Art project will put Portland riders on a pedestal as climate change heroes

Posted by on October 16th, 2015 at 1:13 pm

“Bicyclists are today’s heroes.”
(Photo by Bill Cravis)

Ever felt like you weren’t getting the props you deserve for riding your bike everyday and not spewing toxic, climate-change inducing exhaust into the air? An artist from Bend wants to fix that.

Bill Cravis is an assistant professor in the Fine Art and Communications Department at Central Oregon Community College and his latest art project aims to show how, “bicyclists are today’s heroes – contemporary mavericks who play an active role in reducing the threat of global climate change.”

To make his point, Cravis will set up a photo shoot in the South Park Blocks in front of the Portland Art Museum on October 24th. If you show up, you’ll be asked to climb up onto a miniature plinth with your bike and become a “living statue”. Artist Paula Bullwinklel will then photograph you right next to the bronze statue that depicts Theodore Roosevelt as a Rough Rider.

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All the images will be uploaded to a website and will be available to download for free. Each image will also have a quote from the subject that “relates to his/her use of a bicycle in Portland.”

The event is a benefit for and collaboration between Caldera, an arts non-profit that helps youth with limited opportunites and Fallen Fruit of Portland, a group of artists who use fruit to examine concepts of place, history, and public space.

— For more information about this event, download the flyer (PDF).

— Jonathan Maus
jonathan@bikeportland.org
(503) 706-8804
@BikePortland

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73 Comments
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    UncleMuscles October 16, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I’m definitely not a hero. I just like riding my bike to work sometimes. Let’s save that word for people that deserve it.

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      Alan 1.0 October 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Spoken like a true hero.

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      9watts October 16, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      and yet… the majority of our fellow citizens are not doing what you are doing, but if they did… If they discovered how plausible it is, how much fun, we could have much more interesting and productive conversations about how we’re going to vanquish this foe that is our fossil fuel habit.

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        BeavertonRider October 17, 2015 at 5:33 pm

        Foe? Capitalism fueled by fossil fuels have generated the greatest advances in the human condition in world history. Additionally, our use of fossil fuels gets cleaner and cleaner every year.

        I understand the hyper-angst that is being created by alarmist reporting, I’d be anxious, too, if I didn’t know any better. But our impact on and our ability to alter global climate change is tiny. The arrogance necessary to believe that we human can significantly alter this planet’s climate is staggering.

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          9watts October 18, 2015 at 8:58 pm

          Thanks for opening my eyes.

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          Peter W October 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

          >… I’d be anxious, too, if I didn’t know any better.

          LOL. You must know quite a lot to disagree with the overwhelming consensus of scientists. What are your qualifications? Have you thought about a job sharing your vast wisdom over at Fox “news”?

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      9watts October 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      UncleMuscles, who do you think are the people who deserve it?

      “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” (Oregon Governor Tom McCall)

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      Glenn October 17, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      I think the problem I have with the “hero” recognition is precisely the fact that it’s considered heroic to do something that should be the norm — and in fact HAS to be the norm, if there is to be any meaningful impact on CO2 levels. I realize it sounds like a paradox or contradiction to say this.

      In Amsterdam where the biking mode share is 40%, for example, imagine taking one of them aside and calling them a Climate Hero. They would look at you with that mixture of amusement and pity that you might reserve for a particularly slow child. They take it for granted, one makes the obvious choices needed to produce the desired result.

      In other words this was a nice thought but also ultimately a stark reminder of how behind-the-times and car-addicted America is. Hence the paradox.

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    9watts October 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    The German government has identified people who bike (as a class, not individuals) as Climate Heroes for some time now. As a gesture I always thought that very high-minded.
    The campaign is called Turn on your head; turn off your motor: toward zero CO2 for short distances.
    http://www.kopf-an.de/

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    rainbike October 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    The Millennials among us will wonder why their plinth is not larger.

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      rachel b October 16, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Har! 🙂

      I also want a larger plinth. 🙂

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      Whippersnapper October 17, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      One of many narrow sighted ways the Geriatrics among us humor themselves. Although more common in the generation just on the wrong side of 40 than us millennials, entitlement issues span all ages and are more relative to the practice of awareness(or lack of) and lifestyle choices and experience rather than simply age. But what do I know, I’m a millennial.

