A Person with a Bike: Is it Enough?

I’ll declare it official. I rode in today, did not injure myself in the slightest, and figured out what all those gears are for: now, I am a person with a bike. My nice Biking Person even fully secured my crate, so I’m in business! Specifically, the business of riding my bike around for no money. I’ll keep it up- and declare a new (goal for the month) now. I’m going to work on cutting down on plastics: getting and using my own grocery bags, examining food packaging, finding recycling options, perhaps even committing some crafts- whatever I can think of (or YOU can think of. Tell me! I’ll do it!) to not have to throw away plastic stuff this month. I use the term “month” loosely, of course. I am aiming for “life” here- but I’ll start with this month.

This week, The Economist’s environmental topics column green.view is on the Prince of Monaco and his environmental efforts (one example: environmental taxes on the annual yacht show: oh, the life!). But he is being criticized for not having done more already. Skeptical Columnists: “If you care so much about the environment, Prince Albert, why aren’t you offsetting the entire country’s carbon outputs and being the first country to go carbon neutral? Kvetch Moan Judge.” Can princes, or even people, who care about the environmental impacts of their actions still do non-environmental things? Or do they have to abandon all unsustainable ways of life immediately and huddle in fields for warmth, moving every 15 minutes so as to not disturb the plants beneath? I bet you know what I think the answer is. An earlier green.view presents the arguments of the people who think that population reduction is the only way to save the planet. Scary, hunh! Both of these columns go on to point out that a balance between humans and nature must be struck (and that rising population is not tied to increased environmental destruction, so we don’t need to kill anyone off). Moderation is a good answer- it’s worked since at least the Greeks. Our current mode of life is unsustainable, yes. Changing our lifestyles and developing the technologies that reduce our impacts on the earth is going to take time, and much more combined effort than Monaco raising yacht taxes.

Some groups are encouraging lifestyle changes by taxing each other, and trading their own carbon credits in groups of 15 or so. It’s a start. People are encouraged by group meetings, “confession”, and occasionally fines to keep their emissions below a certain level, and to reduce them steadily. So yes, Skeptical Columnists, we’re not all sustainable yet, but take a (short) cold shower and change out your own lightbulbs (CFLS, please!). Then start encouraging concrete, discrete changes, lead by example, laud good faith efforts, and stop throwing the first stone at your own glass house because of the log in your eye. And Monaco will get there.

One last thing: Monaco can’t be the first carbon neutral country, since The Vatican already is. Thanks to a donation from Hungary, their carbon emissions for the next few years will be offset with the planting of a forest. The Pope is teaching respect for the environment as a gift from God. He’s also focusing attention on the issue since environmental changes disproportionately impact the world’s poor: his efforts are paying off in the Philippines. Talk about leading by example.

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3 Responses to “A Person with a Bike: Is it Enough?”


  1. 1 Kestrel October 16, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Gooooooooooooo Popeman!

  2. 2 Jaynee October 17, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Whoo hoo! Your very best post yet. You’re on a roll, baby! Interestingly, I just sent you “The World Clock” in a gmail tonight. Please don’t take it too seriously, as I would hate for it to alter your current stream of consciousness, or Monaco’s for that matter.


  1. 1 Sunday Special: On Earth, Religion, and Politics « Virescent Trackback on January 6, 2008 at 7:01 pm

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