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!