Slow down, you move too fast …



Performance for 25 Passing Vehicles by John Reid

Well, today I discovered that just buying a bike is no preparation for peak oil! After clearing out my front room yesterday I put my bike in an easy to access place and finally, after owning it for 5 months, went for my first ride in Blackheath. I told Ian he was a wimp for driving, not riding, as I put on Maxie’s helmet and launched off to my permaculture class on the other side of Blackheath. I was feeling as cocky as Kevin Rudd. Well! I had no idea how many hills there were between here and Wombat St and by the time I got there my legs were jelly and I felt like I was about to have a coronary. I couldn’t believe it – it’s taken me the whole day to recover. Now

I realise that preparing for peak oil, global warming etc is not as easy as consuming less, buying solar panels or planting food to eat. It’s also going to require building up a huge amount of fitness – eeeeeek. Oddly enough this has not been something I’d considered before and it has been a huge shock to me. I’d had a vague notion that I was fairly fit but today showed me that I’d be stuffed without a car or train to get me around.

Riding made me think even more about how environmentally friendly a bike is – not just for the obvious reason of not using fuel, but also because speeding cars kill so much wildlife. Slowing down in all aspects of our existence, including working less, really is the answer for preserving life.

Scouring the web for more information on one of my favourite photographers, John Reid (photo above), I discovered a fantastic source for Australian Blogs – The Australian Index – Exploring Australian Blogs . I’ve just added the most amazing recipe site that I found there to my blogroll – Cook (almost) Anything and discovered that it’s 40 years ago today that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play!

I also came by chance upon this photograph of Al Gore in his office on Vincenze’s Pit . It was followed by a discussion of how people will read what they want to read into the picture.


I immediately thought, “yeah, he’s as messy as I am!”. The next thing I noticed was that the artwork on his wall is a sculpture of a frog … a species that’s already 75% extinct. I reckon his awareness of the alarming rate of species extinction would be a very valid explanation for why Al Gore pushes himself as hard as he does.

Knowing how cluttered my life is a good friend sent me this article from the New York Times called Saying Yes To Mess


Cartoon by Edward Koren in the NY Times

“… contrarian voices can be heard in the wilderness. An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.”

I’m not quite sure about “humorless and inflexible prigs” but it is a relief not to feel so bad about having a desk like Al Gore’s.

For my political action today I wrote a few letters for news sites on the web. One that did get printed was the one in response to this On Line Opinion article: Coal mining will outlast Green Hysterics

5 thoughts on “Slow down, you move too fast …

  1. Brigitte G.

    Hey Lis, yes, it is tough on the legs riding a bike ! well i’ve got short legs so it’s so hard to find a bike that fit (well, unless to get a kiddy one which would look totally ridiculous on a …nearly 40 y.o person!)
    and talking about the mess, yeahhh i’m not the only one to get messy. But look at Al Gore’s 3 computer screens ? waow !

  2. Ian Lett

    Riding a bike is not like going for a walk. You could walk for an hour and never get out of breath. That is not possible riding a bike (in the Blue Mountains).
    The trick is to do a little bit often. And riding the same way is good because some days it will be easy and some days will be incredibly taxing.
    I have worked up to riding 6km a day. At lunchtime I get out of the office and ride 3km up to Katoomba for a coffee. Then ride 3km back to work. It takes 10 minutes each way. When I want to exercise a bit harder I do little sprints- 50 or 100 metres.
    Do it every day. And have a treat waiting for you at the end.

  3. Frances

    Good on you Lis. You will build up your leg muscles and aerobic capacity if you keep it up. It is good to be fit and exercise is a good preventative against mild depression.

  4. Gail

    Fantastic reading Lis – really enjoyed your Slow down email and all the great links! There’s also a bit on Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) in the John Reid link.
    It made me feel better also about my messy desk/house… I also enjoyed your clearing out your hoarding experience – I’m trying to do that also – but I thinks it helps if there’s another person to work with and take stuff away from you. While sorting what to throw out, I find I just make new piles, on the other side of the room, of stuff to keep out of the old paraphernalia and papers I’m trying to throw out….
    Gail – Tue 29 May 07 at 11.25pm

  5. susan Girard

    I have a magnet on my fridge that says
    ‘Cleanliness may be next to godliness,
    But tidyness is net to impossible’

    Keep up the good work.
    Today I wrote a letter to the Gazette-about Global Warming, in response to a few letters in there recently.
    Who cares if Climate Change is natural. It is already causing world problems and if we can slow it done with a little more care, then all the better.
    After all Mr Howard is not going to want to take any refugees from the low lying areas.
    And of course now that I think of it we are going to need a super highway through Bell when Mascot goes under water and they move the airport west..

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