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        Whippersnapper October 17, 2015 at 11:22 pm

        *Arguably more common, I guess its a smaller plinth for me : (

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    Todd Boulanger October 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I love the 1980s/ 1970s Bell helmet and gear. (Reminds me of the brain bucket the Peace Corps gave us in the tropics back in the 80s!)

    Perhaps a better model for the statue would be: 1970s bike rider (sans helmet with street clothes) for the bike bill.

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    rachel b October 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Too great! Funny and also right on.

    I was thinking along similar lines as I looked yesterday at all the people crammed uncomfortably into buses (from the window of my standing-room-only MAX). As with biking, I know some have no choice but to take mass transit but a whole lot likewise do it voluntarily–not just to avoid traffic hassles/save $$ but to keep one more exhaust-spewing thing off the road.

    The word hero does get thrown around too much but people making these choices today really are my heroes. These little choices, in aggregate, have the power to make all the difference to our limping planet. And I can’t believe that just came out of my mouth (er, keyboard) as I am about as Eeyore as you can get. I don’t have any hope that people will, en masse, ever come to their senses and voluntarily give up privilege. But the ones who do really chip away at my cynical and crusty heart, and I thank them from the bottom of it.
    [And I do know that many of the people I just described moved here from elsewhere, specifically with giving up stuff (cars, mainly) in mind, so shame on me if I’ve ever made anyone of that ilk feel unwelcome, ever. I want more of yooze!]

    I hope I live to see the day when we look at old video of freeways and clogged city streets and people biking and walking and running (and breathing) right next to toxic clouds coming from tailpipes as (obviously!) complete lunacy. “What were they thinking??!!”

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    Dave October 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    About damn time somebody figured that out!

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    scott October 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    This is the fuel of the us versus them fire.

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      9watts October 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      who do you think are the climate heroes, scott?

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        scott October 16, 2015 at 4:33 pm

        “Climate heroes” is a terrible term. It actually turns my stomach. Doing something and wanting heroic recognition for it is something Trump would do. Acting like someone who chooses cycling as a means of transport is a hero is a superb recipe for alienating people who may not cycle, but would otherwise be open to transportation issues being inclusive.

        This is a bad idea and giving it media coverage is even worse.

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          9watts October 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm

          Thanks for explaining where you’re coming from, scott. This is fascinating to me.
          “Acting like someone who chooses cycling as a means of transport is a hero is a superb recipe for alienating people who may not cycle, but would otherwise be open to transportation issues being inclusive.”

          I don’t follow this line of thinking at all. It is a pretty common tactic to hold up exemplary behavior ($7000 tax credit for buying an electric vehicle, Commute Challenge winner, Bus driver of the year, etc. to name just a few off the top of my head that have a transportational dimension) Do you think those are all also bunk, or do you feel that somehow cycling is different, tainted, unredeemable?

          And this alienating thing, how does that work exactly? Why would that be more likely than someone (who doesn’t yet bike) seeing this behavior-that-is-given-this-kind-of-exposure as not just tempting but perhaps also having a larger social value? To me this kind of campaign, whether privately or publicly sponsored, has the potential for reifying a mode choice that still struggles in certain circles for legitimacy.

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            scott October 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm

            Tax credits you receive aren’t posted as a trophy, the Bike Commute Challenge is a contest so a winner is a forgone conclusion, and employee of the month type contests are more about company morale and camaraderie among level employees.

            The problem as I see it with cycling, is that in the current climate of the U.S. it still has that “preachy” feel.

            Status quo transportation in the U.S. is what? Cars. So when you talk about driving to work it is easy for a mass to relate. Cycling is currently outsider, so including people in it is much harder, and on certain levels it is easier for people to feel bad about not doing it. It’s like veganism, or religion, or yoga. They may be the best things you can do for yourself, but you need to find it comfortably. Not have it presented as something that makes you wrong for what you are doing now or as something that you have to do.

            This absolutely doesn’t mean I don’t think cycling is good for the environment. I do. That’s not in question. It’s just something I have said time and again about the way it is presented in the U.S.

            We are not getting rid of cars anytime soon. So for cycling to be taken seriously patting each other on the back and calling each other heroes isn’t going to do it.

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              9watts October 16, 2015 at 5:33 pm

              This may seem like a subtle distinction, but the campaign here doesn’t propose to put driver’s heads on a pike; it celebrates one (rarely mentioned) salutary dimension of cycling, and in a quirky manner.

