Independence from Fossil Fuels

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — Hundreds of people spent their Fourth of July in downtown Corvallis celebrating the nation’s independence from Great Britain 237 years ago, but others are promoting other types of independence.

For most people, the Fourth of July means spending time with family and friends. Hundreds of participants marched down Monroe Avenue as part of the city’s annual parade. The majority of people filling the streets were showing their American pride by their patriotic red, white, and blue attire. Some people sported American flag shirts. One woman was dressed as the Statue of Liberty. But not everyone celebrates the fourth day in July the same way.

Some participants of Thursday’s parade say they do not want to simply celebrate certain freedoms, they want to use them. Environmentalists say they are using their freedom of speech to try to promote the independence from fossil fuels.

“It’s everyone’s patriotic duty to have a sense of conservation because we all benefit from clean air, water, and land,” said Dan Crall, owner of Corvallis Pedicab, the only non-motorized taxi service in town. “And while a lot of people might want to blow up Chinese fireworks to pollute American air and soil to celebrate independence, I feel like we should instead grab something tangible – like the independence from fossil fuels.”

One couple, like many others, biked downtown to the Red White and Blue Riverfront Festival. Their plans included attending the Corvallis Knights baseball game and eventually watching the downtown fireworks display.

“We’ll probably go from the baseball game, then bike back downtown to check out the fireworks,” said Corvallis resident Brian Augustine.

“It’s just easier that way,” added his fiancee Colleen Boyd. “Especially on days like today when everybody’s out trying to get a parking spot.”

Crall says he hopes more people follow in the footsteps of bikers such as Augustine and Boyd.

“It’s a very bike-friendly area where there’s almost no excuse for able-bodied people to not use the bicycle,” Crall said.

“We’ll just bike from the house down to the field, from the field down to the fireworks, and then back home. When the weather’s like this, you really don’t have a reason not to bike,” Boyd said.

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