Conscientious Consumerism and Bixi

Something beyond cycling that is near and dear to my heart is the idea of conscientious consumerism. In fact, my cycling habits come directly out of this philosophy. For me, I decided that I didn’t want a large portion of the income I work so hard for to go towards carbon emissions, dirty oil extraction, and in the end to unknowable parties who have largely been at war with the places I call home. I also am willing and able to live in a way, and in an environment that allows me to maintain a car-free lifestyle.

I don’t want to overstate the facts, I use auto share programs and travel by plane 5-10 times a year…and these things don’t totally fit into the plan, but Im working on it. The idea at the core though remains, the strongest vote you may have is the one in your pocket. Regardless of how you approach finances, i think the key is to develop a construct for spending that you feel delivers value. Whatever that thing is, whether you like cheap things, cat things, local things, green things, or any category of thing you will be happier with your money things when you spend on items you cherish and value. If they fit into your personal cause you get bonus points.

For me these “things” that I love are local food, car pools, bikes, public transit, places where people can be themselves, and companies that do their best to work within a mission that challenges them to be better. Always.

That’s why BIXI, which launched tonight in Toronto with the beginning of a membership drive, fits right in. The project demands support from the government (loan guarantee, infrastructure), corporations (need to secure 1.8M in sponsorship commitment for first 3 years) and, most importantly people (1000 annual memberships need to be signed up by November 30). With these things in mind, it wasn’t the need for another bike that had me buying a BIXI membership this evening at the Gladstone Hotel but the call to the voting booth. Rarely can you vote so strongly with your dollar as .1% of the collective force that will make BIXI real in Toronto. And regardless how you feel about the semantics of the program, it will help drive cycling forward in Toronto by increasing numbers of those that can and do cycle through the city.

Imagine telling your friend what a great cycling city this is over lunch at the St Lawrence Market. You met there, you on bike and the friend on foot as always. They bring up the usual worries: too dangerous, I don’t feel comfortable in the city, i don’t have a bike…and you do something that changes their life. $5 in the BIXI station for a day pass and a convincing plea to “try cycling here just one time…”

A year later that friend bikes everyday, is in he best shape of their life, gets to work with less stress and keeps $400 worth of car payments and insurance in the bank.

And the savings cycle goes on….

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3 Responses to “Conscientious Consumerism and Bixi”

  1. Lynn Shepard Says:

    I’ve never been to Toronto, but it is sounding pretty inviting in your scenario.

  2. Jay Says:

    Hey Nick…… can we safety assume that you will not be voting FORD this time around?

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