To me, one of the most effective slogans of the environmental movement is "Think Globally, Act Locally." It captures the interconnectedness of global problems and solutions in a simple and direct way, acknowledging the basic processes of ecology that connect all life in a web of interaction. Thus, the butterfly which flaps its wings in Africa, creating a hurricane over the Atlantic. Or the human who pedals her bike in New York, influencing climate change policy and curbing sea level rises that would inundate much of Bangladesh.
The upcoming Brita Climate Ride
which I will be participating in seems to embrace this dynamic of change by working at both the national and individual levels. The funds raised will directly benefit several non-profits working to effect change at the systemic level of national policy. Just as importantly though, it is bringing together passionate individuals from across the country, who will each in turn affect many dozens of friends, family and community members from their respective hometowns.
To actualize this notion of catalyzing local change to global issues, I've been organizing a Climate Ride fundraiser that celebrates and promotes the work of several local Pittsburgh non-profits and businesses. The "Pittsburgh Mini-Climate Ride," as I've dubbed it, will use the powerful symbol of the bike to connect at least seven local organizations working to effect positive change in their community, on issues from energy conservation to community resilience to sustainable beer brewing. The group ride and sustainability tour of Pittsburgh will take place Saturday, April 23 at 1 p.m.
My hope (beyond just trying to reach my fundraising target for the Climate Ride!) is to bring people together in a joyous and creative way, empowering us as individuals with the will and the resources to take action. The bike ride itself may be just symbolic, but it might have very practical results as Pittsburghers connect with individuals and organizations working in their own community.
For more info on the Pittsburgh Mini-Climate Ride and the organizations that will be involved, check out the Facebook event page
In May, I'll be riding in the Brita Climate Ride
from NYC to D.C. to take some positive action in the fight against climate change. Before I get to New York though, I'll be riding through Pittsburgh with another group of passionate global citizens seeking change. In Pittsburgh, we'll be celebrating what we have — community gardens
, bike lanes
, urban forests
, good beer
— and not what we don't.
After all, what is at stake here is not the earth itself — it will continue its impartial course around the sun regardless of what we do. It is the survival of our communities — the human and non-human life that comprise them — that is in jeopardy. So let's acknowledge the global ramifications of our actions and the systems that govern them, but act at the level where change is most likely to occur: our own communities.