You have to laugh at this

I found a most delicious video clip on Facebook this morning: in an effort to induce commuters to use the stairs instead of an elevator at a subway station, some Stockholmers came up with the idea of turning the stairs into a piano. So instead of walking up the stairs, you plinky plonk your way up and down them. Check it out here: it's charismatic!

The stairs-vs-elevator trick is one of the oldies but goodies in the list of things we can and should do to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Another is to get out of the expensive and ungreen habit of driving to the café at the corner, and walking instead; cycling to work if your route and distance make it feasible; dancing, gardening... if you're conscious of it, there are loads of ways to get your muscles working daily without it feeling like exercise.

I think we should all take our lead from the spirit of the Berlin brothel which, Sapa reported this morning, has exhibited amusing initiative in dealing with the impact of the recession. If clients can prove they've arrived by bicycle or by bus – by showing their bike helmet, padlock keys, or bus pass – they get a reduction of 5 Euros on the usual 30-Euros-for-15-minutes rate (clearly, the Berliners are dispiritingly efficient). The green discounts have been a roaring success, says the madam – business has picked up considerably, and no carbon monoxide was produced in the solving of the problem. Clients, presumably, are seeing all sorts of additional health benefits.

Simple things can solve many problems. Avoiding motorised transport when you can, is a fitness solution at the same time as it's a green solution.

Another win-win is grow-your-own: get fit with a bit of gardening, and save a whack at the supermarket. Today is World Food Day, and we're looking at some of the solutions to food sustainability (the answer is, literally, in your own back yard).

Today also marks the coming together in Cape Town of some of the world's leading eco-experts for an international conference on biodiversity, where the following hard question must be dealt with: if the endangered riverine rabbit or the African grass owl can't adapt to life in a world dominated by humans, how important is it really for its species to survive? Olivia Rose-Innes explores this emotional question in a must-read piece.
Put it down to summer, or put it down to the sobering thought of the impact Eskom's 45% dreams will have on the economy, but I'm feeling very energised about walking, cycling, and my tomato seedlings...

(Heather Parker, Health24, October 2009)

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