RESPECT, EMPATHY, INCLUSION

Planet Home- April 22



Valuing People and Earth

We took off last September with this crazy idea to pedal the USA speaking with school and faith groups along the way. We can end the genocide in Darfur, we've got to challenge the "us and them" thinking plaguing our minds and our communities, that's our message!

So far we have pedaled the west coast, and our country is amazing, our people amazing, and we have a new sense of pride and understanding of our home! We're also now hooked on recumbent bikes. I can't describe the bonding with our land that this pedaling over 1600 miles (not bragging, it was spread over 7 months) did for us.

Starting in the wheat fields of eastern Washington, cruising over the Cascade Mountains, gliding through the redwood lined "Avenue of the Giants", we eventually rolled out onto the beaches of California where incredibly, dolphins were showing off in the sunset. Yes there were dolphins in the sunset!

Not sure if you caught my point, but having enjoyed only 14 nights in our own bed during the last 200 +/- days we feel like we really can claim this planet as our home! Then there is the generosity and hospitality that families have lavished on us while staying in their homes. We've been wowed, humbled and deeply moved and we have turned into serious experts in finding the silverware drawer first pull in a strange kitchen.

Many of our conversations on this journey are about courageous Rwandans who under the threat of machete and club stood up 16 years ago for others. These are people who refused to accept the "us and them" lies that so many others were buying into in that tiny country in central Africa! Our stories we're hoping are inspiring and equipping people to give it a try, living like we believe that we are 'our brother's keeper'.

Yet this pedaling, this mixing of human rights and bonding with our land, reminds us with each gorgeous passing mile we sail through that we're not only 'our sisters keeper', but we're the keeper of each other's home, our fabulous planet earth.

Both in human rights and environmental rights, and I'm a real beginner in both, but over and over both bring us face to face with the invitation to consider 'the other' before ourselves. "Come on" they challenge, "sacrifice in some way for the benefit of 'the other'". And funny enough, in sacrificing it happens, we find ourselves gaining in such unexpected ways, that which money can't buy. Ask either one of us and we'll tell you, "2 panniers and a backpack on the back of our bike is more than enough! Less is definitely more!" And with less clutter in our lives it's much easier to try on the shoes of 'the other', AND sometimes it's a flat out necessity!

So hey, what about celebrating this Earth Day by thinking of 2 or 3 ways you could test out the principal that 'less is more' and perhaps a little sacrifice for 'the other'?  Might ride the old bike to work once a week, or finally start recycling, or unplug and free-cycle.org that extra fridge in the garage this Sunday. Some are no doubt far ahead of this, but the point is – start simple start now!

Been saved from myself again and again by 2 simple principals that speak volumes to these and other movements:

 

1. Count and give thanks for what I have, and don't

squander myself on what I don't have. 

 

2. Whatever I want, want it more for the other.

Then there was that day in March when 25 miles north of Santa Barbara a family of 5 comes down the road towards us. That's 5 on ONE BIKE , Dad, 5 year old daughter, 3 year old daughter, mom, and lastly 7 year old daughter with a trailer in tow – all pedaling except the 3 year old… The Pedouins, 7,000 miles, you'll want to check them out. 

Anything is possible, we just have to decide and make our move!

Don't forget, start small, start now

How about clicking on the'The Story of Stuff ' next? Guaranteed you'll want to send it to a bunch of friends, and if you've seen it, they have a couple more great film clips there as well.  Don't forget to grab a reusable water bottle and shopping bag on the way out.

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