Stories from the Road reflection — Joyce Breiner host and community connector

Joyce Breiner has been welcoming cyclists to Poolesville, Maryland since the earliest rides. In her role as director of Poolesville Green, she has created many and varied opportunities for cyclists and community members to connect and learn. What that doesn’t tell you is that (1) she personally hosted riders until the ride got big enough that she connected us with the Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center and (2) she cooks legendary breakfasts. Joyce shared this reflection:

Please share a few sentences describing a highlight of a past bike trip.
There have been a number of highlights over the years – 8 so far?! From small beginnings of hosting a handful of riders in our Poolesville home to showcasing progress on sustainable actions in our community, it has been years of fun and growth in faith and purpose.

How has the bike trip continued to impact or sustain you?
The bike trip has been a reminder of the importance of continuing the work to encourage and inspire a more sustainable future.

In what ways are you continuing to reap inspiration and energy from your experience of the trip?       
Thinking of the PA IPL friends we have met and hosted each year, remembering the conversations we’ve shared and listening to their experiences along the trip continue to feed the soul. Hopefully sharing our experiences has been inspiring in return.

Please share a few sentences on what you are doing right now to support the work of PA IPL in raising climate change as a moral issue.          
Last year I achieved the Climate Change Professional designation as certified by the Association of Climate Change Officers and the State of Maryland. I am a member of the Montgomery County Maryland Climate Planning Workgroup, which is determining how to achieve the county’s climate emergency goals of reducing GHG emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035. I am advocating to allow agrovoltaic Community Solar projects in the county’s Agricultural Reserve through adoption of a countywide Zoning Text Amendment.

PA IPL’s Sustained Advocacy group is following and promoting community solar legislation in Pennsylvania — it is bipartisan and in both houses! You can help!

What “call to action” would you encourage others to take regarding climate change at this time?

  1. Vote.
  2. Run for local office, even a church council position, PTA position or other.
  3. Adopt renewable energy sources or drive an electric vehicle. Look for ways that make it work instead of being put off by perceived difficulties.

Watch for a how-to webinar for choosing 100% renewable energy at PA IPL this fall —the “shoulder seasons” when we use less energy are the best time to shop.


Moving forward with municipalities.

We can move forward boldly and fairly to meet the goals of the Paris Accord even when our President chooses not to lead.  It’s already happening.  Now is the moment to invite your mayor, your city council, and your community to join the action.

Ready for 100 and Cities 100
A number of our members are working with the Ready for 100 campaign to move their cities forward, and drastically reduce their emissions.  Mayors can sign on officially — before the 2017 US Conference of Mayors meeting at the end of June is ideal.  Cities 100 is the Climate Reality Project’s effort, with varied examples to share locally.

All Hands On Deck: Going to Zero Emissions in Pennsylvania
Our friend (and 2012 recipient of our PA IPL Visionary Award) Don Brown brought together a statewide group of organizations (including PA IPL) to commit to working together getting to zero emissions by 2050.  Click through to read the declaration, which is full of official Whereas-es so that it can be used easily in official contexts, but which is also highly readable; it gives important background, and sets clear goals.  Board members Bill Lochstet and Behzad Zandieh were on hand for the official announcement in the Capitol Complex on April 25, and for the leaders’ discussion afterwards.

Ferguson Township climate resolutionAnd on Monday, May 15, Peter Buckland (2015 PA IPL cyclist, and member of the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors in greater State College) introduced this resolution to his township. Read Peter’s excellent piece on his personal blog  — he is willing to make himself available to other municipal officials wanting to move this forward.  The Board of Supervisors voted overwhelmingly to continue work toward adopting the resolution.  Township staff will review and edit, and then it will come back for public discussion, followed by supervisor deliberation.  As you see above, the supervisors heard the resolution and made their decision in the company of many.  Residents and those excited by this bold action attended the meeting, with PA IPL cyclists gathering to riding to the meeting together.  The resolution and decision were covered by WTAJ-TV news, the Johnstown Altoona CBS affiliate, and by the Public News Service.

The campaign calls on all levels of Pennsylvania government and Pennsylvania public and private sector organizations to immediately begin to adopt strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to achieve net zero between 2045 and 2075.   Although the challenge to prevent catastrophic warming is staggering, leadership from sub-national governments around the world is arising that offers hope. Local leadership is aware of local resources that may be invisible at national scales, and non-fossil energy prices are rapidly falling.

Cosponsors of this campaign are: