Nicky Phear, a faculty member at the University of Montana, volunteered and coordinated our events along the west coast. She also joined us for this stretch of the trip and helped make the final weeks of Ride for Climate USA a success. She shares some of her thoughts on this trip here:
I was excited when David and Bill invited me join the Ride for Climate and set up events from Portland to San Francisco. I cast a wide net and was amazed by how inviting total strangers were to our message. Teachers brought their entire schools together for assemblies and designed curriculum around our talk; a pastor wrote a column to his congregation in advance of our visit to stress the importance of learning from climate scientists and caring for creation; the mayor of Eugene gathered her full transportation and sustainability leadership group to meet with us in Eugene.
In the three weeks that I was with Ride for Climate, we appeared on television three times, had three radio interviews, and a handful of articles in local papers. More importantly, we talked directly with over 1000 people from a wide range of demographics (through school visits, community events, churches, businesses, interviews at Safeways). After each talk we’d discuss what we felt was effective, and how the message might be best framed for this or that particular audience. It is hard to measure the success of these talks, but each time David showed pictures and spoke about the disproportionate impacts poor people in the south will suffer due to our excessive emissions, I felt the crowd grow quiet and still. When Bill spoke about solutions, people piped up with suggestions and shared ideas about initiatives in their particular communities.
Most of us reading these blogs know things we can do to make a difference. And for those of us making a difference, it has taken hearing the message many times and from many different messengers to begin to change our ways. (It wasn’t until this last summer that I finally got an energy audit and changed my own light bulbs!) I’d like to see the Ride for Climate continue because they both motivate the choir (like me) and reach beyond the choir. It was touching to see students and church members swarm David after his talks, thank him for coming, and offer ways they were going to make a difference.
Thanks to David and Bill for their tremendous efforts and care. Thanks to everyone that hosted, fed, and funded us. I enjoyed meeting you all! And let’s try to support the return trip and make it happen!