Building With the Future in Mind Since 1955

Rick Dubrow’s “On The Level” Column in the Cascadia Weekly; Published 6-6-07

The science of global warming is compelling.  It has been for a while.  Finally – and thankfully – media attention is relentless. Numerous voices are chiming in, asking us to lower our carbon emissions by a certain percentage, by a certain date.

Typically such targets for reduced emissions talk about our nation as a whole:  “The U.S needs to reduce….”

Squint, for a moment, at these two letters: “U.S.”.  What do you see?

My 56 year old eyes see “us”.  The “U.S.” is “us”. You and I.

“You and I need to reduce….” our global warming emissions.  Damn!  It seemed so much easier when we were discussing the country’s need to amend its ways.  But now it’s close to home.  You and I.  So how are you and I going to reduce our ecological footprint?

Let’s explore #6 in David Suzuki Foundation’s 10-step “Nature Challenge” (www.davidsuzuki.org/NatureChallenge):         Walk, bike or take transit to regular destinations.

Let me share my own path to becoming a bicycle commuter.  I didn’t just say ‘no’ to my car in order to achieve this global warming goal, and that’s the reason I want to share my own story with you.  Many a different path can achieve such needed changes.

A little over a year ago, my chronic back problem found me unable to walk or stand for any significant amount of time without suffering back and leg pain. Riding my bike, however, was pain free. Although I could hardly walk or stand, I felt like a bird while I was in the saddle of my bike, spinning.  I could stay in shape; I wasn’t a vegetable.

Then, as the weather grew worse, I kept biking by layering myself with the very same mountaineering equipment that was sitting idle in my closet because of my back problem!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to adapt my crampons or snowshoes onto my bike, so snow and ice were, and remain, the only constraints to my peddling to and from work every day.  I had become a bike commuter, joyously nodding to other bikers on the road.

Amidst the long list of accolades that biking offers, I find ‘the nod’ to be right up there at the top. There’s something so special about seeing a fellow rider approaching across the way and acknowledging their presence with a simple nod of the head.  The nod is so pure and simple, much like the joy of biking itself; much like being a kid again.

No global warming gasses; no petroleum; connecting with others via the nod; getting and staying fit; saving money; operating the most efficient machine ever invented by humans.

It simply doesn’t get much better than this.

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