Both days this weekend I went for a bike ride around the lake here. We started this winter with some good snow and I went cross-country skiing a few times but then we had a melt New Years Eve so skiing is done for now. The temp was in the 20s but the roads were clear. I haven’t done much winter biking in the past but as long as the roads are clear, the winds are calm and the sun is bright, why not.
I mention this because this year I hope to track the nunber and types of rides I go on. Some will be errands, some will be exercise, and some will be meanderings. All have their own character but one thing they all share is that I do my best thinking on a bike. Sometimes practical, sometimes philosohical, sometimes something in between.
Today I was thinking about a question posed by a reader of climateprogress.org. Ian is a 25 year old with a degree in film-making. He’s got a job but doesn’t particularly care for it and feels frustatrated that he’s not pouring his energy into fighting to save the planet. He basically asked CP readers what he should do next. There are a many thoughtfulresponses here http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/09/what-should-ian-do-with-his-life/
My thoughts from today’s ride are below and will surely prove to be more beneficial to me than to Ian.
Great question, I thought about it on my very cold bike ride around the lake today. I would answer with “Learn, Write, Adapt, and Connect”.
Learning. No matter what you need to continue aggressively learning. Formally and informally. Don’t like your job? Go to grad school where you will be pushed to learn, analyze, and communicate. There are undoubtedly a number of programs where you can gain greater confidence in your understanding of the science while refining your excellent communications skills. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone but you seem like you’d enjoy the challenge and would definitely come out a stronger thinker than you were when you entered.
Writing. I am 36 and I am still coming to grips with the importance of writing. The idea that one writes to convey ideas to others is obvious. The real importance of writing for me at this point in my life is that process of writing strengthens you as a thinker as you are forced to clarify your thoughts. This year my goal is to use writing to focus my actions as well by blogging weekly on ecological living. I input non-stop but knowing that I will need to write forces me to concentrate ideas into actions.
Adapting. You mentioned that you didn’t feel that minimzing your carbon footprint was significantly satisfying but perhaps if you viewed it in terms of skills-learning you might appreciate it more. I don’t expect a dramatic collapse anytime soon but I find it extremely fulfilling to learn to grow food, etc. and move down a path of self-reliance while lessening my footprint.
Connecting. We all need to continue to connect with our families, friends, communities, and environment. If we are to succeed in this struggle, our love for humanity and this planet must overwhelm and outlast the fossil-barons’ love for their profits.
If you pursue the activities, you’ll likely find, as I did, that feedback loops are generated and soon you are doing more than you ever could have imagined. This is empowering and we need empowered people in this struggle for it will be a long one.
Thanks for posing the question. You have stimulated a terrific exchange of ideas.