Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Adios Josh Hart

Another valedictory, this time to Josh Hart who is about to leave our little island for his hometown of San Francisco, travelling entirely by surface public transport as a gesture against the hegemony of the plane and car. His arrival from San Francisco some three years ago by the same means made quite a splash with the media. But he had serious work to do at UWE and undertook valuable research replicating an earlier study (coincidentally carried out by an Englishman, Appleyard, in San Francisco 40 years ago) into the deleterious effect of high traffic levels on social contact between neighbours.

As well as undertaking the two year UWE course Josh has been very active in local and national environmental campaigns (as a google search will confirm), has maintained an excellent blog, On the Level, and has helped revitalise the Bristol Cycling Campaign. He has impressed us all with his typically American 'can do' attitude and has been inspirational as a public speaker, which he demonstrated again last Friday with his speakers' corner spot at the Arnolfini (above) and on many occasions when addressing politicians and local government officers, as in this video.

We hope to see him again in Bristol before too long, but who knows. It's not easy being committed to change and uncompromising in working for it. He has just completed a stint with Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrians Association) where he has done much to promote local groups but has clearly found it difficult to accept the 'don't bite the hand that feeds' culture of an organisation that seems to have been 'Sustrans-ised', abandoning cutting-edge campaigning for more lucrative work as in effect a government agency.

We can at least be confident that Josh will continue to make a big impact where ever he goes, an animated voice in defence of both the delicate environmental systems that underpin our survival and the weakest members of society. We all wish him well and will be following his exploits with interest via his blog which he has promised to continue.


Des said...

Gutted. No, really.

Chris Hutt said...

In reply to the person who commented "Why can't we comment on 'Adios Josh Hart'? 17 September 2009 10:12 on the following post, I can't see a problem, as this comment shows.

Anyone else had problems commenting on this or other posts?

Anonymous said...

A touch of irony in your tone Des!! Maybe he's going back for good!

Anonymous said...

A man with opinions higher of himself than his ability.

onthelevelblog said...

Hi Mark Bradshaw (anonymous) and Des Bowring. I know you don't like that I exposed your short sighted transport policies and anti- cyclist bias, but that's life. Wake up- it's the 21st century!

I know you'll miss me, but don't cry because I'll be back, bitches!

J x

onthelevelblog said...

By the way thanks Chris for your kind post. One thing is for sure- YOU have higher opinions of me than my ability!

Good luck over the next few months with the blogging and campaigning- you are doing a stellar job and Bristol is a better place for your incisive reporting. J

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disappoint Anonymous is not Mark Bradshaw.

Chris Hutt said...

Did I over-egg the pudding? I'm not suggesting Josh is perfect, just that he cares enough about the environmental catastrophe confronting us to do something about it, in fact to do rather a lot about it for one individual.

However imperfect such responses are and however tied up they may be with our baser human instincts, at least people like Josh are trying to help bring about the radical change required if we are to avert the worst of what might be to come.

Precious few people are prepared to put their self-interest aside to try to make a difference so when people do it is surely worth acknowledging. If we all decided to take a back seat then there would be no hope.