Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Cyclist Goes for a Long Drive...

Winner, SD. - If you read the cycling stories and the cycling advocacy here, the stories of travel by car we have posted in the last three days may make you wonder: why did we choose to drive? And does that mean my advocacy for cycling only means advocating easy cycling?
The work I have undertaken on behalf of Christian Peacemaker Teams requires travel to Rapid City South Dakota, two destinations not served by any public transit other than a bus service which runs on an irregular schedule, and an airline service. The work we plan to do requires mobility in a place where summer temperatures routinely get up into the mid forties (Celsius). We need to go to the area at a time when demand for accommodation pushes hotel prices for even budget hotels into the $200.00 per night range. We have to navigate changing circumstances, complex politics, and extreme, unpredictable weather. To do this work, we need a car. A bicycle touring champion might operate successfully on a bicycle in these conditions, though I doubt it, but I cannot.
All this means nothing to the Earth's carbon balance. Does the work we do justify itself to future generations, who will have to endure the atmosphere we leave behind? I believe it does. Nothing creates as much pollution as unconstrained conflict. I consider peacemaking a carbon offset. I believe the work we do to heal confrontations justifies the carbon we must expend.

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