Bike Party was honored by this fancy outfit! In the end four of us showed up to accept the award. As honorees they let us in for free. We mingled with the institutional pillars of the environmental community for a while. People were nice, and I heard lots of interesting stuff. The food was good. The drinks were good. Many politicians were there. It felt like an important occasion.
Shiloh Ballard was the MC. She brought the occasion to order and then got our host to say a few words. He thanked us all for being there and then introduced all of the elected officials among us. There were lots of them. Each took a turn waving while we clapped.
After our host passed the mike to our hostess she said she enjoys having everybody over once a year. Then she passed the mike to Rod Diridon Sr. He said something along the lines "We figured out about thirty years ago that the results from electing environmentalists were a lot better than the results of donating to candidates owned by big business and expecting them to represent us." Then he passed the mike to Gloria Duffy.
These pictures were taken from my spot in the middle of the front row. There were other people directly behind me, but I didn't want to make a big thing out of craning my neck around.
Gloria Duffy briefly recapped Cole Wilbur's background. He'd been a staffer at the Sierra Club when they fought the idea of damming the Grand Canyon. He'd been the main guy at the Packard Foundation, which had been a model non-profit that many others have since been patterned after.
Cole Wilbur talked about how recently he'd been working with Indians and Chinese to set up nonprofits in their home countries to fight their pollution problems. His assessment of that was "We've still got a long ways to go."
In presenting the award somebody said that the League of Conservation Voters tries to pick the right bird for the awardee. This one was picked for Cole Wilbur because it puts away acorns for later, which is unusual for birds.
Thang Do and Raul Lozano are the forces behind a community garden in San Jose. Thang Do is an architect who owns the property. He rented it out to Raul Lozano for a dollar a year.
Raul Lozano realized after he fell out of the theater world that there are a lot of food deserts in San Jose. No way to get fresh vegetables, and lots of people that didn't know eating grease every night was bad for their health. They started the community garden to teach people how to grow food in their own back yards. Now a lot of their activity is raising starts for back yard gardeners. They make a point of starting ethnic foods like bitter melon and lemongrass that aren't available at commercial plant nurseries. We're welcome to drop by and see the operation for ourselves.
Then our host came back up to introduce more dignitaries that had filtered in since we began the program.
Got this one waving while people clapped for her. That was a feat of coincidence! For most of them I didn't even figure out where the hand was waving until it was too late.
Then Mayor Liccardo said a few gracious words. One thing he mentioned was that the League of Conservation Voters really had made a difference for him, and he was grateful for that.
The introducer said "Riding with bike party is a lot of fun. They have been around at least 12 years now, doing rides on the third Fridays of the month, usually starting in San Jose somewhere. Since they started the idea has gone viral, and now there are something like 50 to 60 bike parties spread around the world. Like the League of Conservation Voters, they have bird themes going through the organization. The Ravens are the people that organize trash pickup. The Roadrunners are the guys that map out rides. The Songbirds are the ones that organize music during the ride and for the dance parties they call "regroups". Then he introduced Roy, our leader.
There was a chorus of "BIKE PARTY!" after he introduced Roy. Roy said that there is nothing magical about bike party, we've succeeded because people like riding bikes socially. "Our mission is to 'Build community through cycling.' Over our 12 years, over 500k riders have ridden over 7 million person-miles with us. We bring out a diverse group of riders that live in the south bay. New riders join us out of the closet/car to ride bikes for the first time or again. I love to see the amazement of participants at the end as they realize “I just rode 20+ miles tonight, I can do this!” We like to believe that we’ve helped make riding popular in San Jose and helped enable the great bike lane network that the local council members have helped drive. Get out of your car, ride a bike, attend a community event, volunteer to help bring your community together. Join us to help “Build our community through cycling!”
Then the rest of us that were there went up to help accept the award on behalf of San Jose Bike Party. Thank you Pat Showalter for taking this picture on Virginia's phone!
A picture of what we got. I didn't know what kind of bird that was so I asked around. The only friend that suggested anything was Ellen, who said "It looks an awful lot like a song sparrow! They’re gregarious and chatty and they share songs with birds from neighboring territories." Sounds apropos to me.
Then this guy introduced Spade and Plow, a subscription based farmed food box farm.
The farmer explained that he had wanted to do something organic that made sense in the marketplace. The subscription box business plan works because it cuts out a lot of overhead like grocery stores and middlemen. Can't say much because I was somewhat euphoric about the fact we'd just got a nice award ourselves.
Then our host came back up to bring our attention to a few notables that he'd managed to miss earlier for whatever reason. He finished by giving the woman from the California League of Conservation Voters an opportunity to say a few words.
She said nice things about the good work we are doing here in Santa Clara County. I think she was the one that said "I'm always an 'and' person, never an 'or' person."
The dignitaries who were there posed for a group shot at the end. I wasn't happy with the version of the shot I got, so below is Virginia's version.