Because PlanetThoughts.org is about consciousness-raising and taking action towards a better way of life, we consider a shift towards individual initiative and freedom from corporate culture as goals with importance equal to the more standard goal of reduction in consumption. All of these goals are important for achieving a shift in society.
In that light, the World Naked Bike Ride, taking place in the Northern Hemisphere mostly on June 12th, has much to offer (note: it is not required that riders be totally naked; it is an option that many take, and others do not). Here are some of the values being promoted by this world-wide action:
- Reduce use of fossil fuels through increased use of bicycles instead of cars or other vehicles
- Increase healthiness through more exercise
- Break free from corporate culture which, in simplified forms, could be summarized as driving your personal car to the shopping mall in order to get burgers and fries, to pick up plastic toys made in China and the latest clothing "needs" also made at least partially from plastic, and perhaps (if you are over 30) go to the pharmacy to pick up medications for a variety of health conditions, followed by a pleasant drive home feeling satiated but slightly ill, and glowing with newly acquired but somehow unsatisfying purchases.
- Take some personal risk by showing as much of one's body as one dares to or cares to (total nakedness is NOT required, but some do exercise that option). This makes the action a more personal statement in protest of the car and fossil fuel culture
Now, I am not sure that all aspects of the WNBR are on-target as expressions of mature civil disobedience. Then again, I am confident that the current way of life in all of the developed nations is not sustainable and is quite dangerous to life on this planet, so any action that offers alternatives should be given serious consideration.
After reading the advice offered by WNBR about being respectful to local communities, about answering heckling with positive and expressive words, and about respecting other riders who approach the ride with various levels of clothing and various attitudes, I concluded that WNBR is worth supporting and publicizing. The thought processes are goods ones, and WNBR can be seen as another attempt to somehow break through the fog and inertia of the world's current pattern of wasteful and toxic production, consumption, and disposal.
May the weather be agreeable, and may some eyes be, literally and figuratively, opened.
And thanks, Zachary Shahan, for bringing this to my attention.