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

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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