Climate change is a hot button issue sweeping our nation. Politicians and officials are quick to pass blame and point fingers to the potential causes, but many would say not enough is being done to create solutions. Today, only three percent of charitable giving in the U.S. goes to support the environment. Climate Riders are trying to change that.
In 2008, Caeli Quinn co-founded Climate Ride, the national and first bike-a-thon to support environmental and cycling advocacy issues, in effort to start a citizen-based sustainability movement. Climate Ride focuses on designing life-changing adventures for the cause. In addition to raising money, the organization also advocates for government and business action and educates participants as part of the experience while encouraging them to take responsibility for reducing their own carbon and energy footprints.
Climate Ride Is For the Environment
Of the millions who participate in peer-to-peer fundraising events (bike-a-thons, walk-a-thons, etc.) for health and disease causes across the nation, Climate Ride participants are the first to take this concept and start to create big impact for the environment. This year, nearly 500 people will bicycle or hike with Climate Ride in one of the seven Climate Ride events across the nation. A whopping thirty percent of these participants are 30 years old or younger. They represent a growing trend of millennials who are giving in unique ways.
Tim Godaire, of Bangor, Maine, is one of these young people taking action to clean up the environment. This Sept., he will ride in and raise money for the inaugural Climate Ride Northeast-Bar Harbor to Boston, a five-day 320-mile charitable bike-a-thon that will take hundreds of cyclists, ages 12 to 80, down the scenic coast of New England. Throughout this fully-supported ride, which runs from Sept. 17 to 21, industry leaders, representing some of Climate Ride’s 2015 beneficiaries, will engage riders in conversations about sustainability and conservation.
At 24, Godaire, a competitive runner and cyclist, has dedicated much of his adult life to studying how humans change the climate system and how current behaviors, if not changed, will eventually lead to the decline of civilization. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental analysis from Unity College and is working toward a Master’s degree in quaternary and climate studies at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. Currently, he is part of a collaborative team researching the glaciers of Denali National Park in Alaska where he uses satellite imagery to characterize the physical properties of the glacier surface over time.
“As a student of climate science, I am aware of the urgency and need for climate action, community awareness, and alternative sources of energy and transportation,” says Godaire.
For Godaire, taking action to combat the effects of climate change before it becomes irreversible is the most important issue that we as a society face. “I need to live and work on solving the problem. I hope to inspire others to live more sustainably, to educate others on the issues facing our civilization and to work toward creating a healthier planet.” Godaire is just one example of the millions of millennials who have prioritized environmental sustainability.
Rather than rushing through the miles, Climate Ride events are orchestrated to explore the beauty of national parks and the outdoors creating a deeper connection to the landscape riders and hikers are helping to protect through their participation and fundraising. Money raised through Climate Ride events supports more than 100 sustainability, cycling advocacy, active transportation and environmental causes across the country.
While most ‘a-thons’ are declining in popularity and money raised, Climate Ride is on the rise.
“In philanthropy, young people are often overlooked as fundraisers and leaders of movements, but not at Climate Ride,” says Caeli Quinn, co-founder of Climate Ride. “This is truly the defining issue of our time and millennials are demonstrating that acting on climate and protecting our planet for future generations in not a cause de jour, but the single most important impact they can have. Our team at Climate Ride is young and we know that we want to push boundaries and experience life in an authentic way, while standing up for our values.”
Monetary Gains for Climate Change
Climate Ride remains the largest in terms of its national scope and money raised with its choose-your-own beneficiary model. Riders can earmark the funds they raise to up to five beneficiaries of their choice. To date, Climate Ride has raised and contributed more than $2.28 million.
The first adventure travel nonprofit of its kind, Climate Ride operates three charitable multi-day rides, Climate Ride Northeast, Climate Ride California and Climate Ride Midwest. For those less cycling inclined, Climate Ride also offers hikes through some of the country’s most remarkable landscapes as well as self-designed Independent Challenges. On Aug. 24 through 28, adventurers will come together to hike the Glacier National Park in Montana raising funds and awareness for environmental sustainability. From Oct. 6 through 10, hikers will travel to southern Utah to hike Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.
Grab A Bike And Join the Ride
Registration is open for the inaugural Climate Ride Northeast- Bar Harbor to Boston. For more information, to register to ride or to support a cyclist or team, visit www.climateride.org or call 406-552-0708. Participants can enter the discount code climateride2015 for $25 off their registration fee.