The 2-Ton Commute

AMPLIFY my commitment to sustainability, and make your own.

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Between June 1 and December 1, 2014, I’ll commute by bicycle between 3000 and 4125 miles.   This will thwart the production of between 2 and 3 tons of carbon dioxide by my (gak) 2006 Toyota Sienna.  This is my commitment to sustainability.   Not everyone has the time, ability, or opportunity to be this dedicated, but with your help, we can do more together.   Help me amplify my commitment by donating to the 2-Ton Commute: a 2014 Climate Ride Independent Challenge.  Your donation will be shared between the Boston Cyclists Union, and The Alliance for Climate Education!

The Facts

My maximum: 125 commutes (6 months: every day)

125 commutes * 33 miles = 4125 miles
4125 miles ÷ 15 miles per gallon = 275 gallons of gasoline
275 gallons * 20 lbs CO2 per gallon = 5500 lbs CO2
=2.75 tons of CO2 conserved

My minimum: 92 commutes (6 months: 3-4 days/week)

92 commutes = 2.0 tons of CO2 conserved

The Story

As many of you know, in 2013, I participated in Climate Ride NYC/DC:  a five day, 300-mile charitable bicycling event that supports bike advocacy and organizations working toward a sustainable future.  It was a highlight of my recent years, filled not only with nature,  camaraderie,  and total exhaustion, but purpose, and progress.

Regrettably, I will not be able to participate in any organized Climate Ride group events in 2014.  I thought about joining NYC/DC again, but in September I have both a 4-day work retreat, and I’m also beginning a Masters program at Northeastern University.  Lamenting over this mixed fortune at a train stop on a cold day in Boston this winter, my mind wandered:

This sucks.  Why am I waiting for a train?
I should have ridden my bike to work.
I’ve only cycled like 3 or 4 times since December.
It is icy, and dangerous, but honestly, who cares. I could’ve…no…should’ve bought spikey tires. It’s not the cold–it’s the ice.
If you started reading at the top of the page, you know my commute is ~33 miles, round trip.  When the roads are safe, I ride at least three days per week.
To distract from my sorrow, (and because, like everyone else, I have to look at my newsfeed every 5 minutes,) I ungloved my hand, pinched my phone from my pocket, and was immediately engaged by a story in the Boston Globe about  a social media protest by winter-cycle-commuters reacting to their denigration by a local public official who scoffed at the idea of dedicating resources to clearing bike paths.
Even being just a part-time winter-cyclist, I felt like I should walk home, immediately, and get on my bike.  I didn’t, of course.  I got on the train like a dobert.  But I did get motivated, and continued to think:

These people are awesome.
How can I contribute?
I could write a check…but it would be small…I could do more.
I don’t have a lot of free time.
Is there anything I already do that I could parlay into a contribution?
Can I incentivize my existing routine, and make it more powerful?
Can I convert something I do already into a contribution?
Can I raise money by riding my bike to work?

Shazam!   THE 2-TON COMMUTE!

The Beneficiaries

The Boston Cyclists Union

We’re helping Bostonians lead healthier lives by promoting the everyday use of the bicycle for transportation. Among other things, we repair bikes, educate new riders, and organize neighborhood residents who would like to voice support for friendlier street designs, bike paths, and public spaces.

We envision a Boston that is world renowned for year round cycling, a place where people ride for fun, exercise, and transportation.

All Bostonians—men, women, children, and seniors from every neighborhood—use a network of safe and accessible bicycle routes to school, work and play each day. Children ride to school, men and women pedal by in work clothes, and seniors wheel along at a more relaxing pace on bicycle lanes, bicycle boulevards and cycle tracks. With bicycles commonplace, residents are healthier and have reduced levels of cardiovascular disease, asthma and obesity. They also have more expendable income, more free time, and greater choice in how they move about their city.

Transit is well-funded and integrated to support cyclists and pedestrians, providing an alternate means of travel during the winter. The city is greener; there is less pavement and more open space, like gardens, parks and outdoor plazas. In this city, automobiles are not the automatic choice of transportation for most people, and traffic is slower and safer and combines respectfully with all other modes of transportation.

The Alliance for Climate Education

ACE educates and inspires young people to break through the challenge of climate change.

ACE believes that achieving a safe and stable climate in our lifetime requires the ideas, action and influence of young people.

Our goal by 2020 is to educate, inspire and activate 12 million teens and young adults as part of a multigenerational force for carbon reduction and healthy communities.

The Power of Truth

We value things that can be tested, measured, verified and tracked – from climate science to intentional partnership to organizational metrics – in order to understand, achieve and improve what we can accomplish.

We believe that always focusing on what is authentic to ourselves, genuine to those we work with and accurate about the world will keep us true to our word and point us where we need to go.

The Power of Youth

We value the right of young people today to know about climate change; the science, its causes and the radically different futures that will result from the action, or inaction, we take today.

We believe that teens and young adults can handle the truth and we have a moral imperative to share the science, communicate the consequences and spark the solutions with them.

The Power of People

We value individuals and the contribution that every single person can make when they’re working toward realizing their own potential.

We believe a diverse community of individuals each realizing their own potential and seeking the best from others can unlock exponential possibilities.

The Power of Breakthroughs

We value transformations sparked by a new idea, invention, belief, relationship or action that have the possibility of changing the course of the future almost immediately.

We believe that most possible solutions to climate change have yet to gain a foothold or even be discovered, so we must stay open, innovative, and focused on collaborations that bring all serious creativity to the table.

The Power of a New Narrative

We value storytelling to shape belief, inspire action and connect us to a future in which the best of humanity’s potential is realized.

We believe that the planet, the climate movement and humanity all need a new story for the future – moving us from why we haven’t or can’t to why we must and will; from what we can expect to happen to making the unexpected happen; from how we will survive to ways we can thrive.

Become a 2-Ton Commuter!

If donating is not possible, or not enough…

Join The Team!

Use your commute as a fundraiser!
For 2014, Climate Ride has created an “Independent Challenges” program, which enables any individual to register any event as a Climate Ride fundraiser, and form a team.
As a participant one can:
  • Choose from over 50 beneficiaries.
  • Get donations by the day, by the mile,  by the pound (or whatever.)  2-Ton Commute team-members commit to cycle commuting as many days as possible for 90 days, six months, or an entire year.
For me, six months has up to 125 commuting days.  At 33 miles a piece, or 4125 miles.  A pledge of $0.01 per mile could accrue to $41.  Someone else with an 8-mile commute can ask for a nickel per mile, and raise even more.  75 such donations would exceed my 2013 NYC/DC haul of $2930.
If 5 people in Boston join, this becomes a local news feature; maybe a recurring one.  If 5 people in 5 cities do it, it may become a national story.  If 5 people in 10 cities do it–50 people around the country, riding their bikes to work every day for a year, raising money for climate change awareness, and education, and climate and cycling advocacy–it becomes a movement, and one which can remain in the public eye as long as it continues: awareness grows, interest grows, contributions grow, and real examples of sustainable, healthy lifestyles become more tangible.

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