Bicycle Friendly America Spring/Summer 2016 - (Page 13)

2016 NATIONAL BIKE SUMMIT & WOMEN'S FORUM WHAT THE BICYCLING MOVEMENTS COULD LEARN FROM THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT KEYA CHATERJEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, US CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK S ometimes when I'm biking to school with my five-year-old son and a person gets too close to us with their car, I feel a surge of rage that only subsides when my son pipes in and says something like, "Wow he must have had a really big emergency if he was driving so fast and almost hit us." After hearing my son's ability to put himself in someone else's shoes, I usually calm down. I channel my energy into the organizations I work with to change things for the better because, as my son says, "we should have no more tailpipes blowing in our faces when I grow up." By day, I am Executive Director of the US Climate Action Network. Evenings, I serve on the board of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. For the most part, I've kept my advocacy worlds separate, but recently at the National Bike Summit & Women's Forum I was challenged to reflect on why maybe they shouldn't be kept quite so separate. It reminded me of my son's ability to take on different perspectives, and I tried to take a moment to look at the climate movement with bicycle lenses and vice versa. Here's my working hypothesis on our views: 1. Most climate advocates know someone who rides a bike as their primary form of transportation and many climate advocates regularly commute by bicycle, but don't see bicycling as a relevant solution to climate change because bicycling doesn't get you huge and immediate reductions in carbon pollution. 2. Most bicycle advocates understand the climate crisis is an existential threat to society and that riding a bike is a way to use less fossil fuels, but they do not talk about climate change in their advocacy. They find more saliency with messages about individual health benefits rather than leading with the less tangible societal benefits of reduced pollution. 3. Bicycle advocates and climate advocates feel that they are already marginalized groups and don't need to associate with another marginalized group that is barely relevant to their core work, so the movements move in parallel. And maybe we are right. Maybe it makes no sense to combine forces. In one sense, climate advocates and bicycling advocates are already on a roll. Bicycling mode share is increasing in major cities, with bike share spreading through large cities like wildfire. Climate activists have gotten massive pipelines rejected, secured huge international treaties and are on the cusp of regulating greenhouse gases from the electricity sector. The reality, though, is that neither movement is anywhere near where we need to be to be to save humanity. And that is why we should consider learning more from each other. Below are some lessons we might bring from the climate movement to the bicycling movement and vice versa. Lessons from climate to bicycling 1. Diversify yourselves and your approaches The climate movement has been called out for being overly wonky, non inclusive, and lacking diversity. So what can be learned from us? First, learn from our mistakes! Communities of color and low income communities are hit first and worst by climate change, tell us in polls they care deeply about the issue and only now are we finalContinued on Page 15 BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bicycle Friendly America Spring/Summer 2016

Social Media
Core Values, Unique Contributions
A Silver-Level Playbook: Arlington, Virginia
How Cycling Can Help Solve Global Warming
What The Bicycling Movements Could Learn From the Climate Movement
Photos from Bike Lobby Day
Senator Ben Cardin, Legislator of the Year
Getting to Know Kathy Durham
Plenary Sessions
Memphis Hightailers: Bicycle Club of the Year
Bike Lobby Day: A Nevada Perspective
Call for League Board Applications
Reflections on the National Bike Summit
Photo Highlights of Bike Lobby Day in DC
Architect of the Capitol–Bicycle Friendly Business
Summit Demographic Information
2016 Catalyst Award Recipient: Community Cycling Center

Bicycle Friendly America Spring/Summer 2016