The New Environmental Imperative and #CantStealMyJoy
We'll all remember where we were when we found out. I was in a bus on the tarmac at Santiago International Airport in Chile, having just landed at 6:30am after a red eye flight from Orlando. I'd managed to sleep on the plane, comforted by the news I'd seen in the airport restaurant during our layover in Peru late the previous evening. It's closer than I imagined, but this will all be a joke in the morning. Can you believe what our country almost did, we'll laugh, and life will go on. Still a bit groggy, we asked the Chilean next to us on the bus with a smartphone handy what had happened. And then time stopped...I wrapped both hands around the grab bar and my eyes went hollow...He Who Must Not Be Named...had won?
Despite having received fewer actual votes than his opponent (thanks, electoral college!), He Who Must Not Be Named may actually be sworn into office in just over a month. The TV reality show host with no political experience who made a name for himself by pointing emphatically and loudly firing people for entertainment may soon be able to fire nuclear weapons. Not only that, he's also made clear his intentions to fire the earth itself. Calling climate science everything from "a bunch of bunk" to "a concept...created by and for the Chinese," and vowing to rid the country of environmental regulation, there can be no mistake that the life-sustaining marble we need to survive in order to sustain our life is going to be severely tested in the coming years.
Rather than cowering in fear or accepting the outcome as simply a nasty cold that will run its course, we must instead take decisive action. Prevention didn't work, so now we have to fight the disease of climate change, and we have to fight back hard. While more could certainly have been done over the last decade in this battle, it was at least marked by slow forward progress. With the only world leader to deny climate change at the helm soon, we all need to do a lot of extra work just to keep pace with our previous level of progress and counteract the presidential assault on our children's future.
So how can a little gas-powered transportation method make a difference? Much like Cheerios need a banana, yogurt, and OJ to be a complete breakfast, scooters are just part of the solution, but every time you hop on that high-MPG, sunshine-loving gas miser instead of your SUV, you're ensuring roughly three times fewer fossils are taken out of the earth to do it. Combine this with support of walkable communities, advocacy for better public transportation options, switching gas vehicles to renewable power sources, utilizing e-bikes for medium-length trips, and the old fashioned human-powered bicycle to get around town, and add in the neighborly friendliness of the sharing economy whenever none of the other methods work and you absolutely need a car, and voila - you have a complete transportation plan that can be an example to others and go a long way toward negating the impact of He Who Must Not Be Named.
See larger version at http://mashable.com/2011/04/26/scooters-environmental-infographic/
Equally as important, scooters almost universally bring a smile to the face of all who see them...and you don't need a smiley face helmet to accomplish that! How is this important to fighting back against He Who Must Not Be Named? Because he won by appealing to nature's most potent short term motivator: fear - fear of difference, fear of change, fear of interdependence - and if we now succumb to that same emotion, we have allowed him victory. No, my friends, we must not live in fear but rather extinguish that darkness of the soul with its only effective antidote - joy.
We must not let He Who Must Not Be Named steal our humanity from us, for it is not fear and hatred and bigotry that defines what it means to be human; it is joy and love and perseverance. Together we will scoot and walk and bike our way forward with uninhibited joy and show the nation and the world that we are still human; they cannot defeat our spirit. So join with me, unafraid, and say the name out loud - Donald Trump. We are the 75% of voting age Americans who did not vote for you. You cannot kill our planet. You will not steal our joy. And we are not afraid.