Monday, 18 November 2013

If culture is the cry of men in the face of their destiny, then we'll be alright in the end.

We spent a bit of time over the weekend at the 17th annual Eastside Culture Crawl,

 and that's no bull.  

This up-cycled old gas station on Gore was almost like entering the wardrobe to Narnia.  Outside you'll find the derelict, the destitute and the drug addicted, but walk inside

and you enter a completely different world.

That's the whole point of a culture crawl, though, isn't it?  Taking a peek inside and escaping to somewhere else? Cities are melting pots, where art, science, technology and design grow and develop out of the miasma of humanity pressed close together in the process of survival we call daily living. As Gandhi said, a nation's culture resides in the heart and soul of its people, and in this case, in their gorgeous, passionate, creative expression.

What I've noticed is a growing awareness that we're all in this together. Ha!  And do you know what else I noticed?


 I noticed that when people walking from their cars to the venues saw us riding our bikes, so many of them  commented on how much easier it would have been if only they had taken their bikes instead of their cars because parking was at a real premium at this well-loved event.


A bicycle-centric lifestyle is not always more convenient than its car-centric counterpart, but it`s so much better in the end.  It's infinitely more rewarding, it is always happy-inducing, and it's usually waaaay more fun.  Sure there is a time and a place for a car, but in my world that`s what car-to-go is for.

It is definitely time for a new paradigm for our global economy, one which refuses to compromise the planet for profit, because we all have a right to life which supersedes the right to profit. The planet has a right to life, too, don't you think?

Humanity is ready for cities built to a higher standard, to carry us into the future.  I listened to Michael Enright's interview with Mary Robinson on The Sunday Edition and it left me in tears because even though her message is frightening to anyone whose future is tied to the oil patch, she is spot on when she talks about what enormous potential exists for us in a sustainably powered economy.

And more and more people are adamant about the kind of world they want to leave for future generations.

I sure am.
That's one of the many good reasons I love bicycles!

Over the summer when I rode to Hornby Island, I met a girl named Anna along the way.

I liked her instantly.  How could I not?  She's a woman after my own heart, cycling the 100+ km from Vancouver to Hornby n'all, but it was our conversation which really stuck with me.  She and her partner were expecting their first child, and her biggest fear around parenting was that she'd have to give up her bikes. Bless her heart. And that's the thing!  She could have manifested exactly what she feared most, only because she didn't dare to hope for something better.  Besides, kids love bikes!  They take to a cycling lifestyle as naturally as fish to water if that's all they know.  Believe me, I've seen it happen time and time again!  They take to whatever you give them, and you give them whatever you grew to know.

It really boils down to what you expect. I didn't turn the corner, hoping to find a nearly nekked woman painted on this wall,

but I'll be sure to keep an eye out for her next time I'm around!

Every year, between now and the spring, people are always surprised to find that I'm still riding my bikes. Every year, throughout the year, I marvel that people could possibly want to sit in a car in traffic, whatever the weather, or cram themselves into public transit like so many sardines!

Maybe it seems remarkable to you that someone might choose to ride come rain, shine, or winter, but what's really crazy to me is that despite being aware of climate change for ages now, so many people still think that it's okay to drive a car everywhere they go, all of the time. I'm sorry, but it seems madness, somehow, that people don't see how our carbon intensive, growth-at-all-costs economy is stripping our children of their future.  On Shelf Life with David Suzuki, the Lorax Suzuki called our energy policies and their harm to the environment an intergenerational crime against humanity.

The writing is on the wall.

As Mary says, we really don't have a choice.  We have to change the way we do things. 
 But don't panic.  It's not insurmountable;  it doesn't even have to be traumatic.  It's just a different way of approaching things.

According to a new study co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, we could accomplish all that by converting the world to clean, renewable energy sources and forgoing fossil fuels. 

It really is simple. Start with the little things, and take a step each day along the way toward a better future.

