Since the month of March my children and I have been cycling everywhere, thanks in part to an early arrival of Spring. At first my reason for doing this was because I could not afford repairs on my van but the longer we used our bikes as our means of transportation my reasons evolved. Today there is a perfectly fine car parked in my driveway that I could use but I have chosen to leave it in storage. Here are my reasons for choosing to do everything by bicycle this year.
1. It is saving me about $500 / month. Who couldn't use an extra $500?
2. It is helping me get back in shape and maintain good health. Along with cycling I have also been eating healthier and have lost 20 lbs in a couple of months. I am feeling great and so are my children.
3. It is great news for the environment and sets a great example for the kids. Why use a car when we don't need to? There are a lot of people who must use a car but if those of us who don't need to use it choose to use other transportation it will balance off those who must use it. This is really important in a city like Montreal where we have very hot and muggy weather. Add pollution to the mix and we have a situation where our seniors and asthma sufferers cannot enjoy the day.
In fact, if Christians were to look at that issue alone we should be making some big changes to our life-style. I do not buy into the "global warming" hysteria but I do know that my actions directly effect the environment in which I live which impacts other people. Followers of Jesus Christ should be concerned how our actions are impacting others. Re-cycling is nice but it is not the solution. The big change will come when we all learn to reduce, to simplify, to do without, to deny our rights so that others may live in more freedom. Here are some examples:
1. Air pollution - I have already mentioned this but I want you to give it serious consideration. We are all effected by smog but there are those of our community who are killed by it. There is a segment of our society who should be honoured but who instead are stuck in their homes on these days. What is a little inconvenience in taking our bike or in getting a lift with someone else or in taking the bus for the summer, when we know it will benefit so many of our neighbours? Do it in the name of Jesus and give him the glory for your decision.
2. Air conditioners - The second thought is related to the first. There are many of our neighbours who cannot handle the heat or the pollutants in the air during the summer. They have no choice but to use an air conditioner. However, our electricity system cannot always handle it as the temperature rises. Instead of facing black outs and brown outs where these dear people suffer, why not install some ceiling fans and live with a little discomfort so your neighbour doesn't have to?
3. Picnics - Why even bother spending the evenings at home? Plan lots of picnics in the coolness of the parks. Instead of watching tv and playing video games, go enjoy your kids at the park. Bring the soccer ball or baseball glove. If you don't have kids then there is nothing as romantic as a picnic for two. You will save a lot of money and mess by eating out at your local park.
4. Turn the breaker off - Many people enjoyed participating in Earth Hour when we all turned off our lights in a symbolic act. What have you done since then? Why not pick two days a week when you turn your breaker off for 12 hours a day. As long as no one opens the fridge and freezer door your food will be fine. If you don't want to risk 12 hours try it for 6 hours. You will save money and help with the power grid.
These are only a few small and easy ideas but if we had 30% of the city participating we would make a huge difference in the lives of many people. Come on, start by leaving your car home twice a week and build up to it if you need to. Whatever you do, realize that you are showing the sacrificial love of Jesus to your elderly neighbours. When it comes to demonstrating the love of Jesus to the world, think outside of the box.