Bike Blog 2017.2: Sendoff! then heat, hills, and a warm welcome.

bike 2017 potluckWhat an evening! Cyclists are full of a fantastic potluck, a sunset view (with sheep!) and are
spread out across 2 houses and a couple of tents in McAlevy’s fort at Plowshare Produce with our fabulous hosts Bethany and Micah Spicher-Shonberg, Tom and Sharon Spicher, and Bethany and Micah’s boys who are belly-laughing and singing in the next room as I write this).

Rev. Dr. SamHuffard bike 2017Only about 6 hours ago we were pulling in to our sendoff site, Foxdale Retirement Village, with residents standing in the hot sun, wearing cycling jerseys and vigorously waving us on in the proper direction to make sure we never had a moment of doubt about where we were meeting.  By the time we gathered with some choruses of “A-a-a men… a -a-a-men” we had a remarkable crowd of cyclists and well wishers of all stripes.  The Rev. Dr. Sam Huffard treated us to a short reflection on the importance of journeys (referencing the Bible and Jack Kerouac!) and led us in a prayer of blessing.

IMG_3639Lining up for a group photo really impressed upon us how much bigger this group is than any trip previously.  The guy in orange is Jacob Mann from our faithful Silver Sponsor SunDirected.  The giant group also meant we took a whole lot longer to cross intersections, so the State College Police Department provided us with a fantastic escort all the way into Boalsburg.  Thank you, Officer McDannel.Police Escort bike 2017

This first ride is extremely hilly, with the first major hills in full-on sun and highway.  To get up and over the mountain into the next valley, though, we ride through incredibly beautiful forest, alongside streams, and surrounded by every shade of spring green.  A good chunk of the hilliest part of that ride is on gravel roads and it is hard riding.  With one assist, everyone made it, and we are grateful that we should only have 1 or 2 of the 3 stressors a day after this: heat and gravel, hills and highways, but not all three.  We’re looking forward to the cooler weather forecast for tomorrow.

We’re down to the sounds of the spring peepers and the grandfather clock, so it’s time to head to bed so we can be up really early for quiet time with coffee (Karl!), or roll out of bed in time to get breakfast (Noah!).  Before we leave at 9:00 am, we’ll head to the field to get a taste of the work these farmers do to provide the beautiful food we eat.  We’ll be helping plant some of the thousands of sweet potato slips Micah and Bethany have just received.  Collect your sweet potato recipes this summer— the harvest is coming!

—Cricket
and all the cyclists.

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
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and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
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Bike Blog 2017.1: Details

Tomorrow we begin our 200-mile trek to Washington with our biggest group ever – 17 riders! Last year, it was a chilly, rainy evening when I wrote this first blog, with the send-off weather predicted to be 50 degrees and showers. This year’s a little different! Should be glorious weather for our event in the back of Foxdale Village Retirement Community (Marylyn Ave.). Join us at 3:45 p.m. if you can.

Astonishingly, we have already raised over $10,000 toward our goal of $12,000 – thanks to everyone who has contributed! Your gift allows PA Interfaith Power & Light to reach out to more people of faith who want to respond to the challenge of climate change. And this outreach is sorely needed.Cyclists at church

As I said to Pastor Ed Seeley this morning: congregations seem to be the last place in our society where people of different backgrounds and political persuasions can come together. Ed is pastor of Orbisonia United Methodist Church, one of our hosts along the way. As pastor and as chaplain of the local fire company, he is an experienced community builder, and as we see more flooding rains and more drought due to climate change, this sort of community will be vital.

But here, I want to give you a peek behind the scenes at the preparation for a trip like this. Without all of Cricket’s hard work, and the help of our many supporters along the way, none of this would happen. With so many riders, we have split the group into three teams, led by Janet Swim, Ed Prince, and me. Ed will also serve as tour physician. Paula Droege, Dave Hunter, and Alex Yaney are driving a support car (electric and hybrid, of course!), and we have arranged two new places for the group to stay: Am Kolel Jewish Retreat Center in Poolesville, MD, and Steinbruck Center at Luther Place Memorial Church in DC.

Ferguson Township meetingThe cyclists have also been busy: getting in shape, packing their gear, and joining training rides. Just last Monday, 10 cyclists rode together to Ferguson Township to witness Supervisor Peter Buckland (a 2015 cyclist) introduce an important piece of local legislation: a resolution for the Township to go carbon neutral by 2050. In the absence of national leadership, these local initiatives are essential. These efforts and those of our riders each year certainly give me hope that change is possible. If you haven’t, please read their stories on our blog. Each one is a gem.Ben with child train

As we begin this trip once more, we are all so very thankful for our corporate donors, for all those who support us along the way. AND, we are grateful to all of you for joining us on this trip, supporting us by your thoughts, prayers, and your donations to PA IPL.

Onward to Washington!!
Jon (and the other cyclists) 

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
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and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
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Why are carbon standards important?

PA IPL’s written testimony to the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.splash

Docket Number: EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190
originating from Executive Order 13777

The EPA came about as a result of fully bipartisan legislation that still had strong bipartisan support years later when it was renewed. That legislation, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act grew out of experiences across the country, including a tragic and seminal case from our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – the Donora Smog of 1948 in which 20 people were killed directly during the incident, 700 were rendered critically ill, 50 died within a month, and mortality rates even a decade later were well ahead of nearby communities. U.S. Steel never accepted responsibility, and payouts to the injured and widowed covered little more than legal expenses.   In this country, we know that this is not right.

