Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Planner Guy on a Bike - Why, Yes, He is Sustainable!

I've been thinking a lot about sustainability lately, mostly on the level of psychological well-being and quality of life.  I suppose, given the economy and what may or may not be a shaky recovery, a possible shutdown of the federal government and the latest antics of just about every state legislature in the country, a lot of people are asking themselves "Is this sustainable?". 

Sustainable Bob.
The Planner Guy is a mighty sustainable guy, pictured here with his bicycle prior to heading off to work.  He models here, sustainability in the traditional sense of the word - biking work, keeping fit and healthy, in a locally designed and manufactured rain jacket, carrying a messenger bag containing a sandwich made from home baked bread.  Sustainability in action, right?  But what of the man?  How is he being sustained?  His wife??  I did encourage him to purchase the bike.  At the very least, he enjoys the exercise built into his day and not having to put gas in the Element.

My question remains, are we sustaining ourselves as human beings?  Our hearts and souls?  Try as we might to shield ourselves from the  impact of all the madness that seems to be going on around us and the duplicity of what masquerades as governing and political debate, we can only shake off so much.  Drowning ourselves in homebrew only works for a so long before it becomes counter-productive (I am well aware how crazy that sounds to some).

Bob packs his bike for Master Swim class, sustaining himself by
working toward his goal of completing the 2011 Phoenix Ironman.
So I did a little bit of reading this evening on sustainability, consulting the wisdom of the Funk and Wagnalls of the 21st Century, Wikipedia.  Seems that sustainability is difficult to define, so much so that some believe it has been reduced to a "feel-good buzzword" that either means nothing or anything you want it to, depending on whether you are speaking from the offices of Nature Conservancy or BP.  But since I'm focused on the personal well-being for me and my husband, I'm pretty attracted to those definitions associated with our relationship to the consumer culture, societal  versus our personal values, the maintenance of our internal and social/external resources, our long-term economic security. 

Sustaining ourselves with new sights and experiences.
More and more I'm re-evaluating the difference between quality of life and standard of living.  Until recently, it had not occurred to me that there was an difference between the two.  Did you realize that quality of life refers to the ability to the "general well-being of societies and individuals" and that standard of living is measured by income per person and the poverty rate?  For now we still have jobs but in these uncertain economic times how does one really measure standard of living?  I'm not going to even try.  I think I'll focus on quality of life.

Dark chocolate chips and 100% whole wheat flour chocolate chip
 cookies for sustained health and a happy tummy.
Are warm and chewy, chocolate chip cookies from the Sunset Magazine Cookie Book a measure of quality of life?  I'll ask Bob when he wakes up from . . . .

Yes, the picture is fuzzy but so is the dog.
his nap on the sofa with Ashby.  Another measure perhaps?
Bike love.
But this is a bike blog, is it not?  In conducting my one hour of research for this post I came across this on-line post from Taiga Company by Sustainability Consultant Julie Urlaub entitled 15 Reasons to Fall in Love with Your Bike.  No arguments from me.

Something tells me PJ O'Rourke doesn't know a thing about sustainability (or sadly, care) or quality of life.  If you haven't read his April 2 column in the Wall Street Journal (no surprises there) about bike lanes in NYC do so now, then read the comments.


Camille said...

We're proud to say that Doug has biked to work every day since last Fri. He has been coming home happy with a big smile on his face. He loves it. You are so right on with your other posts about biking causing us to take things slower and be more conscious. I have been noticing so many more people on bikes, walking and older people out with walkers that I wouldnt have noticed while driving in a car... then I smile and say 'Hi' or 'good morning' and get a smile or wave back and it makes my day so much better. ; )

She Rides a Bike said...

Angie, oddly enough I think my silly post about having a fashion uniform is related. I've had a life long aversion to bling that only recently I've come to understand. False images of affluence and status don't buy happiness; memorable expeeiences and connection to others do. I've had the same experience w/ exchanging a smile w/ a passing stranger while on my bike. The bike sort of let's down everyone's guard.

Cori said...

Welcome to my entire world on a daily basis as I make my way through my Sustainable Communities Master's degree here at NAU.... If you need any reading recommendations, lemme know. Unfortunately, most are long on information about how we got here and what needs to change, but short on HOW to change. I must say, though, the best observation I have heard was from a wise classmate last night. She reflected that perhaps, the reason is that it is more important to share with us what needs to change and why, and let each of us figure out how we do our part to make it happen.

Camille said...

Cori, I'm always up for a good book recommendation!

ironmanbob2 said...

I'm not a "joiner" nor do I want to be classified as part of group or movement. But, if you must label or categorize me, make it, "Bob-conomics" -- decisions based to support the physical, spiritual and mental well-being of "Bob". On a daily basis, I practice good PMS!

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