For the next four years, I’m going to act as a conduit for climate action as I travel one circumference of the earth by bike. Starting in Asia where I’m currently working as a teacher, I’ll make my way to Europe and Africa, and then North America and South America.
A map of my tour:
- Southern China–In the summer and fall of 2015, I cycled 4,500 km around southwestern China, Vietnam, and the Tibetan border regio
- North Silk Road and the Mediterranean–Beginning in the Spring of 2016, I am biking from Central Asia to Europe, through the countries lining the historic northern Silk Road
- Europe, Africa-In the Fall of 2016 and Spring of 2017, I will cycle across Europe and parts of Africa
- The Americas–In this third and final phase, my sister and I (and potentially others) will bike south through the Americas, beginning at the Arctic Sea and biking south to the Andes, then heading southeast through Brasil and Argentina to Cape Horn, and finally northward along the Carretera Austral, ending the adventure in Vaparaíso, Chile
Along the way, I want to highlight the fundamental change that is taking place in communities around the world. I want to help communicate the sudden pull of action that happens when you realize that a better world is again possible, if only we choose the right path.
People’s lives and livelihoods are every day more disrupted by climate change. But even with some of the most powerful, entrenched interests in the world against them, everyday people are working, fighting, dedicating their lives to stopping climate change. And against all odds, slowly, surely, they’re making progress. 360bybike will tie this rising tide of people closer as we together organize community actions and events along my route, and as we join a global network working for solutions to the problems we see. I’ll gather the energy and creativity of people I meet, in interviews, stories, and art collaborations that show the raw force and courage of this movement.
I see the preservation and restoration of our environment as the issue of my generation. I can see myself dedicating my life to these issues, but first I need to learn. I’ve spent the last year getting educated about the technical aspects–capabilities, challenges, politics–but it seems equally important to me to understand the human side. In order to become a more effective communicator, I want to understand how people from different geographic, political and socioeconomic backgrounds engage with environmental issues.
I choose to travel by bike because it’s consistent with the values and the slow-traveling lifestyle of the project. It’ll minimize my carbon footprint of these years of traveling and show what’s possible with active transport, but it also gives me an advantage with the storytelling aspect. People have questions when you roll into town with your life on your bike, and often they want to help you out. It immediately establishes a collaborative relationship between you and strangers, and that’s a strong first step.
A new generation of change makers are looking for the path at the intersection of pragmatism and idealism. This project will try to share their knowledge, their experience and their dedication, in a way that will nucleate action.
Header image photo credit: Maia Watkins