June 13th, 2010
Location: College Green, Bristol
(Bristol World Naked Bike Ride)
How much do I want to save the planet? I certainly aught to be willing to get my kit off for it. But it seems not. We all have different battles to fight – right? We all fight in different ways, right? So I’m up a tree and peering down at 7/8 semi-naked ladies. Hmmm. Is this where I admit I’m a peeping tom? Well – they were invited there under the tree – for the photo – for you!
These naked riders, these people are doing something. They are the small voices who can see this place could be better, I’m beginning to see them as a resistance movement. Not just the blue Avatars on bicycles but the countless people, groups, individuals around the world who are swimming against the current. Who ‘have a dream’. Avatar had it on the nails head. Amazing that the biggest films since ‘Gone with the wind’, (I made the statistic up) was about corporate abuse of the planet. One has to hope the drip drip effect of those messages will sink in – eventually. The cynic in me is aware of hundreds of films who try to feed us good messages and nothing seems to change. Or perhaps it does. Perhaps Star Wars – was party to educating a generation, and these resistances to the ‘empire’ are it’s legacy?
So those people in blue body paint were some of 200 people to cycles through central Bristol raising the profile of an idea. Sex sells, after all. Surprise and confuse them…the idea being car free Sundays in central Bristol. My dad, as a fairly senior doctor in Norway, managed to push through a new system for how staff’s hours were managed. There was a great deal of resistance to that but he had a vision and the power to try it out. Now – the staff cannot believe they used to do it in the way they did before. That story has had a strong effect on me. Sometimes we need to see another way – on our own – our imagination is too small.
I’m sure people would appreciate and welcome a car free Sunday, if they experienced it. If people were given a glimpse of having their streets lined with trees, tennis courts, gardens, play areas, rope swings, rivers, ponds, band stands and football fields – instead of lined with cars and tarmac – they might welcome that too. We need to see sometimes. The ‘resistance’ need to inspire visionaries in local and central government. The resistance needs to export visionaries into these places of power. And the resistance needs to continue being creative, persevering and grow – keep planting, keep reaching up and out. The resistance is everywhere.
The Avatars should have been in the tree really – would have made more sense – but I had to grab them in a hurry before they set off again. Was done in a rush!