 And let's get real about the big things, too, the important things.  As nations we can easily choose to end the ridiculous and exorbitant subsidies to the petroleum industry and instead invest that in sustainable energy research, development and production, for starters.  That's huge.  Many trillions of dollars - just imagine what you could do with that! The Stanford study concluded that we now have absolutely everything it requires to achieve a  fully sustainable planet within twenty years.  All we lack is the political will to do so.

Listen.  Can you hear the sirens' call?

This is an emergency.

Kennedy said "When written in Chinese the word 'crisis' is made up of two characters:  one represents danger, the other opportunity.  Thanks to the internet, we have the gift of vicarious experience-you don't have to live in the Philippines or Illinois to understand that we're all playing for keeps- and a wealth of opportunity.  We don't have to keep doing things the way we've always done them, just cause that's how we've always done them.  We can do something new, something better now.  After all, didn't Einstein warn us that it's madness to continue on in the same fashion and somehow expect a new result?

We can take this opportunity to make a few different decisions. Fuller was so right, saying that there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come, because the moment we ALL decide to stop buying in,  and to create something gorgeous and new, things will change very quickly for the better.

Before you know it, the whole place will be crawling with all sorts of great culture...

Come on. The direction is clear. It's time. Let's go!


  1. ...& to think a bloated, drug & alcohol addled clown like rob ford can pull the wool over the eyes of enough people to get himself elected as mayor of one of the largest cities on the continent & yet almost every intelligent idea you espouce here is as foreign to the kind of closed mindset he possesses as could be imagined...
    ...never drop your torch, dear babble, for it's flame is fed with the intelligence required to not just survive but thrive in a quickly changing word...

  2. Right on, Babble. I love your catastroptimism, and when I'm feeling down about humanity's future, I try to find the silver lining like you do.

    Just got back from a (work/fun) weekend in L.A., where I noted with dismay that Angelenos still like to hose down their driveways and sidewalks with (the rest of the West's) water.

  3. Das what ya sposed ta do . . . youze cement ova da grass and den wata da cement, anybody knows dat! 'Specially in Brookaleen !
    Of course, if the dog owners would clean up after their pooches, there would be no need to hose down.
    I tried to go to the (Anti) Global Warming rally but it got snowed out.

    Nice pixs ! I'm a big reader of treehugger . com


    1. I think the hoser I saw was chasing a leaf down the driveway with about 800 gallons of Colorado River.

    2. Must not have any leaf detritus onna da cement !!


  4. You are right in everything you put up here, as always - I only wish more people would listen to your words ...
    I say this as somebody who is living in Germany, where some environmental policies maybe are not as bad as in Canada and the US, but even here the 'silent majority' keeps on living (and driving) without thinking much about the impact of their lifestyle on the environment and on future of the world as a whole... And not thinking - not asking questions - not mentioning certain facts - not trying to change the things 'as they always were' (our female chancellor loves to use the world 'alternativlos', somewhat analogue to Margaret Thatchers dictum "TINA - There Is No Alternative" of the 1980s ...) is very much appreciated by all partys here (except for some small ones, and maybe only as long as they are not too close to take part in the actual government ...). But o.k. - I just keep calm and pedal on ... ;-)

    P. S. I am wondering how this German (or Austrian) fire engine (presumably of 1980s vintage - looks like a Mercedes Benz drivers cab ...) has found its way to Vancouver ... ?

  5. Those are some dangerous looking shoes. Cool plea out into the world. And I saw on your last post you bought a MIPS helmet. Badass. Encourage the helmet world by buying these and the upcoming Smith Optics design. All made for brain safety. We want to keep your brain around.

  6. Speaking about the oil industry, about options and choices, here is an interesting docu game in which you can take part in the government of a virtual (but judging by the pictures in the trailer it at least looks very real ...) oil industry town in northern Canada, Fort McMurray: .
    Now you can have the power, and chose different political and economical option at will, from running the oil production to the highest level to closing it down completely - but of course in each and every case there are various consequences to those decisions ... ;-)

  7. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers stripping on my desktop.