CYCLE TO WORK—IT’S THE LAW. An outre, inverted, viridian rift on 1984, Brave New World or newly discovered chapter from an abandoned draft of Earth Abides? Nope. Try Mexico City, the present, and its Plan Verde, an ambitious eco-policy course of action initiated in 2007, which includes a bike-sharing program (Ecobici) and municipal commitment to build 186 miles of new bike paths (budgetary woes, unfortunately, have halted the path construction for now). City government workers, as part of the plan, will soon be required to bicycle to work the first Monday of each month. The city has already purchased 2,500 bikes to give away free to citizens who complete a bicycle safety course; another 1,100 bikes are actually part of the sharing program (an annual fee of 300 pesos [~$300] gives you access to the bikes).

Bike-sharing programs, both public and private, have been around for quite a while (recall Amsterdam’s famous white bicycles in the 1960s) and currently have a lot more traction in Europe, but are starting to pick up momentum in North America. In the case of sprawling, congested Mexico City, notorious for its air pollution, the program is part of its 20+ year struggle to change its ways—eliminating leaded gasoline, establishing emission standards for cars, closing particularly bad coal-fired power plants, among other ventures. But is the city past the tipping point? Is this too little, too late? Time will tell, but at least it’s a move in the right direction, a sort of noblesse oblige, which at least goes beyond mere yeah, yeah, we’re working on that platitudinous blather.

recent brandchannel piece commented on the marketing angle of such programs: “In an effort to modernize their brands and attract tourism dollars, many cities are adopting ‘green’ campaigns aimed at reducing pollution, promoting health, and demonstrating concern for the environment.” A reality check, sure, but it’s still a plus for the environment (refer back to our post on green marketing for a refresher). Read More »