It is true that sometimes regulations cost corporations some money, and yet we are a people that understands that there are moral standards, moral limits. We limited child labor, no matter how plentiful and nimble the very young might be, and how much more expensive it might be to pay adults to do honest work. We understand that is the right thing to do, and so we do it.

Similarly, we know that we cannot allow industries to use our Common Home in ways that trample the green pastures on which we all feed, or muddy the waters from which we all drink. [Ezekiel 34:18].   Unfortunately, we have also learned that the drumbeat of profit can be deafening, and balance sheets blinding, and so we must, as a people, agree upon standards, limits to poor behavior.

EPA regulations are not promulgated willy-nilly. In fact, they are created over time, in consultation with stakeholders, and with public comment Continue reading

2017 Rider Profile: Molly Hunter

Before her feet could reach the pedals!

Before her feet could reach the pedals!

Meet Molly Hunter, seventeenth in our get-to-know-the-riders series. Molly also rode in 2014, and  2015.  The 2017 PA-to-DC ride  will take place  May 19-24. 

I was first motivated to go on the bike trip in 2015, as a freshman in high school. My dad had been on the trip the year before, my mom was very involved in working for PA IPL, and Jon Brockopp, a good friend and neighbor, thought it was a good plan as well. The first year I went I was more nervous about the actual trip than anything else. I recognized that it was in order to raise money for PA IPL and that it was all about fighting climate change, but for me personally it was the ride itself that was the challenge.

This year is a little different. I have changed since 2015, and am now a senior in high school. The two times that I participated in the trip before, I went to Hill visits and discovered that they are one of my least favorite things to do, but I’m starting to see more and more how important it is to talk to legislators, and the impact that I and others of my age can make.Molly Hunter

I love biking and generally being outside, so of course that motivated me to go on yet another bike trip, but I also realize that doing this trip might help me continue to be able to do the same things that I enjoy in the future. Especially now that I’m voting age, I am glad to have had this experience speaking to people in government to help me feel connected.

Molly HunterWhen I’m not training or riding, I play on the State High girls ultimate frisbee team. We recently attended our first tournament and it was a lot of fun. I also was a member of the diving team which was a great way to challenge myself in a relatively low stress situation. Even though all we have at my house are our 3 chickens, I love animals, including snails (see photo above!) and most others. I do not like writing about myself, and I admit that I am ready to be done with high school and move on to the challenges of the wider world.

Molly’s home congregation, Grace Lutheran Church, 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
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and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
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2017 Rider Profile: Dorothy Blair

Dorothy headshotMeet Dorothy Blair, sixteenth in our get-to-know-the-riders series. Dorothy also rode in 2014,  2015, and 2016.  The 2017 PA-to-DC ride  will take place  May 19-24.   

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.

Dorothy with her son

Dorothy with her son

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.Dorothy on bike

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
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and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
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      FreezeThaw small

Learn about sponsoring PA IPL. Become a sponsor.

2017 Rider Profile: Noah Droege

Noah FlipMeet Noah Droege, fifteenth in our get-to-know-the-riders series. Noah also rode in 2015.  The 2017 PA-to-DC ride  will take place  May 19-24.   

Looking toward the future can be a difficult and scary task. On the one hand, a barren wasteland torn apart by war and natural disaster. On the other, a utopian landscape blossoms to life, one where we have put aside our differences to come together and tackle the severe problems facing our world,. While neither one of these extremes is likely to be fully realized, I believe it is our duty to push upwards in search of that perfect world, and that starts with taking action now.

Noah treescapeAs an avid skier, global warming affects me specifically because of the gradual lack of snow that has been plaguing central Pennsylvania’s ski hills. It was so bad that last season I packed up my things and moved out to Colorado to work and ski there. But even there, the beginning and ends of the season are getting worse and worse. There was a major freeride (jumps and tricks and stuff) competition on December 8th, and there was just not enough snow. The crew blew snow on it for a week straight, and still had to cancel the halfpipe completely, as well as remove one of the three jumps so that they had enough snow for the rail section. Soon after however, we started getting snow, and lots of it. One week in January brought in over four feet of snow! It was a great time, but looking out over the white expanse, it reminded me that this view was one worth preserving, so that others might share the same experience that I did.

This bike ride is the perfect step towards, as Bill Nye calls it, “saving the world” (if you haven’t seen his new show I highly recommend it; the first season is on Netflix). It is exactly what I described in my opinion of the perfect world, a group of people hailing from different religions and walks of life coming together as one to fight a common enemy: climate change.

Climate change is a huge issue with very severe repercussions if it is not dealt with soon, but what worries me the most is that those repercussions multiply the longer action is delayed. As of now, the ocean is expected to rise up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) by 2100, a number that could increase further if no action is taken. If the two centigrade limit of global warming is reached, scientists predict sea levels could rise anywhere between 10 and 40 meters (33 to 132 feet)! I don’t want to live in a world where much of California and most of the South gets submerged in water, not to mention Mexico and many South American countries being in severe danger as well. Worse, I don’t want my children and grandchildren to grow up not believing in Santa because the Arctic no longer has ice for much of the year, so his workshop would be at the bottom of the sea. And finally, even worse than that: the knowledge that I could’ve done something about it, and didn’t.

Noah DroegeTo me, this ride is only the first step in the process of bringing together the world and fully stopping climate change. But it is a step nonetheless, and I am hopeful that it can inspire others to take action as well.

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
NewLogoSM

and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
KBB-logo-2-web
      FreezeThaw small

Learn about sponsoring PA IPL. Become a sponsor.