It felt a bit like a situation I found myself in 1973, making a film in Cuba, supposedly doing an interview with Fidel Castro, waiting and waiting but Fidel never Turing up. That was called simply, Waiting For Fidel.
Yesterday, my daughter Ellen and I waited, camera in hand for an event which also didn’t happen. Not so long, it’s true the wait, minutes only, but faced with the same, “what to do?”
I’d had an email from AVAAZ, the famous international activist group,
inviting me to take part in a Global warming Wake Up Call, a bit of gorilla theatre, as I understood it, happening all over the world at 12. 18 precisely Monday, Sept. 14th.
Well, there were no events near us on the Central Coast, NSW, and so I offered to stage one that would bring bikes into the Global warming story.
The contribution they make is usually ignored, esp. here in Australia.
But it was the Saturday before that I sent in my offer to stage a Plant Bike and I was rather trepidacious as to whether anyone would come.
With good reason as it turned out. Being a working weekday, everyone I spoke to personally said, “sorry”
And being this car crazed country, people just don’t have bikes at hand, ready to hop on. The tires are flat.
So Ellen and I, she’s also hard to get on a bike, turned up at the appointed spot on bikes and waited
And when no one came, it was time for the Fidel ploy, make the film about the non event.
In this case. I did some shocking facts I wanted to convey, and proceeded to do so with Ellen being exceptionally helpful, and only once calling me a retard.
You’ll notice two things about Ellen. A word on them when you’ve watched it
Here it is. Planet bike for Avaaz. Thanks, Avaaz for the push, and please consider a global bike campaign.
Every Kilometer of Bike-way built, is a delete for Green house gas emissions, once built, that is.
About Ellen. The two things. 1. She looks lovely on the bike. 2. She’s not wearing a helmet, and in Australia, that means she’s breaking the law.
Look, my thoughts on helmets have changed somewhat since reading Copenhagenize.com. (link on the side)
It’s not that Mikael has brainwashed me, merely brought to consciousness, thoughts I’d had already.
We bought Ellen a pretty good bike when she was twelve, hoping it would become her major way of getting around in an area where there is little public transport.
The bike sat there, in the carport for about 4 years, unused, till Katya recently started to use it.
Yesterday was the first time Ellen has been on a bike in a very long time, and the only reason she agreed, was because I did not go on and on about her wearing a helmet.
She and her friends just don’t and wont ride bikes, in large part because helmets are “not cool.”
What they really mean is that they don’t look attractive, or look less so, in helmets and who could disagree?
Now that might sound silly, but then tell that to the fashion and cosmetics industries much of which I find over the top. Women want to look attractive and will weight that heavily in behavioral choices.
If convinced helmets are crucial, they just choose not to ride.
Yesterday, Ellen matched up well with the lovely creatures you see on Copenhagen Cycle Chic, the other great Danish blog.
Let’s try putting them side by side.
Ellen, Yesterday.(No, she’s not on her mobile)
A Danish girl from CCC.
If Ellen and her Friends were able to look like this, maybe her teens would have been spent on a bike.
Instead, not riding was her choice in the nation which was the first to bring in compulsory helmets in 1991, and which very few other nations have followed, by the way.
The Aussie look, below, was just not an option.
Almost no teenage girls ride bikes in Australia.
Ellen’s lucky, she’s fit. But what about all those who are obese and image conscious, are they better off staying off bikes because of the “dorky thing” that has to go on the head?
Especially when the life saving stats as to the benefit of said “dorky thing” are not impressive.
The heavenly creatures in Denmark, in Holland, in Germany, don’t get head injuries, well not to the extent that helmets are demanded.
It’s a tough call, and I’m not as sure as I was on the issue. I now lean towards feeling it should be a personal decision after 16.
That means Ellen would have been legal yesterday.
I do think, Auatralia so free in terms of what th land offers environmentally, veers towards the super sexed nanny state. This country is full of people assidiously dreaming up rules to make the lives of other better, safer.
Through, truth be told, they are actally marking out control territories which are going to give them careers as gatekeepers of the rule they invent.
Meanwhile, those who are the object of their concern, esp. children, become more and more protected, coddled, and quite unable to cope with a rough and tumble world.
When I was a kid, I roamed free in a paradise of muddy water, river bends and marshes.
What I did in tipsy canoes, to poisonous swimming snakes, and on the high limbs of trees, is just not possible in the new Nanny state.
The result is that the kids I know today, have no interest in nature, the bush, whilst I love everything wild, and did make it through.