I just finished reading No Impact Man. On loan from the library, it languished on my nightstand for two weeks before I decided to read it. Even with the due date looming, I still picked it up and put it down several times before finally struggling to the finish.
Why did I have such a hard time with this book?
It started with the title, No Impact Man. No Impact? Really? Is that possible in our modern society? Is No and Never just too extreme?
I’m idealistic by nature. I’m all for changing my habits to benefit the planet and live more sustainably. I long for the simplicity of my youth and wish my kids could have an equally carefree childhood. Riding a banana seat bike down the middle of the street, helmet-less and barefoot and without a care in the world—that’s livin’. Tim and I are doing our best to raise our family with simple ideals in mind. But we know that all or nothing is not realistic these days, if for no other reason than it being too tough a message for most people to accept.
Wouldn’t we being doing more good if we got people to embrace a sustainable moderation message?
I know book titles (and blog titles for that matter) must be catchy to entice people to buy/read them. Shock sells. And people are probably buying the book because they are intrigued by No Impact. “Somewhat Less of an Impact” isn’t as exciting. Why else would Colin’s ass cleaning routine (some sort of secret routine devoid of toilet paper) be the question most interviewers asked him over the course of his project? Maybe people want to read about extremes.
Fine, but I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to live that way. Continue reading
A few weeks ago Tim and I attended a highly inspiring talk by Alex Steffen at Town Hall.
We had hoped to go with Julian of Totcycle (family bike folks represent!), but that fell through. For Julian and others who couldn’t make it, check out a few of these to get a flavor. Alex is also the keynote speaker at three of the major events during the Copenhagen summit, so if you are in the neighborhood…
The entire evening was magical: introduction by mayor-elect Mike McGinn in his first post-election appearance, the inspiring and motivating talk by Alex, yummy beer in eco keg cups from Fremont Brewing, followed by hop-lubricated conversation with like-minded Seattleites interested in changing the city. Plus all of this bookended with rides to and from downtown with my favorite cycling buddy.
We left Town Hall filled with hope for positive changes in Seattle. We all have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to grow Seattle into a dense sustainable city designed with people in mind.
How are we going to do this? Continue reading
Posted in bigger than here, bikes, Human Powered Politics, neighborhoods, sustainability
Tagged Alex Steffen, beer, change, density, sustainability, Town Hall Seattle, urbanism, Worldchanging
You’ve heard Anne and I prattle on about bike racks. They aren’t where you need them. They’re ugly. And even when they are in the right location, they need more capacity. Blah, blah, blah. Maybe that’s what prompted my buddy Bret to tip us off to a bike rack design contest in his neighborhood.
It seems those inspiring folks at Sustainable Ballard have come to our rescue with a contest to outfit key Ballard locales with locally designed, handmade, artisan bike racks. We’re already fans of Undriving Ballard, and Undriver License holders and can’t wait to see what develops here. As of now, racks are planned near the Ballard Library, Ballard Ave near the Sunday Market, Bergen Place, the Locks, and Market Street.
Posted in bikes, neighborhoods, Rack that Bike, seattle, sustainability
Tagged ballard, bike racks, bikes, design, seattle, sustainability, sustainable ballard
I opened my Gray Lady this morning to find I wasn’t the only one smitten by the bike. This time, it’s the Times with an early November Valentine for our neighbors to the South. It is a good read and don’t have a lot to add, other than:
- I’m Jealous: Why can’t my city do better? Why can’t we live in Portland?
- My friends know how to get to me — four of them sent me this article.
- The article is pretty shallow. The article emphasizes high-end frame builders and how Nike and Columbia sell cycling products, but lacks info about the large number of cool shops, amazing resources like BikePortland.org, and the other businesses who cater to regular cycling folk.
- It’s the Times’ most-emailed article. Hey, you crazy politicians take that. The nation is indeed interested in bikes as modern transportation alternatives.
- The PDX buzz is nearing an unsustainable level and I’m concerned about a hype fallout. I remember when all the college kids were moving to Seattle in the early 90s because of the music (and later, the dot.com scene). I got so sick and tired of meeting people from Virginia whom had moved to Seattle because they heard it was cool. And then they decided it wasn’t, but hadn’t got around to moving to the new IT town.
At least we had jobs here, back in the day. I think the reality of BYOE (Bring Your Own Employment) in Portland might not be so kind to this generation of hype gypsies.
- If you think I’m dead wrong on #5, keep in mind #1. Envy isn’t always fair or rational or …
Posted in alternative transportation, Human Powered Politics, PDX, sustainability
Tagged bikes, economy, envy, jealousy, love, lust, news, PDX, politics, portland, sustainability, transportation