This is my 4th PA-IPL bike ride to Washington. As I recently entered my 70th decade, I thought the third ride would be my last. But here I am again, signed-up for a joy-filled 200 mile cycling tour.
Why do I bike? We have the privilege of cycling through the beauty of Penn’s woods with the comradeship of inspiring and loving biking-mates. We learn varying faith perspectives on climate change responsibility as expressed by our hosts and other folks we meet on the way to D.C. We take on the challenge of executing the light persuasive touch needed in congressional offices.
Also, we whip our winter bodies into biking fitness for the long ride –a task I tackle with enthusiasm because the payoffs are nifty. Though I know l will never be as fast as those large-muscled tall guys, who race ahead while I am pedaling full out just to keep up, I feel wonderful by the end. I consider riding up to the Lincoln Memorial where we traditionally pose for a group photo a real achievement.
Because I am enchanted by the beauty of the Earth and fear its loss, climate change activism has taken over my retirement life. I volunteer with the State College Citizens’ Climate Lobby, coordinating our events tabling, writing letters-to-the-editor, and lobbying both our local congresspersons and senators in the PA/Washington contingent. I work with Fair Districts to move toward gerrymandering-free districts in PA, creating districts where a Republican Congressman might listen to his constituency’s plea to support climate action. I eat modestly, grow my own food, bike to town when weather allows, and use little fossil fuel.
Most of my time is taken up leading the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship toward a Green Sanctuary Certification. Our certification requires 12 programmatic thrusts emphasizing the spiritual nature of eco-justice and earth-care, education, and provision of opportunities for adults and youth to act locally and nationally to reduce their footprint. Certainly, “is-it-green?” has become a frequently asked UUFCC question. We should achieve certification next year.
Pennsylvania boasts forested ridges, great soil for farming, steams, open land and moderate weather, enabling the lives of myriad creatures. We will loose our heritage of a beautiful and healthy environment if we choose to ignore nature’s needs in favor of our own “wants,” or let our politicians off the hook. What has happened in Washington D.C. is a wakeup call for action. Those we lobby appreciate our passion for eco-justice and the environment. Citizens owe that to our democracy.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County is a PA IPL member organization.
Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801
MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed