It [language] crossed mountains and oceans as if they werent there. –Cormac McCarthy, “The Kekule Problem: Where did language come from?” in Nautilus, issue 47
Devi Lockwood is traveling the world by bicycle with the goal of collecting 1001 stories. The Guardian newspaper has run a couple of features about Devi’s trek to talk with citizens across the globe about their personal experiences with water and climate change, issues that Devi sees as being key challenges of her times. “I use my bicycle as a tool for human connection..a way of meeting people and listening to their stories,” says Devi.
We use language to organize our unconscious knowledge into narratives, or stories, that we communicate across space and time and around the world. Devi is intentionally cycling as slowly as possible in order to be a close listener, so she can hear the stories that people have, and diffuse an understanding about the changes happening. In New Zealand–a place long thought of us a last refuge of wild space–she observes farmers struggling to come up with a system to manage the booming dairy industry, the waste of which is running into the water supply. Devi’s observations at the community and individual level documents the real but oftentimes unaccounted-for costs hidden in our economy.
Devi’s work is pretty amazing, but we can also be close observers in our own communities at home. A lot of citizens are struggling and it is an important time to listen to our stories and understand what is happening. Cycling awakens our senses and helps us tune in, even to how the changes around us affect our own bodies, emotions and mind. Cycling lends itself well to exploring our complex, interlocking world. It teaches us more about place, more about our co-citizens, and gives us direct knowledge through our own biological feedback system–our health and well-being–while at the same time building up resiliency, sustainability and connections. Cycling stories help us put together all of that data we are gathering about the world in a way that is engaging, illuminating and fun.
Devi Lockwood’s professional website: http://devi-lockwood.com
The Guardian bike blog stories on Devi: