2015 Rider Profile: Dorothy Blair

Meet Dorothy Blair, eighth in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2015 PA-to-DC ride  took place May 1-5, 2015.

biking L. OntarioThis is my second year to bike to Washington D.C. (2014 profile.)  I know in advance that it is great fun and a privilege to be with so many good biker folk supporting PA IPL. What a fabulous opportunity to lobby our congressmen and senators about climate change! I also will to put into practice the techniques I learned at the Philadelphia Friends Center/PA IPL conference on lobbying from a position of strong ethical belief.

I am not the kind of biker who takes century rides or loves to bike over Pine Grove Mountain. I am a can-do kind of biker; I know I have the stamina to get there and love the exertion, but I also like to pay attention to the natural world before it whizzes by. Last year I biked with my friend around lake Ontario, about 600 miles. We were slow and steady, finishing in 11 days. On the Canadian side it was very flat. The U.S. side was a rude awakening – hills similar to those we will encounter between here and Maryland.

My commitment to fight climate change is very strong. I became attached to nature through my grandfather and mother’s gardening and my father’s love of hiking California’s coastal range and the Sierra Nevada. He never let me forget that I could indeed hike to the top of the mountain, even when I begged to be carried.

Climate change is scary. The beloved state of my birth – producing 90 to 99% of our country’s walnuts and almonds and 90% of its broccoli – is running out of water. People must choose between drinking water for towns or irrigation for farms; in the west wild fires rip through dead trees felled by imported insects. Pennsylvania’s own weather is unstable due to ice melt and a sluggish Gulf Stream. The world feels awry.

So I keep my electricity needs as low as possible, buy wind energy for the grid at a premium, feed my family and friends vegetables, fruit and potatoes out of my large organic garden and feed their souls with my flowers. I try to bike or walk for transportation when I can. As a professor my students always went through the exercise of estimating their CO2 footprint and increasing their environmental engagement. Now retired, I still work with students and my fellow Unitarian Universalists on environmental projects. And being politically involved about climate change has become second nature for me.

It is my great pleasure to work with farmers in East and Southern Africa as a nutritionist and foods specialist. I have witnessed first hand the terrible deforestation caused by poverty, lack of cooking alternatives, and agricultural field prep via burning due to lack of tools. Without rain people have no food to eat. Often the rains don’t come, or come too hard, with no forests to hold back the flood. This year Southern Malawi experienced excessive rain that washed away planted seeds, while the north received too little rain for a decent crop. People living close to the edge starve when rains are uncertain. We in the U.S. have food security Africans could only gape at, but our prices like theirs, will increase with drought.

DorothyBlair.BuddhaAt the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County I am working with a strong group toward certification of our Fellowship as a Green Sanctuary. Certification requires that our 300 members and attenders assess their own environmental commitment and increase the presence of Earth-based spirituality and climate change commitment at every phase of our worship, education and action. PA IPL is already a part of our Fellowship’s commitment, showing people of faith in Pennsylvania new ways to become engaged in loving and nurturing our Earth, our bright blue-green home.

Read Dorothy’s 2015 guest post about day 3 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!
Learn about sponsoring PA IPL. Become a sponsor.

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