Today, I got a message from a friend who’s a climate change expert, giving me a preview of a talk on the subject that I suckered him into. Inside were beautiful, informative charts and pictures showing how much carbon emissions have changed our environment, how much more it could change in the future, and what we could be doing to reverse this trend.
The Meaning Of Federal Funding
A couple of hours later, I got an email from another friend linking to this article about President Obama’s Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, announcing that the government is going to treat bicycling and walking as important forms of transportation when it comes to providing federal funding. It’s not just autos and trucks that will get proper driving environments, it seems.
As you can imagine, manufacturing and trucking interest groups are up in arms, while the biking world is pinching itself, almost not daring to hope that finally, proper bike paths linking housing to business centers might emerge. More people might see that biking doesn’t have to be reserved for special weekend excursions. It could happen every day. In their very town or city! Imagine!
Importance Of The Government
To me, this is a perfect example of what’s possible when government functions well. By increasing funding for bike lanes, fossil fuel consumption, and carbon emissions decrease, people get healthier, local businesses get a boost, and biking becomes more accessible and safer.
Significance Of The UN Conferences
What baffles me is how long it takes the government to see these connections. The United Nations’ conferences on climate change happen in the city of Copenhagen, where roughly 500,000 people travel by bike every day, according to the wonderful blog Copenhagenize. Yet the folks responsible for making effective policy around the world have been dithering about, not knowing how to act. To be certain, biking isn’t a silver bullet, but as Al Gore, my buddy Tom, and other climate change folks have indicated, it’s going to take dozens to hundreds of changes to make a dent in the emissions situation we’ve created.
For now, I’m hopeful that the federal government will start taking two-wheeled transportation seriously.
Many thanks to Tom Fiddaman and Ventana Systems for trying to find viable solutions to our climate change problems.
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