Posted by Alden Booth; Gill, Mass
Alden Booth is the owner of the People’s Pint, a restaurant and brewery in downtown Greenfield. After meeting with them, we were more than impressed with the way that they integrated local, seasonal food into their restaurant, discouraged large treks by devoted (or curious) patrons, and still managed to be the hub of so much life! They invited us to join them in a potluck at their neighbor’s house for some Fourth of July fireworks, after which we spent the night, picking blueberries to put on our morning oatmeal. Alden and Lissa, thanks so much!
Cycling with five college students who are volunteering their summer to spread their concern about climate change is very inspiring for me. It gives me hope for the possibility of change, a chance that this next generation will get on board with what we are doing to our earth. As I cycle the 10 miles from Greenfield to our home in Gill with these energetic and outwardly optimistic women I wonder whether their awareness of the dangers from the excessive use of internal combustion engines will lead others towards more awareness of the volume of carbon dioxide and toxic emissions being pumped into our air. How might five women on five bikes influence five women in five cars on five separate (and probably non-essential) errands who will pass them during this ride? And might they even have an impact on those in their yards who see them pass?
There is something about being on a bicycle that intensifies our plight on this earth.
Maybe it’s the sense that our body is more directly exposed to these pollutants when on a bike. Our pumping heart, expanding lungs, exposed skin wants sunshine, fresh air, and safe passage on a road dominated by large cars, going fast, spewing carbon dioxide and deadly carbon monoxide.
Or maybe its because on a bike you feel the contours of the earth, the hills and valleys that force you to consider (and thus maybe appreciate) which river’s watershed you are passing through. For us on this particular bike ride we are heading northeast out of the Green River’s backyard and over Adams Road into the Falls River watershed. And from there we climb out of Bernardston coasting into the much smaller domain of the Unadilla Brook that passes through Gill on route to the mighty Connecticut River. It’s something to consider, the beautiful rivers and how the roads wind among them.
Or maybe at this slower bicyclist’s pace, with no car windows to keep out the noise, you become much more aware of all the internal combustion engines in those yards you pass by. The noisy leaf blower that does a worse job than a simple rake and is without the benefits of a rake’s quiet effectiveness, its shoulder and back strengthening qualities, and its low cost of purchase and zero cost of maintenance. Or the ridiculous weed whacker spreading its little pieces of plastic fishing line all over your yard (our earth) and giving the owner a bizarre sense of control, power, and neatness. The riding mower going back and forth every weekend (whether that massive lawn needs a cutting or not), the power broom, the recreational 4 wheeler and dirt bike. The list of gas guzzling toys in most people’s garages goes on and on.
If these five women have considered the bicycle this summer (leading perhaps to its use for their lifetimes), might not others consider their alternatives too? Thank you Sara, Kia, Marina, Lisa, and April for cycling through my life today.