A recent discussion has come up in the context of our work program concerning your editor’s long-standing unwillingness to hop on a plane, travel great distances to make a “cameo appearance”, and then scurry back to his burrow in Paris. Since 1995 we have tried hard to maintain a consistent policy about this kind of travel, which you can find here at “Our Personal Choices — and Our (un)Sustainable Lives“. However this does not mean that it is impossible to have some form of lively, “hot” presentation and interaction on topics of high mutual interest without that dreaded trip to the airport. With a bit of preparation and at low cost, we can do an excellent job at creating a lively and engaging interactive low-carbon environment. Let’s have look. Continue reading
I don’t think we can buy the argument anymore that we deserve special dispensation just because we think what we are doing is worthwhile.
Let’s see. At last count there were already well more than seven billion of us sharing this suddenly very small planet. And let’s say, just to get a crude handle on this, that each of us, whether in Mali or Malibu, makes something like a hundred “personal planet action choices” each day, leading to specific actions which when we had them all up have quite a potential impact on our earth.
In the 1960s, a Dutchman named Luud Schimmelpennink created a ‘”white bike” plan to fight against harmful pollution and cars. His invention has changed public transportation around the world. So why did his bicycle-loving home city never embrace it?
To understand Luud Schimmelpennink’s White Bicycle Plan, it helps to have a look at the broader context of values, philosophy and politics that were prevailing in Amsterdam at that time – the Provos, a Dutch counterculture youth movement in the mid-1960s.
Hairdryers in one Scottish city used to slow traffic
I propose we keep this simple and collaborative. Starting as we did yesterday with a simple announcement suggesting that perhaps this could be an idea well worth pursuing, together. And then as a next step in this process opening up several coordinated channels for your thoughts, comments and perhaps additional articles and references on Luud’s work and contributions that may, small step by small step, start to give us a firmer foundation to pursue this idea.
So at this point I believe that my best contribution will not be to add additional essays with my own thoughts and reasons on this, but rather to open up the field for sharing your thoughts.
Dear Friends of a Sustainable Penang,
I am hard at work on a challenging book under the title BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to Smaller Asian Cities, which is not about Penang, the focus being much broader. However, at one point in the book I intend to comment on some of the most interesting things I have observed that are being done in Penang via the internet and civil society in order to broaden the debate and inform both concerned citizens, government, the business community, policy makers and the public more generally. We call this The Third Force.