »

Reply to  Margarida Brei
1 month ago

Good catch, Margarida. Somehow we missed that in our review, even though we’ve outlined that selfsame rule in our list of common errors. We have corrected it, so it is fine now, Avatar Julian Many thanks to Margarida for her excellent eyes and knowledge of complex rules.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago

You are making a strong case for the environmental protection, Julian. To use a courtroom situation is a great idea and you are using its possibilities in an excellent way and with a perfect vocabulary, although the limited format makes it difficult to take it out to its full extent.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

 Welcome to the voice club, Julian. Your first story is brilliant, and the setting is unique. You demonstrated well the negative and positive effects of the E-car cleverly. Very interesting. I love it. Well done. 

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 month ago

I do love a courtroom story with all the different arguments being put forward and your story certainly did this, Julian. An enjoyable and informative read.

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
1 month ago

I love the court setting of the story. Indeed, new technology should be weighed considering the long-term effect.

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