              “Not have it presented as something that makes you wrong for what you are doing now or as something that you have to do.”

              If that is the takeaway, perhaps that says more about the listener than the speaker. What do you think it would take to get more people to stop driving? To me this effort is a lot more amusing and creative than the Drive More Save Less billboards we see around town, precisely because it focuses on the behavior we could use more of, is simple, and to the point.

              “Cycling is currently outsider, so including people in it is much harder, and on certain levels it is easier for people to feel bad about not doing it.”

              Right. To my knowledge we’ve never even tried the climate->bike angle in any kind of campaign here in the US. So how could we know it’s effects before we give it a try? Most people probably already know that they should drive less or not at all. The trick is to figure out how to get from that not-very-inspiring guilt-thing to something more concrete and actionable. I fail to see how equating bicycling with climate heroes (automatically) does any of the things you imagine. And if the audience’s guilt and torment over their transportational choices is that close to the surface, maybe we should have more of these campaigns not fewer.
              I’d rather have the truth (commuting by bike is good for the climate) than smarmy, mushy advice for how to turn my I-phone into a mobile GPS unit under the guise of…well what exactly?
              http://drivelesssavemore.com/driving-resources#find-driving-resources-in-your-area

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                scott October 20, 2015 at 11:46 am

                You always get more flies with honey, rather than vinegar, but you can pour vinegar a lot faster.

                It’s already happening that people are choosing not to own cars. If they choose bikes instead, great. If not, still great.

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      Mao October 16, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Yeah. This actuality makes me feel a bit embarrassed.

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        9watts October 16, 2015 at 3:40 pm

        Can you explain why?

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          Mao October 16, 2015 at 11:42 pm

          I bike because
          1 – I’m cheap and biking is the best method for me to save every dollar I get.
          2 – I can go on long aimless rides without worrying about being wasteful.

          When someone says “You’re so amazing/brave for (Random thing I don’t really choose to do)” It feels weird and uncomfortable.

          I’ll stand up proud if called out for my volunteer work, since I choose to do that for no repayment and costs me a small amount of personal resources. But I do it because I love it and I know someone needs to help fill in. (Rehab center for Birds of Prey, my scars have almost faded after a year!)

          Bikes should be a normal thing, I don’t want to be called out for good or bad because I’m riding a bike. “I’m saving the world, aren’t I a hero?” is like someone saying “Look at all theses donations I’ve made, aren’t I great?” It comes off as very self-serving and fame-hungry. Literally being placed on a pedestal.

          More ramblings than anything.

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            9watts October 17, 2015 at 8:21 am

            Thanks for explaining, Mao. I get that. I am also not in the least interested in anyone looking at what I do and saying in a smarmy tone: “Ooh, look, a Climate Hero!!” But I do think establishing the connection in people’s minds between regular folks bicycling and the climate challenge could go far. I mean WHY AREN’T WE HAVING A CONVERSATION IN THIS COUNTRY THAT RECOGNIZES THE CLIMATE DIMENSION OF TRANSPORTATION?

            Several folks here have pounced on this idea from an individual perspective. I, Mao/scott/UncleMuscles/James Sherbondy, don’t want to think of myself as a hero. Fine. But what if we look at this not from the narrow view of one person but from the perspective of policy, of CO2 emissions, or of what is sometimes called social marketing? This isn’t I don’t think really about you or me but about how to affect social change.

            We can debate whether this is an effective way to try to bring about social change, but I think treating this as an either-or thing is strange: Either I do this for selfish, mundane, non-heroic reasons, or I am a hero. I think Tom McCall’s point was that this binary view of behavior/action/initiative may not be so helpful.

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              James Sherbondy October 17, 2015 at 10:52 am

              Because coming at it from the climate change side of thing is pointless in my opinion. I don’t think anyone but a total dolt doesn’t realize that they’re adding CO2 and other GHG every time they drive the car. People aren’t driving because they want to destroy the world, they’re driving because they feel they need to. And heaping a bunch of guilt and shame on them for sure isn’t going to help them see that cycling can be a viable option to the car.

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                9watts October 17, 2015 at 11:07 am

                “People aren’t driving because they want to destroy the world, they’re driving because they feel they need to. And heaping a bunch of guilt and shame on them for sure isn’t going to help them see that cycling can be a viable option to the car.”

