Bikes are perhaps one of the most powerful icons of the green movement — low tech, low carbon, sociable and more. Along with wind turbines bikes frequently appear on book covers and illustrations of a future, better, more sustainable world.
the inevitable bike is top right (the book)
So, more bikes must be good?
This infographic doing the rounds recently on Twitter reminded me just how untrue this is:
Source: Charting Adventure
This isn’t about the bike, or any particular technology, it’s about a culture and mind set where if one is good, more is better; where we are bombarded daily with images and messages to be dissatisfied with what we have, to endlessly want new, more, better.
With over 7 billion of us, now more than ever, we need to develop a culture where we find joy in doing rather having, where, for example, cycling is about the pleasure of useful exercise, the fresh air on our skin, and quick and easy local transport — not about more bikes with ‘new’ features and the latest kit, the thrill of which rarely lasts beyond the unwrapping.
In 1719 a family in Oman carved over the door of their house:
Honour is in contentment, Shame is in greed
Tackling technology without finding contentment may slow the pace of environmental damage, but does nothing to tackle its root causes.