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Human-Empowered, Enlightened, and Energized Transport

by Brad Lancaster © 2011

Brad transporting plants

Years ago at a red light I looked into the car beside me and saw the frowning driver’s hair blowing into the back seat as though she were leaning into a mighty storm. But her windows were up. The gale was coming from her air conditioner — on a beautiful day when an open window could just as easily cool and refresh. Then I coughed, and looked back at her tail pipe spewing out toxic exhaust. I was on a bicycle, and loving the day, except for the coughing. And that’s when the simple realization hit me. Everything we do, every choice we make, has consequences. And no matter how seemingly simple, they can be profound. We can choose to be and live problems — or solutions. I realized every time I drove (or mechanically cooled myself) I was directly poisoning air, water, soil, and myself. However, every time I rode my bike, my exhaust was never worse than a flatulent. When I drove my car, I fueled it with toxic gasoline from a distant corporation. When I rode my bike, I fueled me, often with a burrito made from locally grown tepary beans and cooked in my backyard solar oven. A burrito I would’ve eaten anyway now tasted even better. […]

From “Oil Addiction Has Never Been More Expensive…For Most of Us” © Sightline Institute; used with permission.

How I do live without owning a car? I live in a central, mixed-use, pedestrian-scaled neighborhood, a few blocks away from major bus routes, where I can easily get the majority of my needs met within a 3- to 5-mile (1.8- to 3-km) radius. When working in town, I consciously select work that is closer to home to keep my typical in-town travel radius smaller and more easily bikeable, although I do venture much further out on occasion. And I started playing with the bicycling lifestyle long ago while I still lived with my folks in their “remote” suburban home 10 miles from my work. Plus I’m always advocating for more human-powered transport infrastructure and policy in my community and beyond. Having sold my car, it is now far more convenient to ride a bike, walk, or take public transport than to arrange to borrow a vehicle. Convenience is key. And even when I’m feeling tired at the beginning of a ride, once I get going (and afterward) I am always glad I did. I have an Xtracycle Free Radical Cargo Loader that extended my 20-year-old mountain bike so I can use it as a bike truck. I can pack 200 lbs (90 kg) on its back, carry people, other bikes, building materials, trees, groceries, and more. Before I had my Xtracycle I just used my mountain bike with bike bags, a big basket, and when needed, a bike trailer. Photos of the trailer, made from salvaged materials, can be seen farther down in this blog post. […] Visit my Drops in a Bucket blog to read the full posting, view photos, and access a wide variety of great bicycle-related resources that I hope will inspire and equip you to get from point A to point B without all the X-Y-Z.

Brad Lancaster is a dynamic teacher, consultant, and designer of regenerative systems. He is the author of the award-winning, best-selling books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, the information-packed website, and the Drops in a Bucket Blog. He lives his talk on an oasis-like eighth of an acre in downtown Tucson, Arizona, by harvesting over 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year where just 12 inches per year falls from the sky.

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Wins 2013 Literary Awards

This year’s release of the updated, expanded Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition has won two literary awards: * Best Indie Books of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews in the Nonfiction category * 2013 USA Best Book Award in the General Home category More awards could be on the horizon in 2014. […] Read More..

American Oasis: A Multimedia Work on the Story of Water in Tucson, featuring Brad Lancaster

“It never snows in Tucson. It doesn’t even rain much – about 11 inches a year – so precipitation of any kind makes Tucsonans a little giddy. But the light in [Brad] Lancaster’s eyes is different. He sees water falling from the sky as the key to his city’s future; nothing less than its salvation. […] Read More..

Finally released: the long-awaited, expanded, and revised second edition of Volume 1 of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond!

Turn water scarcity into water abundance, while maximizing the power of the sun and more! This best-selling, award-winning guide shows you how to conceptualize, design, and implement life-enhancing water-, sun-, wind-, and shade-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. The book enables you to assess your on-site resources, gives you a diverse array of […] Read More..

Watershed Maps Are Community Maps

by Brad Lancaster © 2011 A watershed is “that area of land, a bounded hydrological system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community.” — John Wesley Powell Political boundaries are arbitrary. Watershed boundaries […] Read More..

Images of Contemporary Water-Harvesting Art

by Brad Lancaster © 2011 Show the flow. Cycle it. Celebrate it. Know it. And as you do, show others the way. The three images below are installations that I feel show and celebrate the flow. Their beauty lures me in, and invites me to look deeper. See more images in the Contemporary Water-Harvesting […] Read More..