Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Biking to Washington, Maybe We'll Meet Steven Chu?

Reading Rolling Stone magazine last night, I came across an article about Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist and Obama's Energy Secretary. Typically you see pictures of him dressed in a suit, like most people in Washington, but Rolling Stone featured a photo of him decked out in a helmet and spandex shorts. Chu is a legit biker, and according to R.S., his only luxury is his $5000 carbon-fiber Colnago bike.

He doesn't even own a car, although this wouldn't be too difficult at U.C. Berkeley, the country's most bike-friendly campus. Moving from Berkeley to Washington, however, he now has a gas-guzzling chaperone.

I realize that Steven Chu's appearances on two wheels are part of a press stint, but I'm glad we have a biker as our Secretary of Energy. After all, biking is one of the most efficient uses of energy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

One week to go


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Counting Down the Days

In less that two weeks a group of seven riders will depart from Rothbury Music Festival on bike. Actually, we might take a quick car ride down to Muskegon to avoid complications with 40,000 people leaving the small town of Rothbury, Michigan at once.

I can hardly believe that it is so close! I've been organizing the ride from Michigan since January and it's been on my mind since I first heard of the Trek to Re-Energize America last August. Here's a post that I wrote for a major youth climate blog, It's Getting Hot in Here:

From Rickshaws to Road Bikes: A Journey to Stop Climate Change from Michigan

I’ve been a cyclist nearly my whole life. My family has pedaled across lower Michigan three times, and my brother would rather ride 45 minutes of hills on his home-made fixed gear than drive 15 minutes to class. Are we crazy? Maybe, but last summer as I was biking through the cornfields of East Lansing, I knew I wanted to bring together my passion for biking and my motivation to fight climate change. Serendipitously, that very night I first heard about the Trek to Re-Energize America.

Spending last semester in Bangladesh, the effects of climate change took on a new light. I met the farmers whose land might be totally flooded in 10, 50, or 100 years. I met their wives and children. What a cruel joke that a country that pales in comparison to America’s carbon emissions now must suffer the consequences. Coming back to Michigan, climate justice has become more than a cause to me; it is for the Bangladeshi children who can’t go to school because of flooded roads, the farmers who lost their crops in a cyclone, and the strong women who are fighting to keep everything from falling apart. It is for the rickshaw pullers, for whom biking is not a pleasure, but a desperate way to subsist in poverty. This summer, I will be biking for them.

Now back in Michigan, I am ecstatic to see that my fellow students are mobilized to fight for sustainable solutions to climate change. From campus groups to our statewide network, the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition (MSSC), the young leaders within our state are ready to demand change at a national level. Two weeks ago nearly 200 Michigan students gathered on a frigid weekend to talk and learn about climate change at the MSSC’s ReGeneration Summit. In three weeks we’re sending seven commercial buses full of students to Washington, D.C. for Powershift 09. The youth climate movement is going full speed ahead, so don’t miss the bus. Better yet, get on your bike!