                All right. So what is your proposal for how we’re going to get out of this muck? Get through to people who are still driving? Wean ourselves off fossil fuels? It isn’t like Climate Change is going to wait for us to figure this out, that we have another 25 years. The time is up – has been up for, oh, about twenty five years.

                And even though you and scott have asserted this, celebrating the climate significance of biking isn’t heaping guilt and shame on drivers. People at some point need to start taking responsibility for their choices.

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                BeavertonRider October 17, 2015 at 5:42 pm

                What “muck”? The environment in the US is far cleaner than it was even 20 years ago and continues to improve. It’s hilarious that we ignore this very simple fact.

                Every year, we put less and less carbon into the atmosphere (as though that even matters, anyway). And keep in mind, that there’s far less carbon in today’s atmosphere than there was millions of years ago – another very simple fact we ignore.

                I see irony in your assertion that the climate isn’t going to wait for us to figure it, that the time is up and has been up for 25 years. If time has been up for 25 years – well, where’s the catastrophic climate change?

                I notice that in all of this climate change puffery is the compelling need to just “do something”. Just as we see following every mass shooting, there’s this instinctual need to be able to say that “we did something” no matter whether was is being proposed or what was done actually accomplished anything at all.

                We really just need to stop trying to scare or guilt people into the actions you appear to favor.

                Please recognize that fossil fuels have fueled the greatest advancements in the human condition in world history. I mean, look, communist Russia and China are filthy environments, far dirtier and far worse than our own. The US is far cleaner and will continue to become more clean just as we have for the last 5 decades.

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                James Sherbondy October 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

                The only way I’ve ever been successful in getting friends of mine to ditch the car ( for short trips or commutes) is to convince them how easy, fun, and cheap it is.

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                rachel b October 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

                Plenty o’ evidence of catastrophe going around, BR! Are you kidding?
                Just ask Kiribati and Tuvalu and the Carterets and Barrow and, well, California. ‘Round here, we’re just eerily warm/hot when we shouldn’t be, and dessicating, which is giving me the willies (besides making me incredibly irritable, as a redhead and eternal summer-hater). But other regions are regularly getting it socked to them (bigger and more frequent storms and hurricanes and tornadoes, flooding, drought, extreme cold, etc). I am not a scientist but I rounded up some sciencey links from NASA, Scientific American, Discovery and The Smithsonian. Only took a couple minutes. There’s plenty of evidence out there, and from globally-recognized trusted resources.

                http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/

                http://climate.nasa.gov/news/

                http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/barrow-alaska-ground-zero-for-climate-change-7553696/?no-ist

                http://news.discovery.com/earth/global-warming/2015-arctic-sea-ice-how-low-will-it-go-150706.htm

                http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/top-10-places-already-affected-by-climate-change/

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                rachel b October 17, 2015 at 11:49 pm

                I’m all for the guilt and shame heaping, actually. I think it does help.

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                James Sherbondy October 18, 2015 at 7:57 am

                Talk to a person who’s overweight and see if shaming helps.

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                rachel b October 18, 2015 at 10:12 am

                I will talk to myself then, yes, thanks. 😉 I don’t think that’s a good comparison, though. A corpus is not a car.

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                rachel b October 18, 2015 at 10:20 am

                (just to be clear–I do not endorse shaming fat people! Don’t do it, kids! But I absolutely do endorse, at this critical point in our history, shaming head-in-the-sand normalized polluting behaviors. 9watts says it so well, just above)

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    Terry D-M October 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I am not a spiritual or religious person, but I have been an environmentalist my entire adult life. I starting following Climate Change Science in the early 1990s, and as it has advanced my carbon consumption has dropped as I changed my lifestyle more and more.

    When my husband and I were at the peak of our carbon output in the DARK TIMES of suburban living when we were young, I estimate that we spewed about 40 tons of carbon per year. We are now down to about 8.

    If there is ONE spiritual goal that drives me is that I want to leave this world in a CARBON NEUTRAL manner. To mitigate the first half of our lives, we need to drop OTHER people’s carbon output to compensate.

    Thus, I became a bike activist.

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      soren October 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      If we don’t go carbon negative soon, the ongoing 6th mass extinction will likely include many, many homo sapiens.

