Quaker Biker

As I wrote yesterday, I’m beginning to work on plans to promote bicycling.  Since links to this blog appear in several places, many readers don’t know me, so here is a brief history.

When I arrived in Indianapolis in 1971, an Iowa farm boy, I was appalled by the clouds of auto exhaust I had to ride through on my bicycle (this was before catalytic converters).  Although I did have a couple of used cars, I was never comfortable with that.  When one was involved in an accident nearly forty years ago, I decided to see if I could return to a carless life.  That has worked out very well for me, and I haven’t had a personal automobile since.  Environmental causes have been a focus of my environmental/social justice work as a Quaker.  I was an Action Leader in the Keystone Pledge of Resistance, and very involved with our local efforts to try to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I am retiring at the end of this month, and have been listening to the Spirit, to discern what I am being led to do next.  My home Quaker meeting, Bear Creek, is in the country, two miles north of the small town of Earlham, Iowa.  Over the years Bear Creek Friends have worked to reduce their fossil fuel use.  But there are obviously greater challenges in a rural environment, with no public transportation available.

I will now be facing my own challenges related to this.  But it is also an opportunity to experiment, and try different things.  I’m being led see what I can do, and the first ideas are related to bicycles, as I began to explain yesterday.

This is also related to the ideas of Integral Nonviolence.  One of the ideas is we need to make radical changes to get off fossil fuels very quickly if we are to have any chance of avoiding a death spiral of environmental destruction.  The following talks about turning off the lights, but refers more broadly to stopping the use of fossil fuels immediately:

The last true revolutionary act left to human beings in the twenty-first century is to turn out the lights.  Other acts are possible—acts we may call revolutionary—but they do not meet the criteria of the word as it must necessarily be interpreted today.  Nothing short of turning out the lights will lead to an overturning of the endgame global system that now has us in its thrall…
Turn out the lights—and leave them off—and we will experience a consciousness our minds have never known but our bodies still remember.  Leave them on, and it scarcely matters what else we do or leave undone.  We will not significantly alter our path through time.  Nor will we alter the path of our species, which has taken a collective detour leading nowhere but oblivion and extinction.  We persist perpetually in making all of this seem more complicated than it is…
Let there be darkness
Chris Moore-Backman
The Gandhian Iceberg
A Nonviolence Manifesto for the Age of the Great Turning

 

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One thought on “Quaker Biker

  1. Since I returned to biking as something I wanted to integrate into my life – I now drive one tenth of what I did five years ago. One important, if not very exciting, aspect of riding in the city is the problem of “choke points” – highways, railroads, busy streets, gated developments, that interrupt a natural bicycle route. It is important to get this across to a governmental agency – they tend to view bicycle infrastructure as something to exercise on and look simply at total miles of trails, lanes, and such.

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