Oil used to produce the food we eat

Oil is also used to produce the very food we eat, even if we don’t eat the oil directly. Think about what fuels the tractors to plough the ground and manage the ground during the year: manuring, seeding, weeding, harvesting. Then consider where we get the energy required to drive the process, to grind the corn, wheat, rape and other crops; the fuel to chop the trees to produce the packaging of the processed food.

std-_mg_4286-bcConsider how the raw foodstuffs, and then the finished products, are transported from factory to shop, and in turn to our homes, having been paid for with a plastic card, before being eaten with perhaps metal cutlery on ceramic tableware. The metal knife, fork and spoon, will have been produced at a factory by a machine which required oil to function, probably the ceramic plates too. The semi- and liquid effluent is almost certainly sluiced down oil-based piping to a further processing plant.

Finally the solid rubbish is thrown into probably oil-based plastic containers or waste bins and transported to the dump by oil-driven machines, to be crushed by giant earth moving vehicles, powered by…, yep, you guessed it, yet more oil.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Reduce levels of carbon emissions

There are calculations to show that we can reduce levels of carbon emissions in the future, and one can only hope methods will be found which will be capable of implementing some of these options. The costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol realistically are estimated at approximately 0.1% of GDP for each participating country. These figures are huge, and there’s no doubt we’re talking about a massive economic resource dedicated to a very specific problem.

We need people to grow up and begin to use their brains; if the planet cannot sustain human life because its atmosphere is polluted beyond use, or our environment becomes too hot to inhabit, then making and selling vitamin pills and flu vaccines, or arming our neighbours to kill each other, become somewhat superfluous considerations. std-turin_world_naked_bike_pride_024-bcWe’re not talking about thousands or even millions of people here, we’re talking about many billions of people, all of us: the entire human race. The sense of commitment to serious issues affecting our lives today, and the lives of our children in the future, appears to be absent. We are more concerned with short-term revenue than with long-term survival. What does that tell us about ourselves? These facts are why so many people take to the road with their bicycles and cycle naked around the city, to bring this information to our attention.

Even though precise figures, long term plans and general policies can be debated – for there are surely arguments for and against the prioritization of one perceived danger over another, with both economical and practical considerations – there are still clearly large numbers of people suffering and dying every day from car-related, airborne particulates and oil-based pollutants, as well as from traffic accidents whether driving, walking or cycling. It is clear that with figures like these one has to wonder whether politicians, and authorities such as the police, are being disingenuous when they declare a need to crack down on, for instance, marijuana (with zero deaths per year, as confirmed by medical journals), while they ignore the dangerous pollutants all around us and the many thousands of deaths worldwide each and every single day. The mind really boggles at the apparently unequal importance of various issues when one just takes a minute to consider their relative value according to this simple ‘show me the numbers’ rule.

Marijuana deaths = 0 per year, oil based extraction and usage deaths = 170,000+ per year, alcohol related deaths = 250,000+ per year. With figures like these, one could be forgiven for wondering what the problem is with marijuana or nudity, when the numbers so clearly demonstrate otherwise, and it seems certain that outdated fundamentalist religious morals play a large role in that answer. Perhaps, as any serious financier might do, when faced with questions of what we permit the government to spend our tax money on, we just need to pull out a calculator ourselves.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

WNBR

The World Naked Bike Ride book by Richard Foley

Available from Amazon and all good book distributors via ISBN: 978-0-9572432-0-0

The World Naked Bike Ride is a global protest against oil dependency and urban pollution, promoting greater cycling safety on our roads, and encouraging body freedom for everyone.

Extract: There is surely a sensible and sustainable balance to be found between use and abuse. We need to take a decision about the kind of world in which we want to
live, and about the kind of world we want our children, and their children, to
inherit. These are the choices we have to make and the question is, really,
who makes them? As Rachel Carson pointed out, when writing about the poisoning
of the natural world by the chemical industries: “Who has decided? … the
decision is that of the authoritarian temporarily entrusted with power; he has
made it during a moment of inattention by millions to whom beauty and the
ordered world of nature still have a meaning that is deep and imperative.”