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    James Sherbondy October 16, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Like other posters have said, I’m no hero for riding a bike. I ride because I hate traffic and I like saving money. The free exercise isn’t bad either. I suffer no delusions of grandeur that my bike ride is going to save the world. Me commenting on this story probably uses more energy than a person in Africa does in a day.

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      soren October 16, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      A few minutes of browsing the web emits a few grams of CO2e. Per capita daily use in Africa ranges from hundreds of grams per day (Somalia) to many dozens of kilograms (South Africa).

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        James Sherbondy October 16, 2015 at 6:38 pm

        Way to throw a wet blanket on my old man rant 🙂

        Still, as an American with all my creature comforts and whatnots, my carbon output is SO much greater than many others in the world, even if I do attempt to keep it low.

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          Terry D-M October 16, 2015 at 10:54 pm

          We are at about global average per capita carbon consumption….but we do not drive, rarely travel except by train, eat local…and cheat by buying carbon off-sets for our tiny natural gas footprint and our electrical consumption (plus our Amtrak trips). This did take a full re-insulation of our house to make possible however as a 1902 is not the most energy efficient building model year….

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    9watts October 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    This is how many cities in Germany who participated in the campaign I mentioned above highlighted the link between bicycling and climate change:
    https://www.braunschweig.de/leben/stadtplan_verkehr/kopf_kopf/reserviert.html

    Banners attached to bike racks at train stations proclaiming ‘Reserved for Climate Heroes.’

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    daisy October 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    I’ll confess to being terribly disappointed that this is happening on a Saturday rather than a day when I bike commute right by.

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      Bill Cravis October 21, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Reply from the artist: totally understandable… but if you happen to wake up on Saturday with the urge to participate in Monument For Bicyclists, please come by!

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    chris October 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Why is it so easy for everyone to demonize the internal combustion engine for climate change when anyone who can read should be aware by now that the livestock industry produces 40 percent more greenhouse gasses than planes, trains, and automobiles combined? And not just a larger amount, but more harmful to the atmosphere type, methane. I’m pretty sure there are more people eating meat 7 days a week versus driving to work 5 days a week. Another unpleasant reality, free range cows fart more methane than factory cows, so don’t act like you’re helping by eating them instead.

    It is frustrating to see Emily Finch types pretend they care/made into heros, and then spew out 5 climate-change inducing kids and feed them all bacon. Enjoy patting yourselves on the back for your caveman mentality paleo/atkins diet, I think I’ll stay on the Einstein/Dali Lama diet, 20 years meat free for me.

    It’s great that you promote biking for health and reducing traffic, but if you are going to blame motorists for pollution while feeding your family meat, you are full of bull. Hypocrisy, pure and simple.

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      9watts October 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Did I lose my way? Are we on eatportland.org?

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      soren October 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      in my experience, a bit more tact is generally more successful in convincing people to reduce their consumption of decaying flesh and mammary gland secretions.

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        rachel b October 16, 2015 at 11:44 pm

        …or, just use your description! I think it worked for me. Ew! But…perfectly accurate.

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          soren October 17, 2015 at 4:22 pm

          sorry for the graphic language….just watched the walking dead.

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            rachel b October 17, 2015 at 11:53 pm

            Hah! 🙂 It was only the truth.

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        Chris I October 17, 2015 at 5:09 pm

        But they’re so tasty.

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        chris October 17, 2015 at 5:49 pm

        Yeah, you catch more flies with honey, but sugar coating the truth doesn’t make it taste better, or something…

        how many bad food puns can i use?

        Maybe i should refrain from posting things online right after i get home from work, that “please don’t run me over, please don’t run me over” post commute adrenaline rush can leave me a bit aggro sometimes.

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      Terry D-M October 16, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      No one can be perfect, and I admit most of the remaining carbon in our household that could theoretically be cut would be by going Vegan. I spent four years living in a Vegan/Veggie commune with endless supplies of communal food….if that could not turn me vegan, nothing will.

      That said, most of our meat consumption is locally grown and free range….though I am under no misconceptions. We go Bison over cow, non processed and organic when we can. Cost is a limiting factor, as is the fact we are perpetually underweight so we need a high caloric intake.

      Cows need to be eliminated, in favor of Bison and Ostrich which are much better for you and do not have the methane problem cows do….and take a LOT less water.

