Pedal Pushing a Cooler Climate

It's not exactly the Tour de France, but for those who care about the environment, a five-day bike race that kicks off tomorrow (September 20) in New York and ends up 300-some miles away in D.C. is one worth noting. Called Climate Ride, it's the first multi-day bike race to raise money and awareness to help tackle global climate change and demand renewable energy legislation. And really, what vehicle makes an argument for economical, carbon-free living (or, at least, transportation) than a bicycle?

To join the race, willing pedal-pushers had to raise $2250. That may sound like a lot, but all proceeds go to Focus the Nation and Clean Air-Cool Planet, two non-profit, nonpartisan groups bent on finding ways to curb global warming through education and community involvement. Along the bike route, speakers will educate race participants about the climate crisis, related policies, and possible solutions.

And now, to lend some faces to the helmet-clad parade: Three racers are fathers from, another non-profit organization that scores companies on their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. “As parents, we need to do everything possible to fight global warming. Our children’s futures depend upon it,” said Wood Turner, project director of and a member of the biking trio, in a press release.

So far, has evaluated 60 companies in nine sectors, such as apparel, food services, and household products, and it plans to add 34 more. Between 2007 and 2008, 84 percent of the companies rated by the group improved their scores. The organization also puts out a pocket guide that environmentally- conscious consumers can download from its homepage to help them decide what businesses are worthy of their greenbacks.

During the next few days, then, as you plan your weekend, remember the wheels spinning across the northeast. Here's hoping the energy those bikers* expend translates to an enduring investment in our future.

*Speaking of bikers, in Audubon's March-April issue, Jane Braxton Little wrote about a teenager pedaling across the country with his parents to bring attention to birds and the dangers climate change poses to them. Read that story here.

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