Saturday, December 8, 2007

Can I Ride my Bike?

About half of my neighbors recycle their garbage. Virtually 100 percent of us, including myself, hop in our cars to perform the simplest of chores. One of my three daughters lives in a subdivision in which it is impossible for children to walk to school so they are driven either by the school bus or the parents. My other two daughters live in neighborhoods where their children can walk and to their credit they see that their kids do walk every day past the substantial number of young parents who drop the kids off. I read recently that in Japan all non-essential lights are turned off in government building at 5:00 P.M. to save energy and the environment and that in Tokyo residents are required to separate out 7 different kinds of products for recycling. At my home in Florida I have two different patterns to my workouts. Every other day I ride my bike for about an hour in a circular pattern through and around various neighborhoods avoiding traffic as much as I can. On the alternate days I hop into my car to drive to the athletic club which is about two miles from home where I ride a stationery version of my bike for the same time so that I can add some weight training to my regimen with the various machines that are at the club. I talked to my buddy, Stan Kazul, yesterday. Stan lives in Palo Alto, California and recently went to a wedding in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles. It took him one and one-half hours to drive from the airport to Culver City, a distance of less than five miles on an eight lane (each way) highway where the speed of his automobile never exceeded five miles per hour. We hear about global warming and the energy crisis. Common sense alone tells us that the earth's supply of oil is not endless. The point of all this is that we need to think big and act small. Without doing the little things that, collectively, would make a real difference in our shepherding of the planet, concern for the big picture is meaningless. We all have it within our power, in one way or another, to do the little things that count. President Jimmy Carter was widely mocked when he suggested during his presidency that one of the ways that people could deal with the energy crisis of the 1970s was to turn down their thermostats to 68 degrees during the winter. He wore a cardigan sweater when he gave the speech that made that suggestion and he was ridiculed for it. If I was teaching a sixth grade class I would have them sit down and list ten things that each of the students in the class could do on a daily basis to reduce their so-called carbon foot print on earth. Come to think of it, I'm going to make my own list. I'm going to ride my damn bike to the athletic club.

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