Earlier this month LandHealth Institute moved into shared office space with Neighborhood Bike Works. Why would an organization dedicated to connecting people with Nature move in with an organization dedicated to strengthening community through providing equitable access to bicycling and bicycle repair?
Well, there are a number of good reasons. We at LandHealth believe that strong, healthy communities can do a better job of building strong connections with the local environment. We believe strongly in youth development. Further, LandHealth Institute and Neighborhood Bike Works have worked together in the past, taking youth from both our programs together on bicycle tours of green tools used to manage storm water, and we plan on working together in the future on similar events, and sharing office space makes this that much easier.
But deeper than all this, both organizations know that bicycling is good for the planet!
Bicycling is more than just a fast and efficient way to get around the city, more than just a way to never have to worry about finding parking for a car or waiting for a late bus. Bicycling is more than just a way to get in better shape. Bicycling is a way to help save the earth.
One of the biggest contributors to poor air quality, climate change, and water pollution is the car.
Don’t get me wrong, cars are right now a part of everybody’s life, and cars- and trucks- are a necessary part of how we currently run our entire world.
But most cars run on gasoline, and gasoline is made from oil. Oil extraction itself is environmentally costly, and burning and refining oil creates both slowly acting pollution and even sometimes dramatic events like the explosion in South Philadelphia’s Philadelphia Energy Solutions plant last summer. However, when you pedal your bicycle, instead of burning fossil fuel accumulated over millions of years, you’re instead relying on your own muscles, powered by just food and air, and leveraged by the machinery of the cycle. The bicycle itself is built largely of metal, a material which can be either recycled or safely disposed of. Instead of spewing fumes into the air while you idle in traffic, you’re inhaling and exhaling clean air.
Riding a bicycle also brings you into contact with your local environment in a special way. It lets the rider come to know closely the literal ups and downs of their local geography, and note the behavior and character of rain water, animals, plants, and other people. When you’re driving, you’re inside a car, but on a bike, you’re outside.
For these reasons, if you’re looking for an easy and fun way to make the world, and your day, a little bit better, ride a bike.
Don’t have a bike?
Our friends at Neighborhood Bike Works can help. They sell refurbished bicycles (yes, that counts as recycling, lowering your environmental footprint for transportation even further) and they offer a shop where you can learn how to repair your own bicycle. I’ve used both, and personally recommend them. Check out their website for more info.
See you in the bike lane!