In the words of the immortal (at least in MY mind) Frank Hammond, noted sign painter and philosopher who frequented my family's restaurant (and more than his share of local houses of inebriation),
"I am a minority of one, and when that ceases to be true, I'll change my opinion."
An interesting discussion came up the other day on www.bikejournal.com having to do with global warming. Now, one of the things I really like about BikeJournal is that while we all come from different backgrounds and forefathers, we all share one deep love, that being the bicycle and all that it means. Even there, we often disagree about it (i.e., road v. trail, etc.) but one thing is sure. We are a passionate lot. If we weren't we couldn't maintain the degree of interest it takes to do what we do with our cycling.
I, for one, share a deep concern with many of my fellows with regard to the amount of crap we are putting into the air as a result of our ever increasing industrial needs and our seeminly ever increasing reliance on infernal confabulation engines to do everything. Now, I ain't no scientist, and I ain't no geophysicyst, and I ain't no goldurned dockter, but I got me a bona-fido high school diploma and with fifty-eight long and well lived trips riding this planet as it revolves around the Sun, I've come to realize a few things, and one of them is the fact that there is no free lunch. There is a price to pay for everything, and somewhere back there when folks with big brains were thinking up how they could make machines to do all the work faster than people could do it, they came up with a really great thing. It was called convenience.
In order to make things more convenient, we needed to make processes faster. In order to make processes faster, we needed to find machines that could do things in mass production. As we did that, we found we were able to generate more and more convenience, and there were some really good things that came about as a result, one of them being a "five-day workweek". Totally a by-product of the factory-mentality society. And one that as a recreational cyclist, I love to take advantage of. But along with all that, came a reliance on something we, as a nation, cannot produce very much of and need a whole lot of. In reaching out across the world to obtain that crude oil that we so desparately need, we get into a whole other realm of geo-politics.
Now I ain't no perfesser and I ain't no politishun and I sure as heck ain't no high falutin' lawyer type, but I got me a certifiable high school diploma from the grand and glorious institute of learning, Waldport High School, where I managed to graduate in 1969 with distinct honors, distinctly being placed 49th out of 52 in my class with a GPA of 1.64. Those below me failed to graduate.
But in the last fifty-eight laps around the sun, I've come to understand something about politics. If you got it and I want it, and I'm bigger than you, I can probably take it away and there probably ain't a whole heck of a lot you can do about it. So there! And it seems to me that there is just a whole lot of that going on in our world today. And I ain't paintin' no special group into a corner, here. There's just too many of 'em and they all know in the bottoms of their souls (if such exist) who they are and what they're doing.
And so, when I was looking at some life change a couple years ago, one of the life changes I decided to make was to use my car less, use my bike more and try to figure out ways and means to reduce my dependence on fossil fuels. I thought it was a nice way to truly support the young men and women who I have asked to go overseas and stand up to some punks and bullies that want to do me harm and also thought it might be a nice way to be a little nicer to the polar bears. Are the polar bears grateful? I have no idea. Do the bad guys give a rat's patootie that some ol' man in a far away place ride more miles on a bike than he drives in his car? I doubt it. But do I feel better about myself for doing so? Absolutely. End of story.