Meet Jon Brockopp, thirteenth in our get-to-know-the-riders series. Jon is the originator (2012) and leader of the annual trip, so you can browse through his 2016, 2015, and 2014, profiles, too. The 2017 PA-to-DC ride will take place May 19-24.
This is my sixth year leading the PA IPL bike trip to DC, and it’s going to be our biggest ever. I am so grateful for the way that both PA IPL and this trip have grown over the years, and thankful also to the many people who support our venture.
I am generally a positive person, and so I ride to bring a message of hope, to inspire others to act. I am particularly pleased to have so many young people on the ride this year, including my son, Noah. There is nothing better than being out on a bicycle in the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside, with 17 of my best friends!
But I also ride because we are in desperate times and my faith calls me to action. As a Lutheran, I regard sin and evil as everyday realities, and I feel it is important to meditate on our sins and mourn what we have lost. We passed three significant milestones this past year: 1) 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere; 2) one full degree Celsius above the 20th century average; 3) 2016 was the hottest year on record.
Almost 35 years ago, the National Academy of Sciences completed a major assessment, warning of the warming effect of burning fossil fuels. Had we responded then, we could have saved thousands of lives and billions of dollars. We did not, and we are responsible for the deaths of those who have died in heat, drought, and flash flooding exacerbated by climate change. We are responsible for animal habitats destroyed and for ocean acidification.
I believe in sin… but I also believe in redemption. As a species, we have an awful tendency to exploit and abuse the gift of the natural world – I know that tendency in myself! But we also have an amazing ability to care for and protect all living creatures.
I ride to model a lower carbon lifestyle, to talk to my Congressional representatives and urge them to action. But my faith tells me that this is not the root of the problem. Rather, I agree with Pope Francis that at the root of climate disruption is a problem of human ecology: our disconnect from one another and from Creation. When I ride, I slow down. I talk to my companions and to folks along the way.
I ride to rediscover, every year, the beauty of human compassion.
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