Monday 24 March 2008

Climate Change and Cycling

In November I wrote about TerraPass, a company that sells carbon offsets to people who want to reduce their transportation carbon footprint. Although this firm specializes in organizing investments in carbon-positive projects, it also provides tips on how you can reduce your environmental impact and has, on its website, written about how cycling can help the world. After all, every trip you make with a bicycle instead of a car reduces carbon output by that much. I linked to a blog article about bicycle commuting, and since then the author has had his car insurance reduced because he is driving less and no longer parking his car in a low-security area when at work. In addition, the TerraPass blog recently featured a link to an article from the Newport News, VA Daily Press reporting on the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC that suggests the high price of oil could make 2008 "the Year of the Bicycle" in the United States. Of course, for many of us it is always the Year of the Bicycle but it is good to see this kind of press.

Besides specialized companies like TerraPass, others see business opportunities in climate change. Clif Bar & Company, makers of the Clif Bar energy bar (surprise!), have a number of projects to promote sustainable development. One of these is the 2-Mile Challenge, which is built on the fact that 40 percent of urban trips in the United States are under two miles. The Challenge encourages participants to map a circle two miles in radius from their homes and ride their bikes in that area.

The company has converted a 1959 GMC bus to run on biodiesel and it is travelling around the Western US to encourage people to sign up for the challenge. In addition to giving out Clif Bars--which, I might like to point out still cost twice as much in Canada as in the United States in spite of the parity of our dollars, harrumph--the bus features interactive exhibits on bicycle commuting, with the chance to try out suitable bikes and win equipment and clothing and listen to some live music as well.

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