Rider Profile: Jason Whitney

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We thought you might like to get to know the riders for the 2014 PA to DC ride while they’re busy getting winter legs (and gears) in shape for the May 2-6 ride.  Watch this space for introductions.  Today, meet Jason Whitney:

Even before I became aware of impending climate-change catastrophes, my instincts leaned towards conservation and stewardship.  When I contemplate global warming, I think first and foremost of the suffering and starvation that will be brought about by rising sea levels, freakish weather, drought, desertification, and wildfires.  My passion for scuba diving taught me about the crisis facing coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.  So much change is happening so fast that we are in truly unchartered territory.  

I believe that a Higher Power takes an interest in guiding each of us as individuals to live the most meaningful and worthwhile life that is possible in the small time we have on earth, and I find my greatest contentment in aligning my will with that of my creator by serving the greater good, helping others, and being of use.  Individuals are at their best when they are connected to groups that are supportive of the common good.  I see global warming as arising chiefly out of personal moral failing and ignorance, and I will not be hypocritical and pretend for one second that I haven’t played a part in that.  There also isn’t too much on offer that doesn’t pollute much more than necessary, but I’ve helped the manufacturers become complacent and bought their stuff anyway.  There are ways to mitigate our own footprint on this earth, and we all need the motivation and the means to make responsible decisions.  This extends to our collective responsibility, and pro-environment legislation needs all the political support it can get.  There are technologies that we need to develop and embrace on order to ensure a future that features increasingly efficient products, and a Higher Power will prompt us to find innovative ways to live that improve the situation, rather than worsen it.  Probably my biggest contribution to this cause has been through my support of home-rule initiatives and my support of land conservation.  I vote and try to encourage others to support good causes.  My politics favor moderation, compromise, solution-mindedness, democracy, inclusion, participation, and personal sacrifice.  Points awarded for hardworking, forward-thinking candidates.  Points off for evil, misinformation, and cynicism.

Cycling is a long-term hobby of mine.  I prefer long rides with other people through scenic country roads, and I like a challenge but don’t want to race.  This is my first multi-day ride.

IMG_5247I have about a million hobbies, but mostly I like games, especially soccer, backgammon, and chess.  I may try to convince others that I’m really cool, but I’m a hard-core Dungeons and Dragons dork at heart.  I love to travel, scuba dive, and body surf.  I play the guitar.  I’m a member of Grace Lutheran.  Teach at Penn State.  I’m learning Portuguese.  My wife and I live in Park Forest; our daughter Emily is 6, and my son William is 1.  Looking forward to the ride!

Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2014 to PA IPL 2100-C East College Ave., State College, PA 16801)