The Cycling Environment

Often, as a cyclist, I am labeled as being an environmentalist, but for some reason, I bristle at the accusation.

Until now, I have not really examined my feelings to discover _why_ I feel this way.

Initially, it could be due to my not wanting to be labeled at all.

But it’s also because these kinds of labels separates me from others. Calling me an “environmentalist” implies that the caller is NOT an environmentalist.

Motorists NEVER call one another motorists, for example, but I do it all the time because in this way I _am_ different.

Regarding environmentalism, I am not.

Like most of my political views, my opinion is to take the middle ground in order to maximize my own happiness.

I have found the trouble (and stupidity) usually lies on the fringes of ideas. This is because humans don’t operate by emotion or logic or a higher cause as much as we are run purely by habit. And being too different makes it hard to interact with others.

There’s more, too, as this is a subject that I have thought deeply and hard about.

For one thing, I am not going to leave behind anyone. So there’s no selfish reason for me to care about the environment because there are no children to leave the world to.

A friend of mine did point out that I still might be screwed if I get reincarnated on this planet. Since I believe all religions to be totally true, I believe in reincarnation (as well as heaven, hell, and the complete emptiness of the human mind as my brain flatlines).

On the other hand, there’s little to say that my individual actions do anything to help the planet.

Thus, I have come to a rough compromise regarding the planet.

I think that it’s silly to purposely trash one’s planet. Thus, if there’s an easy way to do so, I will be environmentally sound. This includes cloth napkins, composting, eschewing paper plates, and riding my bicycle.

On the other hand, there are some superstitious ways that I could be trying to help the environment only they don’t work such as saving water to an absurd length. I don’t waste water, but I don’t get uptight about it, either.

I mean what do you do with someone who recycles all their aluminum cans and uses cloth diapers and at the same time pumps out ten kids and drives a Hummer?

Oh, and I’m not sure that riding a bicycle over riding a car is even more environmentally friendly and most “environmentalists” do agree with me.

In fact, most people who call themselves environmentalists do drive cars.

Overall, I have no problem with Hummer drivers except their ugly taste in vehicles. I mean really, if you want to look tough walk through a ghetto. Better yet, get in a fight in a ghetto and run back here in one piece. Hiding behind big sheets of metal, strangely enough, doesn’t impress me.

Not that I think it’s a good idea to try to look tough in the first place. My goal is to present a friendly face at the same time not come off as a total pushover.

Part of my friendliness is sharing the fun I have cycling. I believe that one of the easiest way to see if what you are doing is moral is to see how you feel when other people do it.

For example, when I am in heavy bicycle traffic, I’m very happy because I love it when other people bicycle. Thus, I feel that it’s moral to bicycle.

But I don’t let morality get in the way of fun!

I guess this is why I don’t like the whole austerity notion of environmentalism (nor exercise) getting in the way of why I bicycle.

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