Monday, December 12, 2011

Bikes in the Heighs- Blog Post

Came across this article written by the Cleveland Heights Bike Coalition. I found it interesting and well sited so I thought I would share.


Cycling for the Environment
If we were to decrease car trips by just 50%, we could save more than 1100 lives, thousands of hospital admissions, and about $7 billion dollars in health care costs (NPR Health). All just from simply not driving on trips that are within short distances (2 miles). This was one of the “take home messages” of a lecture that was given by Dr. Jonathan Patz, MD, MPH, Professor & Director of Global Environmental Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
this past Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at the Natural History Museum. As a lead author for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he offered insights into the connection between climate change, its consequences and how an environmental friendly behavior can benefit the health of each individual.
Climate change and it’s associated dangers such as more extreme weather patterns including increased flooding and hotter and longer heat waves, increased crop failure, and the re-emergence of certain diseases we thought we had conquered (such as Malaria and Tuberculosis) are a scary and an ever more present reality . In Cleveland, we are not in a ‘danger’ area, yet we have seen a past year of record rain fall, as it flooded our outdated storm water/sewer infrastructure and poured dangerous bacteria into our lake. Climate Change doesn’t necessarily mean hotter temperatures, but rather more extreme weather conditions which will stress our already existing infrastructure.
Dr. Patz, though, stressed the opportunities available for a bleak future. Always, climate change is described by it’s detrimental effects, but also the stress on society and the economy any kind of regulations might have. But, we have yet to look at the public health benefits of changing our habits and improving our environments. After Dr. Patz had brought us together to see our collective depressing future, he showed an uplifting plan, to both combat climate change and also change ourselves in the process from the land of the obese, to the land of the clean skies and clean lungs.
There are a few simple things we can do in our daily life to combat climate change, and also increase the livability of our environments. The idea of the 2 Mile Challenge has been gaining attention in recent years (that trips under 2 miles should be made by bike, or foot, or public transportation). This simple change in our daily lives would help to combat not only obesity and improve personal health, but it would also improve the air quality and lessen green house gas emissions in our cities.

So as biker’s probably we already try to make short trips by bike or by walking. What else can we do? Encourage city officials to implement complete streets, which will help biker’s and pedestrians feel safer in their travels and will help to make car drivers more aware of other forms of transportation. And you can attend Bike Coalition Events to help create a strong, vibrant community of bikers. Even if we just make bike trips in the summer months, we can still dramatically increase our own health benefits, and our fellow citizens health. Also, check out our list of maps to aid you in your local bike trips

More lectures on climate change being curated by ‘Green City Blue Lake’ for the Natural History Museum in the upcoming weeks.