The planet is in serious doo doo (caca, AKA poo poo). Government needs to change radically and we the people need to change radically, too. Just as it is not enough for politicians to sign Kyoto Protocols (though it would be a healthy start), it’s not enough for citizens to recycle newspapers and take shorter showers. We need to re-examine the way we do everything, from eating to buying to moving to dwelling. The Pleasant Revolution is about this radical re-examination, a simultaneous investigation of what’s possible and bikeloads of evidence that it’s more fun than the status quo.
The world has car trouble. It’s simultaneously beset with the imminent, immense threat of climate change, an ever-growing population striving to own more of the same automobiles that cause it, wars raging to control the cars’ fuel supply, cities choked by gridlock and bad air, sprawling auto-centric suburbs that isolate us from our would-be communities, and streets so religiously dedicated to motor vehicles that alternatives are perceived as unsafe if not insane; meanwhile the 5 billion people who can’t afford a car often have no viable means of participating in a transport-centric economy. And the brightest hope we’re offered are hybrid autos that feed the same sprawl, cause the same congestion, use nearly as much of the same fuel on the same roads, and cost more.
We Ginger Ninjas have a different hope, a hope of two-wheeled freedom and radical lifestyle evolution.
Unlike conventional bicycle tourists, who ostensibly show that wealthy people do ride bikes, too, and that you can carry stuff on bikes, the Pleasant Revolution tours show “wealthy” (ok, so we’re poor musicians, but we come from a wealthy country and are at least wealthy enough to afford the freedom to do what we’re doing) people working and living by bicycle, not just traveling. And more importantly, the association with music and American rock-and-roll shows bicycles in a light that is unknown in most of the world—as symbols of pride and freedom, similar to their heavier 4-wheeled counterparts.
Music and bicycles—universal symbols of human openness and connection, elements of our common humanity, and paragons of low-tech sustainability—become vehicles for seeing the world at human speed.
Our way of life threatens our way of life. “Bigger, faster, more” has run its course, leaving a mountain of environmental and social woes and a void of meaning. Into that void rides the Pleasant Revolution, a transformational way of working and living that restores environmental and cultural vitality and returns deep meaning to ordinary human experience.
These days, everyone is talking about global warming, about how bad things are going to get if we don’t change; and yet hardly anyone straight talks about what the necessary changes are, preferring vague generalities or cutesy “simple things you can do.”
In our explorations of bicycle lifestyle we’ve stumbled upon what we think will be a truth of the coming age: Yes we must change, in some areas drastically so-we must consume less, drive less, throw away less, hate less, fear less. And yet, while superficially this may look like sacrifice, the pursuit of these changes can actually lead to a life that’s more local, rich, humane, fulfilling and happy.
The Pleasant Revolution is a set of evolving ideas, a loose set of principles designed to help answer the question, “What next? How do I live fully and restore the planet in the process?”
Some principles of the Pleasant Revolution:
- slow is beautiful, local is profound
- sustainable living is richer we can free ourselves from the culture of fear that drives our consumerism and apathy
- fundamental change is necessary and possible and usually fun
- to change the world, we must change not just “them” but us, too, i.e., our own consciousness and lifestyle
- humanity now, perhaps more than in any previous time, has an opportunity to create a new, saner, more loving world
- bikes rule!