Every day, we feel the effects of climate change growing stronger. Our forests are burning, the seas are rising, and people are leaving their homelands to search for new livelihoods. And in many ways, in many places, we’re still pushing our society towards the brink.
At the same time, we’re stirring. People from all walks of life are engaging with big issues and reshaping their communities, transitioning their food and energy and transportation systems to more sustainable models and de-escalating their own consumption.
My name is Forrest Watkins. In 2015, I set out on a world bicycle tour to understand the human impacts of climate change and the energy transition. I traveled around southwestern China and Vietnam, through Central Asia and the Caucasus to southeastern Europe. I attended the 2016 UN Climate Conference in Marrakech with The Verb, biked north through Spain, and flew from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale. Back in the US, I cycled to San Antonio and then from San Francisco to Seattle to Walla Walla. 60 km short of my destination, I passed the 20,000 km mark–half an earth circumference.
As I went, I learned about the effects of climate change and the energy transition in the communities that I visited, met with people working for a more sustainable and just society, and did my best to pass their stories on to you.
Over the course of my travels, I have become interested in work that increases democratic control over energy systems and brings renewable energy to communities that have been left out of the energy transition. I’ve been lucky enough to join Solstice, a social enterprise that leverages community solar to open clean energy access and energy bill savings to households that can’t install panels on their own–because their rooftop is unsuitable, they have insufficient credit, or because they rent their homes.
I hope to continue my tour before long, with a more specific focus on Energy Democracy and the cultural impacts of our changing energy systems.
The tour so far (Completed May 2017):
Click on the green and orange pins to access stories and photo journals–orange bicycles link to updates and photos from the road, while green pins link to other stories and writings. Purple Pins just show my direction of travel.
Via email: Use the three dots/bars at the top of this page.