Biketour 2010 started one week ago and altough you are most likely not there when reading this, you might be conscious of this and willing to get an update… Here it comes. You are welcome to react with thoughts/ideas/suggestions!
We were and are about 12-14 participants up to now, if i counted well… The numbers change constantly, as sometimes some people decide to stay somewhere a bit longer and join us again later. This first week we took part in the critical mass of London and cycled from Darlington, via Botton to York. In York we took part in the Towards Carfree Cities Conference organized by World Carfree Network and hosted by Carfree UK. In the conference we participated in presentations, workshops and discussions and joined a cruise on the river, enjoying some scenery of York while floating up and down the river several times..
After finding our way through the megawatt labyrinth between York and Pontefract (with 3 huge Coal power-plants) we were warmly welcomed in Stapelton by the members of the “Brotherhood Church“. This is a (former Christian) pacifist community with an ecological lifestyle that exists since 1921!!!! This community has a strong political drive since the start. During WWII many deserters from the military came to live here. The houses are built from mainly recycled materials and were pulled down by the auhorities several times, but were always rebuilt. At the moment there is only three people still living here as many persons died. The activities are now mainly organized by two of them with help of friends and concentrate on organic farming, reycling materials, repairing existing machinery and tools and consuming less.
Since yesterday we found shelter at a radical housing co-operative Cornerstone Housing Coop in Leeds which shares and renovates houses together as a group and live on base of income sharing. We are staying as guests in one house of this co-operative, but can also use the workshops and facilities that were set up in the other house in the same street (for example a printworkshop for flyers/booklets etc. and bikeworkshop). While being here we have some time to skip food (4 boxes of portobellos!!!), take some rest, print flyer’s, write reports and have discussions about the Biketour concept!
Today we had some great discussions about personal expectations for biketour, to get an idea of peoples reasons to take part. After this we had another good session to inform ourselves and discuss about the this years topic: Climate Justice. We did split of in small working groups to discuss our views for (political) aims of this Biketour. As result I noted down the following points that I would like to share with you (note: this is based on my notes… and resembles my way of structuring and thinking):
Possible aims/topics of Biketour 2010:
- Mobility & transport: awareness raising for already existing sustainable and environmental friendlier alternatives for (personal) transport and traveling.
- Support local alternative projects and structures: buying locally produced food; invite and integrate people we meet and visit; support projects by helping to sustain them (help in gardens of people that have food sovereignty; leave places better & cleaner then they where when we arrived; give financial donations to our hosts).
- Human cause of climate change: the effects of climate change on specific social groups or living beings (especially mentioned was to link migration and refugee issues to effects of climate change, which we can maybe develop further when we will meet No Border activists at Calais).
- Non-hierarchical community: creating, experiencing and experimenting an alternative lifestyle (How do we want the world to be? Can we realize it in small together in this group? This community can function as example for others and is an experiment under constant development).
- Participating, supporting and organizing actions: by joining local groups and campaigns; setting up our own actions on issues that we feel are necessary to address in the areas we cycle through; connect and link to actions happening in other parts of the world (for example now the actions and repression at G8/G20 in Toronto).
- Civil society needs to get involved in climate change agreements and solutions! DIY (Do It Yourself) is a strategy that we like to focus on. Every individual has the responsibility and power to bring change upon this world and can think what she/he can do in her/his daily life (some people like better to use the concept of “climate responsibility” than to use the term “climate justice” as justice is done by judging others and responsibility expresses the need for personal reflection and to change your own habits) (we can show others that changing ‘bad habits’ can be fun! instead of telling others what they do wrong).
- Less important maybe, but also needed: change our/the idea that money is an important resource to reach changes!!!!! There is many options to change habits/ life style/parts of society without using loads of money (especially in a world with overproduction and too many materials dumped and wasted).
I hope we will have more discussions like this during the tour. As many more people will hop on and off the tour we will have to stay open and be aware that Biketours aims can never be too fixed… We can reconsider and amend them critically over time. Biketour is a moving community!!!! Moving slowly but steadily to an alternative future. You can follow it on-line, but can still come to join us in real!!!!