I don’t think there are many greater, simpler joys than riding a bicycle. I reawakened this ‘childhood’ pastime several years ago as my major mode of transportation and passion and I haven’t looked back since. The bicycle in my mind continues to be revolutionary—I feel independent yet connected, free yet grounded, and always inspired each time I take my bike for a ride.
I think too, it is this kind of revolutionary movement that is begged of the earth-wide issue of climate change. Each of us is united in the fact of our livelihood dependent on this planet. This planet where at your (hypothetical, privileged) door step there is an immense array of smells, people, rivers, trees, quarries, deserts and wetlands and sensory-exploding environments that have mesmerized and inspired humans for centuries. If you take your bike for a ride you realize all the other senses you’ve been missing out on by riding in a car—you can smell the trees and the rain (and yes the trash and the roadkill) and you can stop at the smaller towns, and the quirky local coffee shop, and the destinations that aren’t accessed by an exit sign.
To say one began to “care” about the environment at a certain age I think is a little misleading—I began to understand slowly and am ever learning about our relationship to the land that we are dependent on—for energy, for food, for beautiful bike rides and hikes, and for all of life. My home state of Pennsylvania, like much of Appalachia, has taken from the land in some destructive ways over the past 200 years to support an age of industrialism and a growth-based economy. It is heartbreaking and overwhelming to realize fully the consequences this continued extraction and exploitation of the earth may have on the future generations of life.
So yes, I care that I have the beautiful woods minutes away to hike and explore.
I care that future generations will have the rights to happiness and life (and access to food and clean water and air)
I care that whole populations of people, that despite a proclaimed age of “globalization” we can so easily disregard, are more detrimentally affected by my choices than I am.
I am frightened the prospect of accepting the status quo that allows the degradation of the environment and populations of people to the detriment of future generations, as the leaders of our communities and country stand by and watch. I live my life in as much as I can to create positive change— believing strongly in investing in community, service, working with young people, and being conscious of the choices I make and how they affect the climate. I believe, too, that for a growing number of people the continued lack of change with community, national and religious leaders to stand up for the climate creates anger, disbelief, and at worst disengagement.
It is beautifully appropriate to journey on a bicycle to speak of the necessary action required of climate change. And this is why I am inspired and moved to join this group of climate activists to ride to our nation’s capital under the moral necessity demanded by this global issue. I am excited to begin this intentional journey of revolutions—for change, for future life, for our earth.
Read Joyce’s guest blog post about the last day of the trip.
Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2016 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)
MANY THANKS to our 2015 silver sponsors Sun Directed and Beth Richards, KBB Realtor,
and bronze sponsors Freeze Thaw Cycles and the Rock Ethics Institute for their support!
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