Change is a funny thing. Often when I discuss subjects like urban agriculture someone will scoff and say, “You can’t feed everyone through urban farming.” But the hope is to reduce our dependance on, not eliminate, industrial agriculture. (And is it churlish to point out that our current agricultural system also doesn’t feed everyone?) When I raise the prospect of renewable energy I can expect a similar response- and have a similar answer at the ready. The same goes for biking. When I argue for continuing the expansion of bike lanes in NYC I am rebuffed with a lot of high dudgeon about how biking isn’t for everyone, that sometimes you need to transport kids or groceries, etc. etc. But no one is calling for the impound of all combustion powered vehicles. We are simply hoping to make the city a more hospitable place for cyclists and pedestrians. I have found that the arguments that are most persuasive in this regard are the ones that explain the multiple positive impacts of these new systems. Not just from one perspective but from many. The folks at an organization called Healthcare Management Degree have developed a series of infographics on biking and health that are brilliant example of this. Their graphics link the impact of driving on public health, the positive impacts of biking on individual health (average weight loss in ONE YEAR = 13 lbs.!) and, perhaps the most compelling argument in this era of tight budgets, the considerable reduction in health care costs. They might have expanded these issues to include positive community impacts like the retention of local dollars, but they are a health care company so we’ll let that slide.
Santa- all I want for Christmas is for someone to develop a similar set of graphics for my other pet causes: retrofitting existing buildings, smart growth planning, and coffee.