2018 Rider Profile: Dorothy Blair

Meet Dorothy, lucky thirteenth in the 2018 series of rider profiles.  Get to know the riders for the PA to DC rides as the series unfolds, then follow the trips!  Learn more.  Donate.

I am a lover of the earth.

Rolling into my seventies, I am determined to continue using any means in my power to challenge the uniquely U.S. approach of avoiding climate change issues. Most of us seem unable to consider ourselves part of and dependent on nature. Lately we have watched helplessly and ineffectively as the powers of wealth and oligarchy collude to ravage our environmental laws.

I despair, but fight back. My environmentalism is put to work through local chapters and national organizations like PA IPL, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Unitarian Universalist Green Sanctuary program, the Sierra Club, Fair Districts, and local groups like the Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition sprung up to address local exigencies. We are learning how to flex our citizen muscles against the excesses of the current administration and large corporations, motivating thinking people to fight back through action, media and the ballot.

Dorothy with her son

I do this for my son Ethan, now 28, an avid mountain biker and nature lover, for other innocent children, for the diversity of birds who, as I write, zoom in to take seeds off my porch table — local hungry bears have rendered bird feeders impractical — and those threatened members of the avian species without access to human largess. I do this for the trees who have met untimely deaths by unsettling microburst storms, hurricanes, fires, deliberate clearing, or through the savaging by bugs moving north. I do this for low-lying coastal cites, as an attempt, too late, to arrest the calving glaciers and melting permafrost.

My first 50 years were lived in a still-stable stable environment. As a former small-scale organic vegetable grower turned large-scale backyard gardener, the changes in the generally placid and predictable central PA climate have been obvious and scary for me. As a retired professor of Food Security I have long recognized the crazy thoughtlessness of tying our food productivity to a chemically-based industrial farming system that destroys soil, creates methane and NO3, and uses 7kcal of fossil fuel to produce 1 kcal of food energy. With deforestation, soil degradation and population growth, the productive land per person in 2050 will be only one forth what it was in 1960.

Consequently, I am deeply motivated to keep riding to D.C. each year, hoping to reach the receptive ears of congressional aids that might in turn sway their powerful bosses. This will be my fifth year on the PA-IPL ride.

I have a second motivation: to stay in shape so that I can continue to use my bike for transport, pleasure and reduced use of my car. Each time I jump on my bike I re-experience the sense of freedom felt when I received my first 10-speed bike on my 10th Christmas.

Though environmental volunteering has taken a big chunk of my life of late, I do have other sides to my personality. I am a cook who develops her own recipes, with the goal of making vegetarian/vegan food taste delicious. My current favorites are a very spicy vegan chili and a rendition of an Italian classic: lots of garlic and greens (kale, beet or chard) paired with orecchiette. My heart is softened by flowers, art, good conversations and hikes with friends. I read widely, and crave good movies. I sing in two choirs. Life is best lived fully, until you can’t!

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,

and to our 2018
BRONZE sponsors:

The Weimer Group
Exact Solar
richards | stover group  and Freeze / Thaw Cycles

Want more?
Read Dorothy’s past profiles
from 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017