Moving Planet Montreal

Moving Planet Montreal

Moving Planet was a worldwide event that took place on September 24th, 2011. It was conceived by the folks over at 350.org as an effort to help the world transition away from fossil fuels.

The Moving Planet event in Montreal (which took place in Parc Jeanne-Mance) was planned by local volunteers. All we got from 350.org was the name and the logos. We did get some very significant help from the David Suzuki Foundation (Montreal chapter) with regards to planning and execution of the event as well as media releases.

Moving Planet Montreal when we accumulated 350 kilometers. Photo by Alex Pritz at www.developingpictures.org

Kilometer Drive

The event included what we called a ‘kilometer drive’ in which people could contribute their green-transport kilometers to a collective total. A green kilometer would be one achieved on foot, bike, skateboard, roller blades, unicycle, etc. The goal of the kilometer drive was to demonstrate the power of active transportation.

Our group achieved a total of 496 kilometers by the end of the day, using some unconventional methods such as:

  • Juggling
  • Juggling a soccer ball with just feet
  • Passing a Frisbee between three people
  • Singing
  • Hand-in-hand
  • In another person’s shoes
  • Dancing
  • Carrying a toddler in ‘airplane’ position the whole way.
Moving Planet Montreal organizers and friends. Photo by Alecska @ followthestory.net

I think it is sufficient to say that we had a great time with the kilometer drive. Next year we think it would be an excellent idea to get active transport groups involved in the planning and execution of the event. Montreal definitely has communities of cyclists, skateboarders, joggers, rollerbladers, etc. We think it is reasonable that some of these groups might be interested in showing off the capabilities (and fun) of their chosen mode of transport.

I like to think of the kilometer drive as a celebration of the tremendous human capability to achieve active transportation. By doing so, we are improving the long-term health of both our environment and ourselves. A transition towards less energy-intensive transportation is a must in the decades to come. It seems extremely unlikely that we as a society will be able to continue to spend such incredible amounts of energy on our personal transportation systems. This seems likely to be true even if we do not factor in the broad and substantial costs of continued fossil fuel usage by our societies.

Grand Picnic

[ad#Google Adsense-2 INLINE RIGHT]The other major thrust of the event was a ‘grand picnic’. The central idea was that food plays a major role in both our everyday lives and the (un)sustainability of our society. We all brought food and shared it. It was a delicious and fun experience. I wish you all could have been there! :-)

More worthwhile things

After the event, the planning volunteers got together and brainstormed ideas for a media release about the event. I think it is fair to say that Nadine Légaré of the David Suzuki Foundation did the vast majority of the work on this front, but we did help a bit! A quote from me appears in our completed media release, which you can find here (in French): Le rassemblement mondial Planète en mouvement, un succès au Québec

I am also rather proud of a sheet I circulated containing what I think are the ten most important things you can do to live a ‘Green Life’ and help our society towards genuine sustainability. I made a distinct effort to keep the list concise and clear, so hopefully you will find it to be a good read. You can find it at: Envisioning a Green Life: 10 ways you can make a difference

Lastly, a couple weeks before the event, CKUT Radio interviewed me about Moving Planet Montreal and Vision of Earth.

Happy Movement!

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Ben Harack

I graduated from the University of Regina in Computer Science and Mathematics in 2007. I continued my studies there and eventually graduated again in Physics and Psychology in 2010. I am originally from a small town near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. For the last several years, I have been investigating the energy and resource usage of societies in great detail. My interest in this eventually led to the launch of Vision of Earth in 2007. I love to read and write, as well as listen and argue. I pursue knowledge voraciously but I also constantly look for ways to apply it meaningfully to the real world. I play badminton competitively and pursue many other physical activities avidly. My current plans for the future as far as education and employment are broad at this point. What is certain is that I will continue to try my best to learn and teach about those things that I feel are important to me and my society. I enjoy living, thinking and doing. The what, when, where, why and how of those are not as important to me as doing them. I try to better myself and the world around me. I am a firm believer in the power and value of knowledge, and also the responsibility that comes with power. I am humbly grateful to be alive, and hope to make good of the opportunity.

3 thoughts on “Moving Planet Montreal

  1. The less waste the less crap sitting in land fills waiting to rot away. Some of the waste creeps down into the water table which is a very bad thing. Waste is bad. Keep in green.

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