Why Walk?
The science behind human-induced climate change suggests that ‘business-as-usual’ will lead us to disaster. I am trying to spread that message. By walking across the country I am doing something far outside of ‘business-as-usual’ and – hopefully – demonstrating that I’m 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 will take me face-to-face with many people where we can have one-on-one conversations.

What do you mean by ‘business-as-usual’?
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.

What do you hope to accomplish?
I would like to have – at least – 100 good conversations with people from many different walks of life. I will do as much listening as talking. I want to start by listening to people I meet and learn about what they fear; what they question; what they are doing; what they hope to do. I hope to share the same things with them. I am 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 want to spark more conversations. People need to ‘take ownership’ of the climate change problem. I expect that some of the people I talk to will only need a single good conversation to take ownership. In other cases, I expect that the people I speak to will commit to carrying-on the conversation so that others will take ownership of the problem.

How can people ‘take ownership’ of the climate change problem?

  • First, you have to accept the scientific consensus behind climate change. This is often a challenge because there has been a well funded effort to deny climate change science. It does not mean that someone has to get advanced degree in climate science, but simply to accept the science in the same way we accept the science behind disease and engineering – if we didn’t, we would never visit a doctor or take an elevator up a tall building.
  • Second, you have to know that what you do makes a difference – both good and bad. It may seem that your individual choices are insignificant, but you have to consider that your activities may be multiplied millions of times. When you start making changes, your activities are more likely to be multiplied if you start conversations about what you’re doing.
  • Third, you have to be willing to make fundamental changes in your daily activities – at least those related to fossil fuels. Whether you decide to make the changes yourself or whether they are imposed by public policy, fundamental changes will have to occur to prevent the most dire consequences of climate change. Token activities are no longer enough. Simply driving a Prius won’t solve the climate crisis, nor will recycling, taking mass transit, or writing your senator. We have to think in terms of a world where we leave nearly all fossil fuels in the ground. That would mean a fundamentally different transportation system, agricultural system, and energy system that has little reliance on fossil fuels.

3 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. eric williams

    Hi Dave,

    I wish you great success and fair weather! We met yesterday on Rte 23 in Monterey MA as I was bicycling for pleasure. Today I was taking the bus home when I thought of you, and decided to walk the last 2 miles of my trip. It wasn’t that easy for me, as I had a duffel bag to carry. I enjoyed it, however. And I’d like to trade you my 2 miles for 2 hard miles of your choice: that is, when you need a little extra, 2 miles you have to walk I’ve done already, so you can just float along effortlessly for that stretch. Fair deal? And I’ll look in on your website from time to time, to see how you are doing. When you get to the towpath of the Erie canal, think of Grandfather Stories, the memoirs of Samuel Hopkins Adams of his grandfather’s life in the great era of “Clinton’s Ditch”. All the best, eric

  2. Laura Jean Meade

    Hello. Mom and I saw you and your cart in Canal Fulton, Ohio yesterday. I noted the website so I could look at it today. What you are doing is very admirable. I will agree with one of the commentators in your video: 30 or 40 years ago, scientists were talking about a new Ice Age. Now, we’re talking about global warming. Unfortunately, I do contribute may fair share to the emissions – I have to drive 100 miles round trip to work but, thankfully, I now telework two days per week and I have one day every two weeks off – I do have an office job so I work Monday through Friday. I would have liked to have talked to you but Mom wanted to see the big over-size load that was coming throught town. I admire what you are doing and wish you the best of luck as you travel. Traveling all the backroads like you have/are going to do would be so interesting. In my younger days, I would have liked to have done such a trip on horseback! :~) I wish you safe passage on your journey! (and I would love to help you write a book about your travels if you would like after the journey – that would keep the conversation going!)


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