From far away I am following the growth of the cycling paths in São Paulo. From far away because I am living in London, where I use the bicycle to commute. On March 7th, 2015 people here marched again for the Climate, the March was led by cyclists, everything was super organized and coordinated, those who were protesting on their bikes pedaled slowly and stopped to wait for the people who were on foot.
Perhaps you are wondering what cyclists were doing in a Climate Change protest? Cars are responsible for releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas and the main responsible for global warming. Cars are also responsible for traffic, YES there is traffic in London! So cyclists were there, supporting this way of transportation that does not pollute, helps to alleviate the city traffic, it is good for our health and therefore for our mind. Only here there are 170,000 people who cycle every day and the mayor is investing in the improvement and extension of the super bike paths which will increase the number people who use bike to commute. However, as in Sampa, here there are a lot of people unhappy and complaining about it, but there will always be, won’t it? If people thought about the benefits for the planet and the city, would they complain so much?
In the English capital, most of the streets are narrow, but cars, bikes and buses coexist, I cannot say “in perfect harmony” but they do coexist. It is a culture that has yet to be built in São Paulo, and it will not happen overnight. In Bolivia, for example, it took 10 years and in New York 6 for the results to be achieved. Paulistanos need to start thinking long term.
In December, the Climate Conference ( COP21 ) will take place in Paris, it will be crucial as countries have to agree in how to contain global warming below 2 ° C, remind that the Earth’s average temperature has already been raised to 0.8 ° C. UK bikers intend to cycle to Paris and join cyclists from the rest of Europe to participate in the mobilizations that will take place during the Conference. Social mobilization is important to demand political actions.
To stop global warming which threatens the delicate system of our planet, a change in our lifestyle is required by all, especially by the wealthiest. In São Paulo, it is very clear that the number of cars MUST be reduced, reminding that pollution kills more than the traffic in this city, so instead of complaining about the high investment that has been made in bike lanes, let’s bear in mind that a higher value will be saved in health treatment in São Paulo.
Climate change will affect everyone, changes in our lifestyle it is imperative, including eating habits and the relationship we have with the natural resources of the planet, so I suggest that we reflect about what we are doing to mitigate global warming, there is a lot of information on how to promote changes in our routines. We can and should be activists in our daily lives, especially regarding our goods choices and who we elect as our representatives. Biking is also an important way to practice our citizenship, and if you cannot ride, at least exercise your citizenship is in favor of bike paths, in the long run they will be a solution to the transit of the largest city in Brazil.