This book visually describes the environmental awareness event, the history of how it started, the people who take part, and the motivations behind this very public demonstration.

Foreword by Conrad Schmidt.
Including 250 NSFW images (inc. a selection of sfw images).

 

What if someone at work finds out?

A new set of issues are of course raised by being naked in a public space and having people take photographs of you.

std-2011_0611wnbr0078-bcFirst of all, it’s not always possible to know the precise reasons behind every camera, the intentions of the photographer; secondly, you have to ignore the possibility of someone finding the images exciting, because running your life on the basis of what other people think or find titillating is a very sad state of affairs to be in; and thirdly, horror of horrors, what if someone from work finds out?

Really, most of us don’t live in the repressive and hypocritical Victorian or Biblical eras any more, thank goodness, and people are generally much more mature in their knowledge of nudity these days. I recall a recent employer of mine discussing a project, where there was need of some confrontational joviality to lighten the mood, and knowing my penchant for naked activities, suggesting we do a naked Maori Haka for the other half of the team. Clearly the idea of being naked at work is not as outrageous as some would have us believe.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

How much pollution from car exhaust fumes?

A Greenpeace UK study reported that 75% of the nitrogen oxides, 29% of the carbon dioxide, and 97% of the carbon monoxide to which inhabitants of London are exposed come from car exhaust fumes. The same source report suggests the actual cost of air pollution in Bangkok is between USD 1.3 bn. and USD 3.1 bn., and in Manila is USD 1.8 bn.

Brain damage

The side effects of the exhausts from oil based industries and the millions of internal combustion engines driving all around the world include brain damage to children, acid rain damage to buildings, adverse health effects and a general lower quality of life for people exposed to airborne pollutants. std-_mg_4286-bcNor are pollutants the only danger to face non-car road users, and one of the major aims of the WNBR is to make people more aware of the perils of riding a bicycle on todays roads.

In the UK alone, between 100 and 200 cyclists have been killed on the roads in accidents every year since 1995, although according to official figures the numbers are decreasing, even while the numbers of cyclists using the roads are increasing.

Even if the numbers dying and injured are dropping, it is clear the cost of pollution escalates as more and more drivers take to the roads, since many families now have two, and sometimes more, cars for their household. Heather Brooke, in the UK, notes that while apparently overall “deaths on the roads declined by 18% … evidence from the UK Department of Health on the number of people admitted to hospital after road accidents did not show a decline.” Perhaps the authorities need to double-check their numbers.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

The music I listen to dares me to live

In the modern world, it’s not necessary any more for people to close their windows on nudity, indeed being naked to attract attention to a cause would be a bit pointless if everyone did.

std-20120610-img_2976_zf-0005-14698-1-003-bcFortunately that’s not the case in these more modern times and in fact members of the public who see the WNBR, as it passes them in the high street, are almost unanimously very supportive.

Of course, there are always one or two diehard, puritanical souls who express dismay and disgust with down-turned mouths, sour fish-faces and distasteful thoughts in only their minds, but the vast majority of people applaud and clap, and wave enthusiastically.

As Troy Marusek, who bicycled 800 miles from Chicago to St. Louis to join two separate WNBRs from his home town of Lexington, KY, relates: “A lot of the music I listen to dares me to live, and not to waste my life.”

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

The WNBR message of enjoyment and fun!

One of the clearest messages one gets from looking at images of people participating in the ride is that they are all enjoying themselves immensely, as are the public too, of course, and this is clear to see from the photographs presented in this book. Certainly some of the more amusing images are where the public and the riders interact in some way.

Clearly exposed fallacy

And these images clearly expose, if you’ll pardon the pun, the fallacy that nudity might be either shocking or dangerous, in any form, whether to adults or to children, in public, to young or old, or in any context. std-turin_world_naked_bike_pride_014-bcWe have a clothed bystander helping a naked rider pack her clothes in her saddle-bag, right in the middle of the high street while next to a double-decker bus full on onlookers; a man next to a proud and naked lady of 84 years standing by the marble column of the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park, London; a naked man posing alongside a group of perfectly happy and fully clothed teenage girls; a young naked student couple keeping each other company, sitting on the grass, while they protest against oil abuse; The naked cameraman interviewing the two clothed policewomen. An elderly clothed couple looking on serenely while surrounded by, and talking to, naked and topless WNBR participants. The naked woman cycling happily beside the clothed woman along the protest route together; the fully uniformed police officers cycling happily and peacefully within the group of naked riders. These are gorgeous little vignettes of tolerance and co-operation within a mass protest.

