In the summer of 2013, I walked 1000 miles from Boston, MA to a point just east of Dayton, OH. I did the walk because I had become frustrated with the lack of action and even concern about climate change. I wanted to talk to people along the way -- let them know about my concerns and listen to their concerns and/or reasons why they are not concerned.
The science behind human-induced climate change suggests that ‘business-as-usual’ will lead us to disaster. By attempting to walk across the country I was doing something far outside of ‘business-as-usual’ and – hopefully – demonstrating that I am serious about making a change. On a more practical level, walking is the most sustainable form of transortation. Walking is the most intimate way of crossing the country – it took me face-to-face with many people where we we had many good, one-on-one conversations.
As a society, we have taken for granted the plentiful supply of cheap fossil fuels. As consumers, we tend to get in the car every time we leave the house – even for short walkable distances. We keep our houses very warm in the winter and very cool in the summer. We think nothing of hopping on a plane to cross the country – or the world – multiple times per year. Businesses keep prices low because they rely on cheap fossil fuels for manufacturing and transportation. All of this is possible because of cheap fossil fuels. To breakout of this ‘business-as-usual’ we have to consider the true costs of fossil fuels and make changes accordingly.
My goal was to have – at least – 100 good conversations with people from many different walks of life. I tried to do as much listening as talking. I wanted to start by listening to people I met and learn about what they fear; what they question; what they are doing; what they hope to do. I hoped to share the same things with them. I was not trying to push for any single strategy or policy change. There are many possible strategies for combatting climate change and no single strategy will be enough. Instead I wanted to spark more conversations.