I have long felt connected with nature, because of my love for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and skiing in Pennsylvania. In 2013 I moved to attend the University of Toronto, to study Engineering, and where I still tried to regularly enjoy nature either at High Park or at the Algonquin Provincial Park. My focus shifted throughout my undergraduate degree, but I settled on Civil Engineering focusing on transportation and buildings. My love for nature has now motivated me to choose a career where I can use both my time and abilities to create more sustainable infrastructure.
My education and work experience has led me to believe that climate change is one of the most critical issues that needs to be addressed, but I have become skeptical that individual behavioral changes will be enough. At the same time, I have become confident that people will choose more sustainable alternatives if they are provided and the alternatives are competitive with traditional ones. I therefore believe that to address climate change we will need private industry to continue to develop sustainable alternatives and for government to develop strong supporting policy. I hope my career allows me to work on the first of those. The second is somewhat out of my hands, though Pennsylvania Power & Light (PA IPL) might be a way for me to help.
As federal support for addressing climate change wavers, local climate action has become even more important. In addition, a diversity of support for climate change is necessary to achieve significant policy changes and to encourage more people to get involved by demonstrating that climate change action can be inclusive. This was a major reason why I was interested in participating in the PA IPL bike trip as it hopes to influence policy, highlight the diversity of support for climate change, and foster a mixing of ideas. In addition, my family has regularly participated in cycling events together including competing in triathlons and participating in the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) rides, so this ride seemed like an excellent way to continue that.
I also view this ride as an opportunity to learn about the intersection of climate change and faith. I grew up regularly attending St. Andrews Episcopal Church in State College with my family but have not regularly attended since I left for university. While I have not been regularly active myself, university has given me the opportunity to become close friends with people of a diversity of faiths and talk with them about how they live their faith and how it is important to them.
In addition to my education, I have lived my climate change commitment through my transportation choices and my extra-curricular involvement. I have nearly exclusively walked, biked, or taken transit as my means of transportation to school and work for the last five years. Also, the last four years I have led and been involved in a student club that creates proposals for making buildings more energy efficient, fundraises and executes renewable energy projects in developing countries, and promotes sustainability in the community.
A fun fact is I view myself as a life long learner who is an avid reader and I alternate listening to ten different podcasts. So, I hope to trade reading lists and possibly have some fun spirited debates on the ride.
Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)
to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,