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Planner Guy on a Bike - Why, Yes, He is Sustainable!

Posted Apr 07 2011 2:29am
I've been thinking a lot about sustainability lately, mostly on the level of psychological well-being and quality of life.  I suppose, given the economy and what may or may not be a shaky recovery, a possible shutdown of the federal government and the latest antics of just about every state legislature in the country, a lot of people are asking themselves "Is this sustainable?". 

Sustainable Bob.
The Planner Guy is a mighty sustainable guy, pictured here with his bicycle prior to heading off to work.  He models here, sustainability in the traditional sense of the word - biking work, keeping fit and healthy, in a locally designed and manufactured rain jacket, carrying a messenger bag containing a sandwich made from home baked bread.  Sustainability in action, right?  But what of the man?  How is he being sustained?  His wife?  I did encourage him to purchase the bike.  At the very least, he enjoys the exercise built into his day and not having to put gas in the Element.

My question remains, are we sustaining ourselves as human beings?  Our hearts and souls?  Try as we might to shield ourselves from the  impact of all the madness that seems to be going on around us and the duplicity of what masquerades as governing and political debate, we can only shake off so much.  Drowning ourselves in homebrew only works for a so long before it becomes counter-productive (I am well aware how crazy that sounds to some).

Bob packs his bike for Master Swim class, sustaining himself by
working toward his goal of completing the 2011 Phoenix Ironman.
So I did a little bit of reading this evening on sustainability, consulting the wisdom of the Funk and Wagnalls of the 21st Century, Wikipedia.  Seems that sustainability is difficult to define, so much so that some believe it has been reduced to a "feel-good buzzword" that either means nothing or anything you want it to, depending on whether you are speaking from the offices of Nature Conservancy or BP.  But since I'm focused on the personal well-being for me and my husband, I'm pretty attracted to those definitions associated with our relationship to the consumer culture, societal  versus our personal values, the maintenance of our internal and social/external resources, our long-term economic security. 

Sustaining ourselves with new sights and experiences.
More and more I'm re-evaluating the difference between quality of life and standard of living.  Until recently, it had not occurred to me that there was an difference between the two.  Did you realize that quality of life refers to the ability to the "general well-being of societies and individuals" and that standard of living is measured by income per person and the poverty rate?  For now we still have jobs but in these uncertain economic times how does one really measure standard of living?  I'm not going to even try.  I think I'll focus on quality of life.

Dark chocolate chips and 100% whole wheat flour chocolate chip
 cookies for sustained health and a happy tummy.
Are warm and chewy, chocolate chip cookies from the Sunset Magazine Cookie Book a measure of quality of life?  I'll ask Bob when he wakes up from . . . .

Yes, the picture is fuzzy but so is the dog.
his nap on the sofa with Ashby.  Another measure perhaps?
Bike love.
But this is a bike blog, is it not?  In conducting my one hour of research for this post I came across this on-line post from Taiga Company by Sustainability Consultant Julie Urlaub entitled 15 Reasons to Fall in Love with Your Bike .  No arguments from me.

Something tells me PJ O'Rourke doesn't know a thing about sustainability (or sadly, care) or quality of life.  If you haven't read his April 2 column in the Wall Street Journal (no surprises there) about bike lanes in NYC  do so now, then read the comments. 
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