Would you bike for fireflies?
MANILA, Philippines - When was the last time you saw fireflies? Why are there no more fireflies in Metro Manila?
According to Katti Sta Anna, president of the Firefly Brigade, fireflies exist where the air is clean.
"The lack of fireflies in the city is only a testament to the polluted air we breathe. The fireflies have fled because of air pollution. But we believe that we can still fight for clean air, and bring fireflies back - a symbolic call for our own survival - as we struggle to be able to breathe clean air ourselves," Sta Ana said.
One way to bring clean air back is to lessen the use of fossil fuel.
On April 26, in observance of the Earth Day, cyclists will gather at the Quezon Memorial Circle for Summer Cycling Convergence: Festival of Fireflies to promote the culture of cycling as a way to preserve the environment.
The event is a pre-cursor to the Tour of the Fireflies, an event that has been held for the past 15 years, happening in November, the biggest cycling event that brings together more than 14,000 cyclists.
For the fireflies
The Firefly Brigade, a group that promotes the use of the bicycle for clean air and sustainable communities, does not only see cycling as a way to improve air quality in cities. Its members also see it as a means of sustainable transportation.
With the traffic in Metro Manila only getting worse by the day, the bicycle may just be the most sensible, environmentally sound vehicle for getting around the city.
“In spite of the best efforts of our local bicycle advocacy groups, our current state of transportation leaves much to be desired. Our national government still continues to depend on unsustainable means of solving traffic congestion problems, relying on road-building and widening projects that encourage the use of even more private motor vehicles,” Sta Ana said.
She added: "We think it's time for LGUs to organize their own bike rides to improve the quality of life in their localities. A few of these LGUs have already started doing this, and we are enjoining more to have their own bicycle programs through effective bike-friendly legislations and practices."
To encourage LGUs into becoming bicycle-friendly places, the cities and municipality in Metro Manila were invited to participate in the event.
The organization will also be providing each city and municipality resources that will help them set up bicycle program development plans such as constructing bikeways, planting trees for shade, and holding carless days and bike-to-work days.
The event hopes to inspire LGUs by the triumphs in cycling advocacy of their neighbor cities, and for businesses to see the opportunities in building upon a thriving bicycle culture that cater to the cycling community.
“By bringing together different stakeholders, we would like to see a convergence of people who join our tour and that this convergence might result to positive actions in terms of support for cycling as a mode of transportation,” Sta. Ana added.
There will also be a bicycle show featuring unique and vintage bikes, a bike tiangge where cyclists will have an opportunity to exchange bike parts or donate to the organization's Recycle-A-Bicycle Project, and a free bike tune-up for the whole day courtesy of Cycle Shack. And of course, in the tradition of the Tour of the Fireflies, where the best costumed rider will get a valuable prize. For the first Cycling Convergence, it will be a Tern folding bike. - Rappler.com
Summer Cycling Convergence: Festival of Fireflies is organized by The Firefly Brigade in partnership with Dakila, Manila Bulletin, Newton Multi Sales and Junni Industries. For more information visit www.fireflybrigade.org or their Facebook page.