Mennonite college students from across North America are riding across the United States this summer to raise awareness of climate change’s impacts and the need to take action to stabilize the climate.
The ride is organized by the Centre for Sustainable Climate Solutions – a partnership between Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) Goshen College and Mennonite Central Committee – to raise awareness about climate change and connect environmentalists across the US.
MEDA has recently joined the centre’s advisory board and is a supporting partner for the ride.
Sixteen cyclists, almost all students attending one of four Mennonite colleges – EMU, Goshen, Fresno Pacific University and Canadian Mennonite University – will ride over 3,700 miles from Seattle Washington to Washington DC.
The ride, which begins May 31, will include Montana’s northern Rockies, Yellowstone National Park, the midwestern plains and the Ohio Amish countryside.
Public events with speakers on related topics will be held at eight locations.
Partnering on the ride is a natural extension of MEDA’s work, said Dennis Tessier, MEDA’s technical director, environment and climate change and the organization’s representative on the CSCS advisory board.
“We are championing climate action across the globe through our programming,” Tessier said. “Our environmental specialists are working hard to ensure environmental stewardship is at the core of creating business solutions to poverty. We hope the Climate Ride will be the needle that stitches our individual stories together into a mosaic of learning and action.”
Miriam Huebner, the sole Canadian on the ride, attends Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. The trip combines three of her passions: biking, the climate crisis and conversation.
“My hope is that it spreads awareness and inspires people and encourages them to join together in finding other creative solutions in working against climate change,” she said.
EMU student Elizabeth Miller says, “riders will gain knowledge and awareness of the various climate challenges within the different regions of our own country,” and be spurred to action.
Fellow EMU student Micah Buckwalter agrees. Buckwalter thinks students giving up summer jobs and internships to ride across the country will make people take notice.
He hopes “people who are skeptical about climate change will be able to connect faces to the struggle and see the energy that youth are bringing to the table.”
For Goshen College student Denver Beck, the journey “is a great opportunity to combine my love for the outdoors and adventure, with my passion for environmentalism.”
Beck believes the ride will advance the climate discussion “and hopefully pressure our government officials to act on climate-minded policies.”
EMU student Isaac Alderfer says the ride is “a really exciting and noticeable way of doing activism for an important issue that means a lot to me.
“I hope it will draw attention to issues around climate change and encourage conversations and action for people we encounter along the ride, our home communities, and groups working on legislation and activism.
Goshen student Sierra Ross Richer is joining the ride “because I care a lot about the planet and how it is being affected by climate change, and this is something real that I can do to show that I care and hopefully make a difference.”
To receive biweekly updates about the ride, including details of public events, visit: https://sustainableclimatesolutions.org/climate-ride/