Saturday, 18 April 2015

Bicycle: Charkha of Anti-Global Warming Movement

Bicycle: the Charkha of Climate Conservation

A fairly large proportion of us agree that taking concrete measures to combat global warming is an idea whose time has come. I feel public opinion on this issue is currently like a super-saturated solution where crystallization is eminently possible, but is not happening for want of exciting thought-leadership.

There is no dearth of good ideas floating around as to how we can reduce energy consumption and fuel combustion. This is a point that many of my fellow-bloggers have made.

There are a multiplicity of views as to what overall direction to take, which is causing some confusion. I would like to simplify things by submitting that Climate Change is caused primarily by technologies based on combustion-based energy — primarily thermal-generated electricity and combustion-engines of vehicles. And so I believe that the way forward is to choose technologies that minimise dependence on combustion for their day-to-day running.

I repeat: We need to rebuild our systems and economies around technologies that are not dependent on combustion of fuels.

Our challenge at this point in history is to provide thought-leadership that will enable this broad direction to be converted into a sustainable action.

Firstly, why do we need an emblem?

Emblems help in this regard because a picture is worth a thousand words. In the days of theIndependence Movement, the Charkha and Khadi acted as emblems that enabled crystallization of the Independence Movement around the concept of self-reliance.

Similarly, riding a bicycle whenever one can and wearing a T-shirt/shirt with a bicycle logo on it can be a key to creating a movement, especially if the leaders of the movement themselves are seen doing so BEFORE everyone else gets on the bandwagon.

Secondly, why the bicycle?
What does it symbolize?

1)      Balance and continuous re-alignment in many senses of these terms. Humankind now faces the continuous challenge to choose sustainable technology with mimimal adverse implications as we move into the future.

2)      Willingness to use ones own energy in a smart, efficient way. Human power instead of external power. The thin tracks that a bicycle leaves symbolizes a minimal carbon footprint and zero combustion for running.

3)      Something that is immediately doable for many of us, and for our near and dear ones.

4)      Wholesome, childlike fun. Many of us have good childhood memories associated with riding the bicycle, and would like to enjoy that state of childlike joy again. It is time for us to actively seek that state of joy again.

5)      Healthy activity with family and friends. We need to help people discover  the pleasure of one another's company, which doesn't require a lot of money.

6)      Sustainable progress with good speedcaring for the safety of pedestrians, giving employment to large numbers of the poor in our own neighborhoods for maintaining it.

7)      People-friendly diversion of existing infrastructure. Creating bicycle lanes on existing roads to facilitate the environment-friendly cyclist, giving him some preference over the motorist.

8)     Self-generated & self-sustaining momentum. Unlike petroleum-driven vehicles, bicycles can coast along nicely under their own momentum. This is an important characteristic that our Climate Conservation movement should have.

Key points for us to apply our mind is:

Are we willing to adopt the bicycle as an emblem and do what it takes to popularize it, and make it attain an emblematic status?

Are we willing to take our awareness to the next level -- Action?

Are we conscious of our historical responsibility for building a popular movement with a momentum of its own? Do we agree about the need for such a movement?

 Awareness + Leadership + Emblem Popular Movement + Sustainable Action 
 Please think it over.


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