Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Thoughts from Nicky

September 17th, 2007 by David
Dawn ride out of Bend - the sisters behind us, moon

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.

A presentation at Zoe Barnum School in Eureka
South Fork High School in Miranda

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.

Nicky, Oregon Coast

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!

Sonoma and the Ride into San Francisco

September 16th, 2007 by David
Biking Sonoma Wine Country

Our last few days of riding were through California’s wine country in Sonoma County. As we were approaching the San Francisco Bay Area, where both Bill and I used to live, a number of old friends either hosted us or came out and biked with us.

In Sonoma county, we gave a flurry of presentations: a talk at Roseland University Prep High School, a talk for the Santa Rosa community at New College, a talk at Marmot (Marmot sponsored us with gear), and a talk at Sonoma High School.

David gave a talk at Roseland University Prep in Santa Rosa
David and Bill gave a talk at Marmot, one of our sponsors!
Sonoma Valley High School

It is amazing how different these audiences are. At Sonoma High School, many students drive their own car to school. Roseland University Prep, on the other hand, is a charter school that serves largely an immigrant population. After the presentation, I talked to one student whose family was unable to pay their electricity bill.

After another day of biking, we reached Fairfax, just 20 miles north of the Golden Gate. On Saturday morning, a group of cyclists, mostly friends or people who have been following Ride for Climate, met us in the morning and biked across the Golden Gate bridge, celebrating the end of this leg of Ride for Climate USA.

Cyclists joining us to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco
Ride for Climate supporters celebrating on the Golden Gate Bridge
Nicky, Bill, David, Golden Gate Bridge

Another Great Reason to be in California

September 14th, 2007 by David

Two years ago, when I left California, there was no law to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Now it is law to reduce emissions by 80% below 2000 levels by 2050. This is great! And this is what we need to do. Hopefully the rest of the U.S. will be able to follow.

Return to California

September 11th, 2007 by David
David returning to California, after 22 months of biking
Nicky, California Coast

California! It is great to be back!

It has been almost two years since I left California by bike. We celebrated the return to California with a big day – a tailwind pushed us south along the coast and Nicky and I biked/sprinted 117 miles to Eureka. Nicky had to endure me talking for hours about how excited I was to return to California, and to hear me tell various stories of my eight years living in the state.

A presentation at Zoe Barnum School in Eureka

In Eureka we visited an alternative school and we gave a talk to 120 students. One of the students posed one of the hardest questions I have had yet: “If the problems of global warming are going to be 50 to 100 years down the road, why do you care?” The school, Zoe Barnum, helps students who are struggling in other schools complete high school, and many of the students have more pressing concerns than global warming.

I have thought about this question a great deal since the school visit, and I have realized that the reason I care now is different than when I started biking two years ago. The places and people at risk to global warming are real to me – subsistence farmers who rely on glacial water in Peru, ecosystems in Costa Rica where we have already seen extinctions due to global warming, islanders in the Caribbean who live two feet above sea level, or forests in Wyoming that have been destroyed by beetle infestations. I have been able to visit these places, and I am scared for their future. The students at Zoe Barnum will likely not get to travel this much (but I am sure some could). I hope I was able to convey to them some of our interconnectedness with these people and places.

South Fork High School Earth Club

From Eureka, we traveled south, riding inland through giant redwoods and giving a talk for 100 students at South Fork High School in the town of Miranda. The student Earth Club then hosted a fund raising dinner, and shared stories of how many people in these remote areas live off the grid, using solar energy and batteries to keep their houses powered.

First Presbyterian Church in Fort Bragg

Returning to the coast, we followed California’s famous highway 1 south, and arrived in the town of Fort Bragg where we gave a talk at the First Presbyterian Church on Saturday night. The pastor, Dan Fowler, let Nicky and I camp in his backyard, and the following morning we attended his service.

Dan incorporated what he learned in our global warming talk into his sermon. He remarked that he had learned that by turning the lights on in his house, he makes life more difficult for subsistence farmers in in the tropics. Dan has spent some time in Nicaragua, and he shared the recent news that a hurricane had just hit the coast of Nicaragua. He asked for prayers for those living on the coast, and remarked that our emissions of greenhouse gases are likely making hurricanes worse. What we do here affects them. Dan finished by promising to his congregation that he would bike one day a week to church.

Nicky, California Coast
Nicky, California Coast

From Fort Bragg, we continued following the rocky California coast south before cutting over the coastal mountains to Santa Rosa, where we will make our final stops before riding into San Francisco.

Join us on Sept. 15th in S.F.

September 3rd, 2007 by Bill
Our flier for the final ride across the Golden Gate bridge into SF

On September 15th, we will complete the 5,000 mile northern tier of Ride for Climate USA. We invite you to join us for the last 20 (or 2) miles. With the help of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, we are now organizing a group bicycle ride from Fairfax (Marin) over the Golden Gate bridge and into San Francisco on Saturday, September 15th. It will begin at 9am in Fairfax. Some people may also join us at 11am for the last 2 miles over the bridge and into San Francisco. We hope you can join us if you live in the Bay Area and be sure to tell your Bay Area friends about it. You can find out more here.