The Foundation Of Greenskate.org
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I LOVE MY COMMUNITY! What a strange way to start an article about environmental activism within the longboard community! But I would suggest that the statement “I love my community!” is the driving spirit behind all GreenSkate events. “Community” is the foundation, which is in direct relationship with our mandate. GreenSkate is successful because of community support and media coverage on merit alone. With a community foundation, it is easy to achieve our mandate to celebrate and encourage longboarding as an effective form of low-impact transportation.
By using grassroots forums and other social media sites, GreenSkate has maintained a consistent growth over the last six years. From our humble beginning, GreenSkate is now represented in 52 longboard communities, on every continent except Antarctica. We estimate that 3,000 people participated in last year’s celebration.
Our environment is the life force that has sheltered the human race for thousands of years. Many people still argue about the real environmental effects that industrial mining, urban development and modern agricultural practices have, but whatever your local issue, maybe GreenSkate is one way to take an active step toward a better future.
The first GreenSkate event was held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2007. It may come as a surprise that a community of longboarders surrounded by the Calgarian oil and gas industry would feel sympathetic to any green cause; however, the Calgary longboard community was very ambitious.
GET INVOLVED! GreenSkate is so simple – and that is why it is so successful. If you are a community of 300 riders or a small group of friends, your participation is essential in the growth of this movement.
We don’t have a list of regulations. We have only one customary step: All organizers are required to be a part of GreenSkate family. Organizers are asked to register their events at greenskate.org and to host the event within the established dates. That’s it!
Most events are traditionally held during Earth Week, April 16-22 (in association with earthday.org). This year, to accommodate countries that still have snow on the roads in April, we will also add the week of June 1-8, which includes June 5, United Nations World Environment Day (in association with unep.org). INTERNATIONAL DIVERSITY IS THE KEY!
Diversity in our global culture is a reality. This is also true when you take an honest look at the assembly of GreenSkate events. Organizers will always have this freedom to exercise their diverse ideas. Events have evolved from “critical mass” cruises to picking up garbage, from slide competitions to fundraisers for forest rescue programs. Whatever your group wants to do, just have fun and be safe.
TIPS TO ORGANIZE A CROSS-CITY CRUISE
The majority of successful GreenSkate events hold to the motto “keep it simple.” Most events center around a cross-city cruise.
Your event will sink or swim based on planning alone. If people like your event this year, they will come back next year and maybe even bring a friend. GreenSkate events typically grow exponentially every year. To encourage all levels of riders, try to pick a route that doesn’t have too many hills that end without a runout; some people haven’t mastered footbraking and are still in the learning stages.
Safety should be a top priority on your list. We suggest you make your event have a mandatory helmet rule. Depending on the group size, a front rider may be necessary to keep riders from going ahead of the group. A designated rear rider can also help keep stragglers from falling behind. Make a number of random short 2- to 5-minute breaks along the way to regather the group. Usually you can plan breaks around major intersections to discourage solo riders from trying to cross a busy street alone. Plan a long stop halfway along the route (a corner store, for example) where people can have access to water and have a snack.
Always “slow down and take it easy.” If you follow this advice, people will enjoy themselves more and come back every year.
Written By Ross Baradoy