      Keep in mind though, the internal combustion engine does a lot more damage than just through spewing carbon. It created a sprawling suburban lifestyle…which in turn, combined with a dreadful diet based on factory farming and High Fructose Corn Syrup….created a population that does not exercise and has high rates of diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of other obesity related problems.

      The doctor always said….diet and exercise.

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        Mao October 16, 2015 at 11:45 pm

        I hear rabbit is a good ratio. A world where we eat rabbit over beef probably won’t happen, but I enjoy the taste.

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          Terry D-M October 17, 2015 at 12:14 am

          We feed our cats rabbit and have cooked with it before. I like it. We feed them venison as well. Not the cheapest, but healthy and local.

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    Svetlana October 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I gave up my car some number of years ago because it was sitting in front of my house most of the time while I commuted to work on my bike. I do not consider myself a hero. To be honest, I gave up my car because I wanted to simplify my life and have freedom from the responsibility and hassle of a car. I hated wondering if the window would be broken out when I went to get in my car or having it stolen. I hated being so chained to the thing. I live and work only 2-3 miles apart and live close to everything so it really was not that hard to take the leap. Getting people out of their cars? I think increased density in the city will increase bike riding and the the “20-minute” neighbourhood (where you can walk to everything you need in 20 minutes or less) would help. My women friends are all “women of a certain age” as am I and they are scared of riding in traffic. I’m not, but they are. If riding were a whole lot safer, more people would ride. I don’t blame people who are afraid. You have to really be vigilant and watch what everyone else is doing to be safe on a bike. I do not feel like a hero. I don’t really think about the emissions I’m not spewing, I just love the breeze and not sitting in a metal container as I cruise down the street and I stay healthy keeping my physical chops tight. I have to say, I wish there were lots more older ladies on bikes. Now that would be cool! So, bottom line, I think if we want more people to ride bikes for their transportation, we need to design our city like we mean it. I don’t really care about the hero thing.

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    Andy K October 17, 2015 at 7:05 am

    I felt pretty good about myself until I read the comments.

    I park my bike In the garage of my 5000sf house next to a Hummer H2 and a freezer with 50 pounds of beef.

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    SE October 17, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I ride for exercise, freedom, adventure, fresh air and cause I’m cheap (hate going to the gas station) . NO Hero here.

    When my son was in grade school, they gave everybody HERO stickers , it’s become nearly meaningless.

    Like the Post Office ..send PRIORITY mail. Well, when everybody does it, it all becomes normal mail at a higher cost.

    Stop devaluating the term HERO and use it sparingly for those who deserve it , not for everybody who rides a bike. It’s just a transportation choice, not a cause.

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      soren October 18, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      IMO, we devalue the term hero by awarding medals and public praise to the butchers of children, mothers, families, and wedding parties.

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    9watts October 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Bill Cravis: Bicyclists are today’s heroes – contemporary mavericks who play an active role in reducing the threat of global climate change.

    James Sherbondy: I suffer no delusions of grandeur that my bike ride is going to save the world.

    If we think of the bicycle as an alternative to the car (and some of us do), then I think Bill is right. If we took the trouble, collectively, to wean ourselves off the car, then not only would we
    (a) eliminate that sizable share of fossil fuel consumption from our lives, we would have
    (b) experienced what it’s like to tackle (one aspect of) this daunting predicament we’ve saddled ourselves with, and
    (c) find ourselves in a *much* better position to attend to the remaining aspects.

    A key obstacle from my perspective is the paralyzing ignorance of not knowing where to start, who to turn to, of lacking the confidence that we can, actually, succeed at this, not just individually but collectively. Since we have to start somewhere, why not with the bicycle? What better gateway drug is there?

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    Mark October 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    The folks who ride cargo bikes full time with their kids onboard are my true heroes. Given that every bad decision regarding transportation seems to revolve around the transport of snowflakes….I am in awe of parents who do it all without a car.

    That’s not me.

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    hotrodder October 17, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    rachel b
    Har! :)I also want a larger plinth. 🙂Recommended 3

    “Miniature Plinth”

    What’s the determining factor in deciding if a plinth is average, large or miniature?

    I’m thinking of the miniature Stonehenge in “Spinal Tap”

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      Alan 1.0 October 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Does this plinth make my bike look phat?

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      Glenn October 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      With plinths it’s not about how big it is, it’s how you use it.

