Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bicycling in the Trump Era

A cursory search on a mega-lo-search-engine has turned up zero images of President-Elect Donald Trump riding a bicycle.  (For the record I did find images of Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Ford, & Kennedy).

Nevertheless, I propose that Trump will reinvigorate bicycle riding during his presidency (as a form of social protest)

It appears Trump will roll back many environmental gains: the Paris Agreement, Clean Power Act, Vehicle Emission Regulations.  And it appears he will open up federal land and offshore areas for exploration.  Some counter these backward measures with predicted movements of the deified market.  "The Market" will take care of it all.  Indeed, "the market" may just do that - cheap natural gas makes coal a poor investment and pulling out of the Paris Agreement will allow China to achieve the pinnacle of green technology exporter.

I, however, have a different approach.  Under the Trump presidency it appears we cannot count on input measures: regulation, a carbon tax, an active EPA, and etc.  We will need to focus on output measures: specifically, using solar powered vehicles - i.e. bicycles.

Solar powered?  Indeed!  Because of photosynthesis we are solar powered creatures which power the bicycles, thus solar powered vehicles.

We are not powerless.  What if enough Americans started riding bikes and stopped driving their cars? What if fossil fuel companies started losing money because the demand for gasoline dropped because Americans started riding bikes more?

Every now and then the woman who chose to marry me comments, "You think bikes are the answer to everything, don't you?"  Sometimes I do.  Indeed we need structural change, we need massive changes to the way run our economy and lives.  But I think we need some kind of small individual/community gains to inspire and generate greater gains.  Is there enough time to reverse the damage we've done to the environment?  I don't know, I hope so.  But we have to change culture before we change society.

Therefore, I think we are going to need to ride bicycles during the Trump era for two reasons: one, as a generative act; and two, for our health.  I predict I will be frustrated and angry more days than not over the next four years.  I'm gonna need to ride off my anger, anxiety, and  frustration.  I imagine you will too.  Along the way I will not only do my body some good, but also I will meet other bicyclists and form a new community.  This new community will find power in ourselves and will need power to confront and challenge a Trump presidency and prepare the way for structural change.
So you want to counter the Trump presidency?  Get on a two-wheeled solar powered vehicle and let's have at it.

And like Bill McKibben has told us: is it permissible to burn gasoline when we drive a car or ride in a train/plane to attend an environmental protest/rally?  Indeed, it will be the best gasoline you burn that year!

No comments:

Post a Comment