guest post: Jon Brockopp
So here we are once again at Bethany and Micah’s (and Benjamin’s) in McAlevy’s Fort. People are singing, relaxing and enjoying themselves after a good ride from State College. I still can’t quite believe that we ALREADY reached our goal of $6,000 for PA Interfaith Power & Light. The last check came at our send-off: from Pastor Steve and Lois Lynn. From first to last, thank you all for this support! So, the bike trip is already a success (but we’re going anyway—there’s still lots of connecting to be done).
The send-off was terrific, with music and a moving prayer from Faith United Church of Christ Pastor Monica Dawkins-Smith. Lots of friends joined us for the first couple of miles, and this year we had two riders come the whole 20 miles to McAlevy’s Fort: Dave Hunter (Molly’s Dad) and Noah (my son). This year we took the route through Rothrock State Forest – a bit longer, but safer with a large group.
We’re seven riders this year, ranging from 15-year-old Molly to 69-year old Ed, none of whom were on the trip last year (except me, of course). It is amazing to me that so many people are interested in taking this trip. Okay, it is a beautiful ride and a lot of fun, but it is also a five-day commitment and a lot of work. Aren’t we all supposed to be too self-centered to do something like this? I guess it speaks to the human desire to be part of a group of people, working toward a solution together.
When I started this in 2012, I felt like the whole trip was a fool’s errand – a foolish refusal to accept the inevitability of a changing climate. This year is different: I definitely feel hope. Penn State has already reduced its greenhouse gases 20% since 2005 and has a plan to reduce them 35% by 2020. Our Weatherization First program is growing, as we help people heat their homes while reducing their carbon footprint. Solar panels, electric cars, windmills: I’m starting to think we can do this.
Micah and Bethany’s farm, Plowshare Produce, is such a terrific example. From the actual horse power they use to prepare the fields to the solar-powered pump that waters the fields, this farm is very low carbon. And it’s a good life on the farm (even for the baby goats, as Janet’s daughter Cassidy discovered). We are again grateful for their hospitality and for the warmth and kindness of their home. This is going to be a great trip!
Jon (and Dorothy, Molly, Janet, Bob, Ed and Jason)