By Valerio Rasi–
On Sept. 24, 2011, the city of Louisville celebrated Moving Planet. The event took place at Jefferson Square Park on a sunny, windy day. The event in Louisville was actually one of 500 in the U.S. and one of 3,000 in the world. The mission of the project, as stated on the website, is to “get moving beyond fossil fuels, both symbolically by pouring into the streets by sustainable movement, and politically by bringing powerful demands to our leaders.”
The Louisville group is promoting seven specific goals for our community: reduce car use, support bicycling and walking, enforce traffic rules, limit suburban sprang, lower harmful emissions, create low-carbon mobility and improve public transportation.
The event was sponsored by 350.org, which is an organization that aims to sensitize citizens towards a new lifestyle, decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Currently, carbon dioxide exists in our atmosphere at 398 parts per million. The goal of 350.org is to reduce this level to 350 ppm.
The event attracted a good amount of people, as well as performers, such as a flash mob and two music groups: Julie and Ben Evans, and Appalatin.
The event also featured many speakers, including U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth. Yarmuth said that Congress does not have a large approval because people are tired of old policies, like subsidizing large profit oil companies. “There is the need to hire more people in the solar and wind energy, rather than coal and oil.”
Other speakers included Kirk Kandle, local bicycle activist who supports a bicycle line from the U of L Belknap campus to the Medical School. Kandle does not agree with rebuilding the bridge to Indiana is saving money and increasing bicycle commuters; Sarah Lynn Cunningham, local activist, said that Americans should change the way to get around from “monotrasportation” to public services; Barry Barker, Director of TARC and stand-in for Mayor Fischer, promoted the bus system that runs every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Harry Pickens, local educator and famous jazz pianist, argued that “it is up to us to change in better.”
One of the groups present, Sisters of Mercy of Americas, was supporting the Moving Planet cause because “the public must be aware of how the world is changing and how we can support it.” Individuals present at the event were also bicycle fans riding recumbent bikes, or old-fashion ones that imitate the ones from the 1890s.
After the rally, Drew Foley commented about the event overall, “I am very happy because it just went how we planned, even if I expected twice the audience. The weather has maybe limited the outcome.” When asked about the changes that people can make for our community, he said “I believe that the most realizable is reducing car using; so encouraging carpooling, taking the bus, and riding bicycles for the scope of advocating the planet earth.”
Photo: Cody Hibbard/The Louisville Cardinal