350 miles of climate outreach—by bike
By Paul Thompson
Mindy Ahler is back on her bike again, covering miles and talking climate action. After her epic 4,000-mile cross-country journey last year with Ryan Hall, Mindy is now focusing on six towns and small cities on a 350-mile, eight-day loop through west central Minnesota.
As her partner and CCL North Wind co-regional coordinator, I’m joining Mindy on this year’s “LowCarbon Crossings” bike tour. We’re also riding alongside Michael Orange, an energy manager, avid cyclist and former city planner from West St. Paul. We kicked off the tour on Sunday, August 13 and have events scheduled through August 19.
LowCarbon Crossings, a project of Cool Planet, aims to heighten the public’s understanding of climate issues, inspire action toward climate solutions, promote cycling as a healthy, carbon-neutral way to see the world, and engage with people dedicated to making a difference.
“Connecting people to one another and their shared concerns is an effective way of maintaining action for the long-term,” Mindy said, “as well as combatting the despair that often accompanies discussion of the climate challenge.”
This LowCarbon Crossings is specifically planned to travel through mostly rural locations, providing an opportunity to engage local voices in conversations about the community’s concerns and current experiences. We’ll also discuss the climate solutions they are most interested in pursuing. Specifically, this ride is an opportunity to connect urban and rural people about their climate experiences and find solutions that respond to the needs and concerns of all.
After a long day of biking in the summer heat and wind, arriving to our destination for a shower, some food, local hospitality is wonderful. But what really gives us the energy to keep on riding is the amazing conversations we have with local communities about their actions on climate solutions.
Without communicating to our elected officials the need for bipartisan action on climate solutions, the future for our kids and grandkids is not looking too promising. But thankfully, motivated citizens are standing up around our country saying it’s time to come together, protect our environment, and allow future generations to experience the beauty of Minnesota that my generation enjoyed.
To follow along with our ride, visit the website at lowcarboncrossings.org or follow us on Facebook. Mindy and I also lead the Biking for Climate Action Team, which you can find on CCL Community. Best of all, get out your bike and start riding!