These images all show the way in which the WNBR enhances itself as an environmental protest, bringing the participants and the public together in a very special clothed and naked chiaroscuro. Many images from the WNBR are truly excellent and belong in the photo-documentary slot of any comprehensive photographic library purporting to be representative of modern times, and we present a frustratingly space-determined selection of these images, from the many hundreds submitted, for your curiosity here. The entertainment value is greatly enhanced when the locations also cry out for recognition. For instance, the London route wends it’s naked way through such famous landmarks as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Whitehall, Westminster, Waterloo, Fleet Street, The Royal Courts of Justice, Wellington Arch, St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London; all with the happy accompaniment of cheering crowds.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Why a war for oil?

Why a war for oil? Oil is used to power personal transport in the form of automobiles, it powers agricultural tractors and quarrying machinery, also road-building equipment, electric power generators, chain saws for logging. Oil is used for making hair shampoo, bathing and shower soaps, facial creams and beauty products. Oil is used to make cleaning, scouring, polishing and lubricating fluids for all kinds of purposes for our households and at our places of work in industry and factory settings.

Oil for plastic

Oil is used for producing the plastic materials which surround us in our cars, it’s used to make disposable containers for telephones, computers, pet food, pet toys, children’s toys, kitchen food, and of course plastic shopping bags. std-img_0011-bcWhich is not to say that all oil products are bad per se, just that there is a difference between the ones which can be reused and the ones which are to be discarded after a one time use.

There is a also a major difference between burning petroleum, irretrievably releasing very high levels of stored chemical energy, when compared to making useful and products which can be used repeatedly for a long period of time. Even so, pollution from discarded long-lasting products will always remain a problematic issue. Oil is used in almost every engineering-, military-, chemical-, and industrial- process to produce, as well as to protect, ‘our interests’ at home and abroad. Oil is used to oil the process of empire-building, or protectionism, or even just plain war, at every level, including oiling the barrels of the guns and fueling the Humvees and attack helicopter gunships.

The ‘war for oil’ is a particularly cynical form of circular dependency. In the 1960s, US President Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex” he had come to believe was running his country at that time. And I wonder, if he were around today and thinking of the issues and oil wars in and around Iraq and the middle-east, whether he would feel there had been progress, and if so, in what direction?

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Protests suppressed with violence

In times past there were protests against cynical technological improvements from the working population which were suppressed with immediate violence. Never forget that the people in power would be happy to do this today, and still do in some std-gilles_vivrenu_arrestation_cyclonue_2008_6-bccountries, to you and to me, except that they fear the power of visibility and answerability; the power of the media to expose the hand of power; the power of the people to stand against scheming machinations. We have the power of freedom of expression to demonstrate to others our point of view. We have the power to vote for an alternative.

As people become more used to the idea of naked protesting, public acceptance of nudity is increasing with each passing event, and every year. This can only be a good thing and perhaps, in time, people will become less obsessed with; greed and sex and violence, and learn to value instead: sufficiency, sustainability, simple nudity and calmness.

Perhaps even Miss World contestants might join naked environmental protests too, and truly begin to make a contribution to the long sought after ‘World Peace’ so often and famously talked of.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

All is as thinking makes it so

It is clear that our lives are defined by the space between the two camps of; firstly, our thoughts on our own actions; and secondly, by our fear of what other people might think.

std-100_8307-bcNever mind Shakespeare, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius pointed this out some two thousand years ago: “All is as thinking makes it so.”

Simply taking part in an environmental protest movement makes one an object of curiosity for many people, and while the majority of the public will be cheering the riders on, the media are busy interviewing the participants, regardless as to whether they are naked or clothed.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.