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      rachel b October 17, 2015 at 11:58 pm

      HAH! These all in a row made me laugh, hotrodder, Alan and Glenn. 🙂 The little children of Stone’enge WILL dance around our plinths, no matter the size!

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      Bill Cravis October 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Good point, hotrodder. The plinth I’ve constructed is a miniature version of the nearby plinth holding Teddy Roosevelt on horseback. In other words, “miniature” connotes a scale relationship to the original.
      Rest assured, I measured in feet, not inches. Bring your actual size bike to the event! Hope to see you there on Saturday!

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    Middle of the Road guy October 17, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    What is the carbon footprint of a bicycle? From fabrication through daily maintenance (lube, tires, etc)? Also, is use of carbon based infrastructure factored in? Cement and asphalt are not exactly zero carbon.

    Anyone know?

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      James Sherbondy October 18, 2015 at 8:19 am

      I would posit magnitudes less than a car. An actual number I do not have but very unscientifically, try going by the weight. 5000# car, 20# bike. If you make an ass out of u and me that the footprint is the same per pound, the bike has 250 times less of a footprint. Also lifecycle of the product is big too. My Schwinn is from the early 80’s and there are a lot of them riding around today. You don’t see many cars on the road from the early 80’s these days. I have had an 8 oz. bottle of chain lube for for a few years now, my car goes through 12-16 quarts of oil a year ( oil changes, not burning).

      I would not factor in existing roads either. They’re built already, that carbon cost is sunk, no use trying to use it to gin up transportation CO2 numbers.

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        lop October 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

        Is everyone vegan now? Two people who eat a cheeseburger to fuel their bike ride would’ve been better off driving together in a small car to skip the meal.

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          Mao October 18, 2015 at 5:21 pm

          Now what if it’s a cheeseburger from locally raised cattle vs a vegan friendly meal using out of season vegetables imported from Chile, New Zealand, and Vietnam?

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          Alex Reed October 20, 2015 at 4:32 pm

          Your math only works if you assume that your hypothetical people wouldn’t have eaten the cheeseburgers anyway if they had driven. I’m pretty sure that’s not a good assumption.

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    Bill Cravis October 19, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    A note from the creator of Monument for Bicyclists:

    Wow, it’s gratifying to see so many comments and strong feelings regarding my upcoming interactive artwork, Monument for Bicyclists, which is to take place this Saturday!!!

    I understand that many people do not want to call unnecessary attention to themselves as “climate heroes.” Humility is a valuable character trait to possess in the 21st century. In more extreme terms another commenter noted, “…Acting like someone who chooses cycling as a means of transport is a hero is a superb recipe for alienating people who may not cycle, but would otherwise be open to transportation issues being inclusive…”

    (The same commenter wrote, “Doing something and wanting heroic recognition for it is something Trump would do,” a remark that, when scrutinized, strikes me as being just a bit irrational. Can we really compare a person’s participation, in an interactive public artwork that honors bicyclists, as “something Trump would do,” presumably for his own gain?
    Granted, the sentiment of the commenter is genuine. Long before the Golden Age of Irony in which we live, the German playwright Bertolt Brecht said,, “Whenever there are great virtues, it’s a sure sign something’s wrong.” My intuition tells me that Brecht is primarily ribbing the rich and powerful, not the two-wheeled.)

    The actual title of the interactive artwork is “Monument for Bicyclists”, not “Climate Change Heroes.” Many of the comments indicate that the word Hero, in particular, touches a nerve. My project is intended to be playful and inclusive, not arrogant and exclusive, and is open to bicyclists of all description: i.e. those who bicycle for fitness; for socializing; for commuting to work; and those who feel they are taking a personal, if small, stand in their crusade against greenhouse gases. Of course, those who look in the mirror and see a climate change hero under that bike helmet are equally welcome!

    The event is noon – 4 pm, in the vicinity of the Theodore Roosevelt monument, right in front of the Portland Museum of Art. (To sweeten the pot, the museum will be providing free admission, all day, to the new exhibition, “Paradise”)

    I hope to see some of the BikePortland coalition at the event! If you show up and participate, you will instantly be my hero, whether you like it or not, because there’s nothing worse for an interactive public artwork than a lack of participants!

    Feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns.
    If you’d like to see some of my previous projects:
    http://www.williamcravis.com

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