Live the Adventure
By Lola Barista: Sarah Lewis
Why do I cycle? I cycle to understand myself and the world around me. Not crumbling under terrible weather conditions, unexpected route changes or disagreements, builds your character and expands your tolerance, determination, and compassion. Observing the conditions others are under, the divides between places and the industries that surround us, allowed me to reflect on the problems of the world.
In the month of January, I cycled through Portugal and Spain with two friends, starting in Porto and finishing in Alicante. We stopped at 7 ecovillages, investigating how the Global Ecovillage’s Framework for Sustainability (Ecological, Social, Economic and Cultural Sustainability) is reflected in their land-use management. I asked each ecovillage to explain their past, current and future land-use. We filmed the adventure, interviewing people along the way to build a story of alternative learning, community designs and adventure.
Some of the biggest learning moments happened during the commute. Bike touring highlighted the spaces in-between, showing the differences between rich and poor, urban and rural, industrial and wilderness. One of the most memorable rides was cycling through the greenhouses near Almeria. The first leg of the ride was from Almerimar to Almeria. Almerimar is known as a tourist town, with its beautiful port and scattered green areas. The people on the streets of Almerimar were predominately white.
The surrounding area of Almerimar is quite different. We passed rows of greenhouses, and there was strong smell of chemicals, the racial majority shifted from white to black, and there were no green areas anymore, only greenhouses. Who is working in these greenhouses? How is the quality of life? I only cycled 50 km through the greenhouses in the winter, and the smells already made me feel unwell. How about the people that spend their whole lives in these areas during the peak summer heat?
Cycling showed me inequalities and privileges firsthand. It showed me how spaces are demarcated, perpetuating cycles of poverty, sickness, and social and ecological destruction. I hope I can share this experience through the film as a way of spreading an awareness of these inequalities and inspire solutions.
Not everyone is able to just get on a bike and leave for weeks. However, adventuring and observing your environment can take many shapes, and there are people that are willing to help you accomplish this. Lola was a starting point for me, the community support gave me the confidence to go on such an adventure. The first step is reaching out to your local communities like Lola, and start dreaming, talking and planning.