June 1, 2010

Ride the elephant. ~ Travis Culley

On a Dime.

Everything is in motion. Even rest is in motion.

In truth, the only kind of full-stop we know is a fiction. Really, even the full-stop, is only a way of turning over, covering our backs, and keeping some part of ourselves intact through an inertia which is constant, and innate to us.

The earth turns, and reminds us of the further reaching we will have to make to establish a sense of trust, of safety, of calm and of sense. Given all of this movement, perhaps there is no return to the self without also recognizing that the world is a place of constant change.

In the time of change that elephant journal has embraced recently (by concentrating its energy online and drawing much of its support from subscribers), I want to remind elephant readers that there will also come a time in your life, as in every life on this great spinning orb, that you will have to choose what really matters to you, and what you are unwilling to live without.

How is this decision made, I wonder?

I believe that elephant journal is an essential element in many people’s lives, even if it is only tangential. The journal has effectively inscribed itself within the lifestyles of all the people that I know closely. Here, a decision needs to be made on my and your part to help keep the journal afloat in respect to these transitions, this broader movement, and the greater forces that appear to be at work behind the scenes.

We will embrace and keep only those things that allow us to change, only those items that will protect ourselves, and our interests—those interests of which we are (by the very nature of this momentum).

In the Gulf of Mexico, there is an unprecedented ecological disaster that is growing everyday, an enormous oil spill that is equivalent in waste to both Industrial Revolutions, the Civil War, American Revolution, and the Renaissance. And for what reason this happening? Is it the inertia of industrialization? Why is all of this happening?

Answer: for the dime.


Lost Renaissance.

Oil and water don’t mix.

This epochal disaster will, I am afraid, be thought of as a lost renaissance because it will forever change what kinds of disasters we can afford to imagine.

Civilization will lose the oil that has now been released into the Gulf of Mexico, just as the panoply of nature will lose by having it unleashed upon them; the fish, the birds, the coral, the shrimp, the shark and the coasts that are blackened with the tar we demanded be unleashed.

Everything is at risk in this momentum, so the hard question is:

Are we willing to lose control of it?

The Local Renaissance.

What is the answer to this ever-expanding problem?

Fortunately for cities like Boulder, amenities have been made to accommodate for bicycling at every level: kids, commuters, racers and retirees. From the network of interconnected bike paths, to Community Cycles, and the Valmont Bike Park, there appear to be no more excuses for Boulder residents to take to the old path: ala GM, Oldsmobile, Hummer, and British Petroleum.

Furthermore, it is June, and that means it is walk & Bike Month. A friendly and progressive collaboration between Community Cycles and the City of Boulder is out in our neighborhood promoting cycling as a safe and sustainable alternative to motorized transportation. Take a look at the calendar of events and get involved.

Before all of the potential for our next Renaissance passes us by, I thought I would try to turn our attention to this double-paradox of sustainable transportation. The measure of the efficiency of any mode of sustainable transport is not only what energy it saves us in transit, but in what damages it spares given the added ability that simpler technologies have to keep from crashing and to avoid disaster. The safety of the system depends upon how well we can all, when we have to, stop on a dime.

Now is the time to save the green renaissance from disaster.  Please put your best foot forward in saving the magazine, and helping us all to slow down.

Velo & Pais,

Travis Hugh Culley


Travis Hugh Culley is the author of The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human-Power. His next book is due out by Spring of 2011.

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