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Is Our Laziness Killing Us and Killing the Planet?

By James Sloan, Albury

The truth is often painful. No one likes been told they are fat and lazy! But sometimes we have to confront unpleasant realities. Especially when our behavior is not just harming ourselves but also the other 6.99 billion people we have to share this little planet with.

In a town the size of Albury, there is no reason why most people could not cycle or walk to work.   The excuses are usually a pretty lame cover for laziness.  Things such as:

The weather:

(it rarely rains on your way to and from work.)

You have to go to a meeting:

(usually not more than walking distance.)

You have to take something to work:

(can it be carried.)

It is too dangerous walking around the streets: 

(the risk of being injured in a car accident is probably a million times greater than the risk of being assaulted in the street.)

I can’t walk/ride in these shoes:

(wear sensible shoes!)

A bike helmet messes up my hair:

(yes, but I wonder what an average temperature rise of 2 to 4 degrees will do to your complexion, especially when you are 10 or 15 kg over weight.)

And it is not confined to a few slobs.  I go running with some fit people who drive short distances to join in the run.  During summer, the Albury swimming pool car park is full with cars of perfectly healthy people who have driven a kilometre to get to exercise.  We drive very short distances to the gym.  If we walked or cycled we would get exercise for free just getting there!

If everyone who lives within about 5 km of their destination (which is the majority in Albury/Wodonga) used their own power either by walking or riding a bike, not only would we reduce the amount of pollution and traffic, we would find the average body weight would go down which brings with it associated significant and proven health benefits.

In my four storey office there is a very pleasant open staircase and there is a lift. Most take the lift rather than walk two or three flights of stairs. And these are not disabled people; they are perfectly healthy, but in a few years they won’t be.