Near and far: moving from empathy to neighborly action.

Stone Church of the Brethren welcomed 2015 PA IPL cyclist Eric Sauder as a guest preacher on Sunday.  He loved meeting the wonderful Stone Church congregation and has shared his sermon and benediction with us.

Every morning after waking up, I make my way to the kitchen, put on water for coffee, get the newspaper, turn on the radio, and scroll through the latest news updates on my phone. The multiple news sources may seem excessive, but, any good engineer knows how important it is to have redundant systems. The next 15 minutes are a deluge of crises reaching from our community to every corner of the world. It’s really overwhelming. With new disasters every morning, it seems that the list of hurting people is always growing.

This struggle is nothing new. Certainly there’s been a robust news industry in all of our lifetimes, but it does seem that with every new “advance” in media platforms this messaging invades a bit further into our personal space. At least the town crier stayed in the street and the newspaper on our doorstep—the phones are in our pockets. Now, thanks to Facebook’s video autoplay feature, I don’t even choose whether or not my morning breakfast routine contains footage of a white police officer gunning down an unarmed black man.

I believe it’s important that we can see and hold the challenges of the world, because for the first time in human history we’re witnessing how our actions have very real global impact. Continue reading

2015 Rider Profile: Dorothy Blair

Meet Dorothy Blair, eighth in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2015 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 1-5.

biking L. OntarioThis is my second year to bike to Washington D.C. (2014 profile.)  I know in advance that it is great fun and a privilege to be with so many good biker folk supporting PA IPL. What a fabulous opportunity to lobby our congressmen and senators about climate change! I also will to put into practice the techniques I learned at the Philadelphia Friends Center/PA IPL conference on lobbying from a position of strong ethical belief.

I am not the kind of biker who takes century rides or loves to bike over Pine Grove Mountain. I am a can-do kind of biker; I know I have the stamina to get there and love the exertion, but I also like to pay attention to the natural world before it whizzes by. Last year I biked with my friend around lake Ontario, about 600 miles. We were slow and steady, finishing in 11 days. On the Canadian side it was very flat. The U.S. side was a rude awakening – hills similar to those we will encounter between here and Maryland.

My commitment to fight climate change is very strong. I became attached to nature through my grandfather and mother’s gardening and my father’s Continue reading

2015 Rider Profile: Eric Sauder

Meet Eric Sauder, seventh in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2015 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 1-5.Eric Photo

I remember watching the Tour de France as a kid then going outside until nightfall to ride circles in my driveway, narrating the race in my head. While I didn’t become a world-class cyclist (not even close!) biking is an important part of my daily life. I commute in to work, enjoy long rides on the weekends, and love the pace of life from a bike saddle.

As an engineer, I believe bikes just make sense. My car weighs 12x more than me; my bike, 12x less. Where I live, both can get me to work in about the same time, but one is way more fun! The rate we’ve consumed global petroleum reserves is shocking. The slow work of millions of years, gone in a flash of geologic time, with catastrophic results. Our consumption has left us with global Continue reading

2015 Rider Profile: Joyce Eveleth

Meet Joyce Eveleth, sixth in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2015 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 1-5.

JoyceI don’t think there are many greater, simpler joys than riding a bicycle. I reawakened this ‘childhood’ pastime several years ago as my major mode of transportation and passion and I haven’t looked back since. The bicycle in my mind continues to be revolutionary—I feel independent yet connected, free yet grounded, and always inspired each time I take my bike for a ride.

I think too, it is this kind of revolutionary movement that is begged of the earth-wide issue of climate change. Each of us is united in the fact of our livelihood dependent on this planet. This planet where at your (hypothetical, privileged) door step there is an immense array of smells, people, rivers, trees, quarries, deserts and wetlands and sensory-exploding environments that have mesmerized and inspired humans for centuries. If you take your bike for a ride you realize all the other senses you’ve been missing out on by riding in a car—you can smell the trees and the rain (and yes the trash and the roadkill) and you can stop at the smaller towns, and the quirky local coffee shop, and the destinations that aren’t accessed by an exit sign.

To say one began to “care” about the environment at a certain age I think is a little misleading—I began to understand slowly and am ever learning about our relationship to the land that we are dependent on—for energy, for food, for Continue reading

2015 Rider Profile: Noah Droege

Meet Noah Droege, fifth in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2015 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 1-5.

IMG_6606[1]First impressions aren’t always the most important. I remember that when I first heard about climate change, I didn’t really pay it much attention. Why should I care that the world is warming one degree? If anything, I’d like to have a warmer summer, right? Little did I know the severe impacts one single degree can have on our world, and how much worse it can (and probably will) get. However, after many years of hearing conversations between my parents and their friends, I slowly came to realize how big of a threat it really was. My parents have always taught me ways to be environmentally friendly, from biking wherever possible to keeping a compost pile in the backyard. We’re even installing some solar panels for sustainable earth-friendly energy!

While I have less time than I did as a kid, I still love going on hikes in Shingletown Gap with my parents and our dog. Being surrounded by nature really clears my mind and helps me to relax for a couple of hours. Maybe it’s the beautiful colors or the soft trickle of water over rocks or the rustle of the leaves in the wind or maybe it’s just a natural human instinct to love being around nature. Regardless, each one of these hikes hammers in further the need to protect the oases of sanctity that forests provide.Snapshot 2 (4-7-2015 10-08 PM)

I also enjoy skiing in the wintertime. In fact, ‘enjoy’ may be a slight understatement. I ski as much as I can during our increasingly short PA winter, and regularly press my parents to   Continue reading

2015 Rider Profile: Karl Raynar

Meet Karl Raynar, fourth in our get-to-know-the-riders series.  The 2015 PA-to-DC ride  will take place May 1-5.

KAR Photo1While driving back from a Weatherization First project in January, Jon Brockopp told me about IPL’s annual bike trip to DC. I immediately became interested for two reasons – a love of bicycling and a chance to practice my faith as an environmental steward.

I’ve been biking for over 50 years and love it more than when I was a kid. I ride my bike to work, shop, and worship whenever I am able. We’ve had a group at our Church (the Trinity Wheelmen) that has been mountain biking together for the last 15 years. I look forward to every Tuesday night ride.

I’ve been interested in the environment since 1970 when I was a student at the University of Michigan. I attended a teach-in where Gaylord Nelson, Barry Commoner, Paul Ehrlich, Ralph Nader, and Walter Reuther all spoke about the environment. That event left a lasting impression on me.

My church, Trinity Lutheran, has recently formed a “Care of Creation Team” where we Continue reading