High Level Champions for Bicycling

After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.
No was the night. Yes is this present sun.
                          –Wallace Stephens

Change can come quicker than we think with the right kind of leadership, approach, discipline and solutions to see changes through.  We have to keep urging our leaders to move bicycling and walking forward.  But if we want America to be leading and innovating transportation solutions, we must also get going ourselves and lead the way.  This requires action.  It can’t wait.

Health, transportation, and energy are all interconnected.  Transportation is right up there with energy for carbon emission sources.  From the EPA’s US Sources of Greenhouse Gas.

US Greenhouse Gas Emission sources by sector 2013

I’ve noticed similarities in the way we talk about energy and transportation.  In energy we note how small the proportion of energy that is produced by renewable resources is, just as we note how transportation is dominated by the automobile.  We can think of this as how imbalanced our energy and transportation portfolios truly are,  increasing our sense of urgency to incentivize simple, low cost solutions.  Once we convert to systems that support renewable transportation and energy, the sources of power are free.  Fully utilizing renewable sources to their potential empowers the roll they play in advancing society.  This strategy of inclusion with an emphasis on diversity has been a huge factor in advancing American society.

The reasons we have to do this are clear.  Carbon emissions are a real problem, a problem we have to face.  The problem with cars goes beyond carbon.  The carnage is beyond bearing.  We are losing nearly 40,000 lives every year in the US due to car crashes, and over 2 million people are injured or disabled.  Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans traveling abroad, and crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.  The problem of excluding walking and bicycling is most deeply impacting vulnerable populations including young people, who for the first time in a long time have lower life expectancies.

What I see are the brightest leaders adapting and understanding, such as the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim.  He sees that this is a time of transition.  He’s trying to get everyone onboard. This kind of adaptation means we are all having to reeducate our selves, because things are changing so rapidly.   Jim Yong Kim has a five year old son and his vision for the world involves seeing the world through his son’s eyes, also through the eyes of the regular person who uses public streets to get to work each day.    Jim Yong Kim on changing transportation:

We [the World Bank] have evolved over time. We have an evidence based set of deeply held values.  Ending poverty, boosting shared prosperity.  Evidence is good you need to include people.  You need to include women.  The evidence is overwhelming we have to do something about climate change.  For us, working on transport is part of this morale responsibility we have to cities of today and the future generation.”  –Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President

He goes on to say in this interview that “if you do green transportation right, it pays for itself in terms of human health and well being, as well as economically and environmentally. It’s a win win win” and “the Introduction of bus rapid transit lanes is dramatically part of the win win win situation.”  What I see developing here is a framework that changes the way we do things.  It is developing quickly and we need to accelerate it more.  We need local leaders and residents to step forward and show how bicycling and walking makes going green rewarding and affordable.  Unleashing the power of renewables is a natural and creative way to live, a good way to exercise our common human traditions and be healthy and share in prosperity.   We are surrounded by an abundance of resources including one another.  Let the breeze, our lungs and legs, the sun and surface winds do the work for us, and share in the harvest.

Flower opening

References:

Statistics on the casualties of road crashes are from the Association for Safe International Road Travel.  http://asirt.org/initiatives/informing-road-users/road-safety-facts/road-crash-statistics

Jim Yong Kim’s quote is from the Shaping the Future of Urban Transport event from the 10th annual Transforming Transportation conference, hosted by the World Bank and EMBARQ .

The childhood obesity epidemic was reported in the NY Times in 2005.

Artists are increasingly shaping the way we perceive the environment.  Check out the events at 516 ARTS in Albuquerque this coming week http://www.516arts.org/ including
http://www.516arts.org/index.php/programs-link/68-events/444-talk-public-art-and-activism-between-climate-culture-and-informational-space

The World Bank has programs focusing directly on improving road safety, and designing sustainable cities:
http://www.wri.org/news/2015/07/release-report-provides-urban-design-recommendations-healthier-cities-fewer-traffic
http://www.wricities.org/
http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/embarq

And the World Bank has this Conference:
http://www.transformingtransportation.org/
Thursday January 14 – Friday January 15, 2016, World Bank Headquarters, Washington D.C.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim is the first medical doctor to be head of the World Bank.  He protested the World Bank when its policies were failing in the early 1990’s.  Now he’s President of it.  Now that’s an adaptive organization!
“Health is not an expense but an investment.”  — Jim Yong Kim, Aspen Institute interview
on transforming development

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