Fitness

Carbon pawprint, or what to do when values collide?

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We’re happiest, I think, when our actions are overdetermined by our values. That is, it’s nice when our values all point in the same direction.

Why do I bike to work? Well, it’s nice to have time outside moving before beginning a busy stressful work day. I’m frugal and I hate paying for parking. Also, in my house we don’t each have a car. We share and it’s silly to have a car others could use parked in parking lot all day that I’m paying to use.

It’s also good for fitness in terms of everyday movement. And it fits with my environmental values. We really shouldn’t drive short distances around town when there are options.

You get the picture. There are lots of reasons all pointing in the same direction.

Ditto walking Cheddar the dog. He likes it. I like it. It’s good for both of us. And it’s not bad for the environment.

But that’s not always true. Sometimes I drive Cheddar to the dog park. Sometimes I put my bike in the car and drive somewhere to ride with friends. Heck, sometimes I even put my bike in a plane and then in a car to go ride in a different place.

In these cases, dog park and distant riding, my environmental values don’t fit with my other values.

Dogs in a side by side bike trailer

In the thread above there was a discussion of cargo bikes that fit dogs to get them to the dog park.

And while I guess that might work, I think I would have needed to start Cheddar out in a trailer when he was a younger dog.

We often take him to the dog park for the company of other dogs and so that he can run, even if I can’t.

I try to approach these issues by thinking about the overall results of my actions. Yes, I occasionally drive when I needn’t but overall my lifestyle is pretty low car. Yes, I occasionally drive somewhere to ride bikes with friends but on balance the bike centric lifestyle I lead is pretty environmentally friendly. I’m not going to fret if it’s not perfect. (I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I think about the book Tracy is working on on imperfect veganism.)

How about you? Do you ever drive to the dog park or take your bike in the car?

Cheddar and Chase

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