It’s undeniable that we are at a critical juncture to slow down climate change. While there is always work to be done, it’s impressive to see the progress that humans have made to get us closer to a net zero economy.
The move towards this new carbon economy has had profound changes in the consumer product landscape. The market is busting the seams with battery powered transportation solutions of all sizes. This strong demand is resulting in a squeeze on raw materials such as rare earth magnets to manufacture high power motors in these electric bikes, cars and scooters. Battery materials are also at a premium as the demand skyrockets.
As we work to solve the largest challenge in human history, it’s disappointing to observe that we are not considering the power of our greatest tool…. Our own bodies. We ARE a sustainable solution. Our bodies have the ability to propel us through space with great efficiency. Using our bodies has the added advantage of increasing our health. Remember that whole exercise thing? Yeah, it’s good for you.
One of the issues with the idea of using our bodies to fight climate change is the fear of behavior modification. We want to maintain the same level of convenience and comfort while we save the planet. We want to get places quickly and easily. We just want to do it guilt free. This results in society throwing batteries and motors at all of our challenges. It’s deeply short sighted.
Our strategy to battle climate change has to be multidisciplinary. There is no one perfect solution. We need to decrease the burning of fossil fuels. We need to have a carbon tax. Most importantly, we need to discuss behavior modification. If we perceive our energy economy as a leaky bucket, the focus has been on keeping the same amount of water pouring in so the level stays true. Let’s work to plug the holes in the bucket.
Many of these solutions are not as sexy as a shiny new Tesla. They are simple things like riding your leg-powered bike; putting a sweater on in the house to keep the heat lower in the winter; consider decreasing the number of children in each family and/or adopting; increasing the lifespan of our electronics by advocating for our ‘Right to Repair’. While these actions seem like common sense, they still require intention in order to happen.
What does this mean for the average person? Instead of taking your car to the gym, swap your behavior to using a leg-powered bike to get places. You can get your exercise while getting somewhere guilt free. Maybe you’ll even benefit from some fresh air.
Political policy can be insanely powerful when facing a challenge like this. Individual human behavior can be equally powerful. Consider the power of your body. Use it. It wants to be used. And you’ll be saving the planet with a big old grin on your face as you go for a ride on a beautiful day.