Just in time for Christmas

The New York Times reports that recyclables are piling up as prices on everything continue to drop and the market for recycled materials slows. With the orgy of spending and acquisition under way, and the piles of discarded decorations, wrapping paper, and packaging soon to appear on curbs everywhere, it’s sad to hear that lines are already backing up at landfills. But the writer makes a good point:

The downturn offers some insight into the forces behind the recycling boom of recent years. Environmentally conscious consumers have been able to pat themselves on the back and feel good about sorting their recycling and putting it on the curb. But most recycling programs have been driven as much by raw economics as by activism.

And that brings us to Jenn Klein, of the Chico Enterprise-Record (Chico, CA), who reports on a slowdown in the use of bicycles and public transportation as gas prices fall. This only exacerbates matters in areas where cold temperatures and various forms of winter precipitation already threaten to keep folks indoors and dependent upon their cars.

Admittedly, money factored into my decision to take up bicycling (particularly as a mode of regular transportation) more than I want to admit, and it continues to play a role in my efforts to ride and to “go green” around my house and in other areas of my life. Other things influenced my thinking as well, but money always seems to hold greater sway. I guess that’s because it and its effects (i.e., its power) appear so tangible and acute. But in truth, other reasons are every bit as real and salient; we’re just not attuned to them as much as we should be.

Ever since I began this blog, I’ve thought about writing a post on the reasons why I ride. I’ll get to it someday. There are a good many of them, and additional reasons (or aspects of existing reasons) seem to surface every week. But for now, just let me say that the realization that money factors too readily into my decisions about these things has lead me to strive much harder to focus on more noble and valuable things that motivate me to do what’s right for the planet and the world. So, when all is said and done, the reasons I will ride, rebuild, recycle, and conserve are my daughters. Funny as this may sound, every time I throw another “disposable” diaper in the trash (we searched far and wide for a cloth diaper service, but there was none to be found), I am motivated to cycle, recycle, and think green. And since we go through this little ritual of change countless time each day, I am challenged (and encouraged) to do these things not only whenever I feel like it (i.e., when it’s convenient and requires no real change on my part) but regularly and with intention, repeatedly, until it becomes the default way of thinking.

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