“Do you bike ride or take the bus to church?” a bike-riding friend asks.
“We drive.” I say. “Buses take too much time,” assuming she’ll commiserate about the inconvenient transit connections.
But she doesn’t.
“Too much time?” she scoffs. “We’re out of time, “ she hardens. “The earth is out of time.”
Hoping your eyes won’t glaze over, here’s more.
In the beginning
When human civilization began, the earth’s carbon atmosphere was 275 parts per million (the ratio of carbon molecules to all the other molecules in the atmosphere).
At the start of the 18th century, humans began to burn coal, gas, and oil to produce energy and well, stuff. At first Co2 levels rose slowly, then more quickly.
Today, the earth Co2 levels are 400 parts per million.
If we don’t reverse this rapid rise, we risk triggering a “tipping point” that mean irreversible changes to our earth’s climate.
Evidence of earth changes already happening:
Sea Level Rise http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/sealevel.html
Mosquitoes breading in new areas spreading malaria and dengue fever and possibly zika. http://climatenewsnetwork.net/global-warming-linked-to-spread-of-zika-virus/
Increased Extreme Weather
What you notice. Wind blowing hair away from your face, sun on your shoulder.
What you learn. To shop carefully, how much bulk fits in a small backpack — did you know that if you let the air out of a pre-bagged package of kale, it will fit in a shoulder pack?
How you feel. Alert! You focus on real stuff like bumps, gravel, and glass on the road.
Secret passages. Bikes fit when cars don’t. On a bike, you can ride through parks, down narrow one-way streets, and between cement-blocked passages.
How long it takes to bike rather than drive short distances. Biking to our neighborhood park takes 15 minutes to drive and about 20 to ride a bike.
And riding is becoming easier and safer. There are:
- More green bike lanes.http://www.mercurynews.com/traffic-old/ci_20567909/green-bike-lanes-spreading-across-bay-(
- Dedicated bike lanes http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/introducing-green-lanes-on-fell-and-oak-streets-in-san-francisco
- Light Rail stations provide bike boxes http://www.vta.org/getting-around/bicycle-ped
- Bike-hanging racks https://www.bart.gov/guide/bikes
- Racks on bus (Beware, only two per bus) http://www.vta.org/getting-around/bicycle-ped
- Share a Bikes http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=3908
So, while transit connections in our area are abysmal, and it was harsh to hear my friend scolding me for complaining about them, she got me thinking about using my time to ride a bike.
And what’s cool is the number of bike riders in my tiny community is growing. Here’s a tribute to all the people I know who commute to work, shop, parks, play and other places. It’s a shout to Tessa, Cat, Marshall, and Sophia, Richard, Deb, and Soph, Andrea, Frank, Elizabeth, Elena, and Jamie, Heather, Keith, Sarah, and Michelle, Melanie, John, Spencer, and Aiden, John, Marge, Zeke, and Jake, Mary Ann, Mateo, and Alyssa, Sebastian, Walter and Henry, and Doug, Alexander, Andy, and me, among many others.
Are we a movement? And if not, let’s start one. Now is the time.