Since I bought my little Echo in 2006 to get to work during the winter months, I've thought and talked about cycling to work at least during the warm months. I went on cycling and hiking trips during my spring vacations this year and last and cycled a fair bit on weekends. And for the past month or so, I took my bike with me to work on the back of the car so I could cycle during my lunch hour. But it wasn't until today that I began to cycle to and from work again.
It's a little embarrassing, and I suppose I could brag about what I'm doing rather than admitting why I'm starting it just now, that money and fitness ultimately trumped environmental concern in motivating me to leave the car at home and cycle to work instead. But, embarrassing as it is, it serves to illustrate an important point: money talks. Indeed, money can be a powerful tool in the activist's toolbox.
Just last week I had to dish out the money to secure our new place in Hamilton, an expense largely unplanned for, at least the timing of it, and this right after returning from vacation. And fuel prices are now higher than I've ever seen them, reaching as much as $1.25/litre. Add to this the fact that, since teacher's college and my short teaching stint, I had gained a fair bit of weight, a trend not at all eased by my current cubicled management position. These two factors combined, as indicated already, served to push me over the edge from thinking about leaving the car at home to actually doing it.
How does all this relate to veganism? Easy. Through our purchasing choices, at the grocery store and the restaurant, we harness the power of money. It might be said that the real activism is in the exercise of choice, but I think my point stands that money is the tool we use in the exercise of choice. By chosing to purchase one thing and not another, we ultimately influence the choices the shopkeeper and restaurateur must make to stay profitable, as also the manufacturer, and thus effect change, however slowly.
Now, bringing this discussion back to me and my cycling to work instead of driving to work with bicycle in tow, I must say that I feel good, aching musles and all, about the decision. And my partner and I have already begun planning, little by little and as money allows, ways to decrease our reliance on the automobile (I must say that works better in larger cities) and increase our use of human power. Any suggestions, tips, tricks, leads, and so on, will be much appreciated, as many items such as bicycle cargo trailers, bike panniers, and cycling clothes, are rather expensive.