Environmental Activism on Two Wheels

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Environmental Activism on Two Wheels

by Robin Quarrier, Green-e Analyst and Counsel at CRS
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Environmental Acitvism on Two Wheels http://3bl.me/p67qvs #energy #sustainability
Friday, September 3, 2010 - 4:55pm


Environmental Activism on Two Wheels

by Robin Quarrier

Like most environmental advocates I know, I am frustrated by the slow pace of change. Government appears to wait for voters to force them into action, companies wait for legislators to create laws and for consumers to demand sustainability initiatives, and activists bicker with other activists. Meanwhile average citizens cross their fingers in hopes that scientists find solutions in low-cost solar panels, carbon sequestration or, if all else fails, innovations to create viable spacecraft to exit from the planet we have trashed.

When frustration at this inefficient cycle of waiting peaks, I clip into my bike and peddle the hills and mountains of Marin County until my legs feel a familiar burn. This kind of muscular exhaustion provides relief from the weary frustration of waiting for something to happen; this kind of pain is invigorating, effective, and efficient. According to Iain Boal’s efficiency chart, which plots the cost of transport vs. body weight, a person on a bicycle is far more efficient than a salmon swimming upstream.[1]

This is what the environmental movement needs: efficiency that doesn’t wait, efficiency with momentum, efficiency on wheels. It is no surprise that environmental initiatives centered on bicycle rides have sprouted up across the country. My focus for this week’s post is on three rides that hope to raise awareness of renewable resources, and/or raise money for climate work or support solar panel installations on schools.

Ride for Renewables, September–November 2010
The charismatic renewable energy advocate Tom Weis will start pedaling a hybrid electric bike 2,500 miles from Colorado to Washington, D.C. He is calling for a 100% renewable electricity grid for the U.S. by 2020. Tom will be profiling numerous wind, solar, geothermal, and efficiency projects along the way. These projects represent inspiring examples of the choices already being made by local communities to realize the homegrown green industrial revolution. The ride will also bring attention to the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. You can join the ride, support the ride, or sign on to the “Team Green America” online petition to the President and Congress by issuing a 100% by 2020 demand. For more information go to http://climatecrisissolutions.com/bike.htm

Brita Climate Ride California, September 21-25, 2010
Climate Ride is a fully supported, five-day fundraising bike ride. The next ride begins under the soaring Redwoods in Eureka and follows the rugged Mendocino coast, takes a turn through classic wine country, and ends in San Francisco. Proceeds from this charity bike ride benefit non-profit organizations working on green jobs, climate education, and bicycle infrastructure. For more information go to www.climateride.org/rides/california/

Climate Cycle California, Summer 2010
Climate Cycle is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 out of a concern that today’s youth lack the tools necessary to respond to global warming. Climate Cycle has already provided ten schools with solar systems paired with a school curriculum featuring solar energy. To celebrate the westward expansion the organization, Climate Cycle friend Ryan Kiesel is riding from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay area in July and August 2010. His 2,200-mile tour will be self-supported while he crosses the plains of the Midwest, the Rocky Mountains, the deserts of Utah and Nevada, the Sierra Nevada and finally arrives at the Pacific Ocean. Funds raised during his ride will benefit the organization’s new California office. He will be documenting his journey on his twitter account at CCCrosscountry. Climate Cycle hopes you can participate in the first annual Solar Schools Ride in California, dates to be announced. For more information go to www.climatecycle.org

One sure cure for the frustration of all the waiting around for a sustainable energy plan to emerge is to get involved with an energetic group like Ride for Renewables, Climate Ride or Climate Cycle.

Happy riding!

Robin Quarrier is a Green-e Analyst and Counsel at CRS, a triathlete, and a frequent cyclist on the lonely backroads of the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact her at robin [at] resource-solutions.org.


See also David Gordon Wilson & Jim Papadopoulos,

Bicycling Science

, 76 (3d ed., MIT 2004).




Jeff Swenerton
Center For Resource Solutions
Keywords: CSR | California | Center for Resource Solutions | Marin County | Ride for Renewables | Robin Quarrier | Sustainability | Tom Weis | environment | hybrid electric bike