If Earth Day were a person, she would be long overdue for a midlife crisis. The world celebrated her birth; in her teens she had her admirers; by her twenties she had loyal followers on both sides of “the aisle”; in her thirties she went abroad on sabbatical; and today, well… a person’s acknowledgement of climate change is as reliable a political litmus test as any.
Pro Walk/Pro Bike has never been loud and proud when it comes to our desire to save the planet through more walking and bicycling. Why? Perhaps it’s our resentment coming out from one too many times seeing the Prius buyer getting high-5’d for saving the planet, while the biker gets looked at askance for taking up too much space in the elevator. Or from having one too many close calls with cars whose common denominator was the blue and white Coexist bumpersticker. (Evidently the co-existence creed is suspended when it comes to other road users.)
Nah, it’s not that.
On Monday you will ride to work because biking is fun, parking is easy and free, and passing all those people stuck in traffic is tremendously satisfying. Admit it. But today is Earth Day, so for Earth Day and Earth Day only, it is permissible to tell people you ride your bike to save the planet. Every other day of the year you can tell them the selfish truth: you ride because it is fun. And fun is how we’re getting more people riding bikes.
Earth: Meet your savior.
Fred Kent, President of PPS, and one of the original organizers of Earth Day in NYC, offers some thoughts in 2010 on the Day’s 40th anniversary.
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