Outdoor Philosophy

Harnessing the power of adventure to inspire environmental action

27 June – 1 July 2006

woke hungry! ate the cinamon roll. beautiful ride smelling of hot pine and sage to pagosa springs where had huge plate of heuvos rancheros and looked at indian jewellery. a good job that no credit card as i rather fell for an inlaid silver bracelet – just what i need! – at a mere $400. off up the valley to wolf creek pass. weather change! clouded up. then rain and headwind. by the time i got to the sign that said, summit, 8 miles, i was already tired. and head very much in the wrong place. kept looking at the mileometer and wanting the climb to be over. about half-way up the weather cleared up and mood improved but the last couple of miles i really could’ve done without. reran the fred whitton challenge ride in my head to try to silence ‘are we nearly there yet thoughts’. then worked thru scottish towns by the alphabet. (got temporarily stuck on ‘o’ and then utterly stuck on ‘q’). five hours to the top and crossing the continental divide for the second time. cheered by an information board that told me that model t fords used to take 2 days to do it…. arrived at susan’s well after 8pm after cycling down the valley towards a chunk of rainbow, watched by occasional mule deer

…. susan and I last saw each other in 1989! These days she has a husband, three kids, three dogs, four horses and a cat. Truly wonderful few days catching up and getting to know each other again. Susan has been an environmental activist for years and talked a lot about how demoralized people were after bush was elected the second time – not just by the outcome but how it was achieved. (one small example: apparently the del norte – a democratic strong-hold – ballot-box and votes were found in the janitor’s office). Where do you go to indicate dissent when the democratic system becomes so corrupted? What do you do when all possible avenues for voicing concern lead to a blank wall? She said that many environmentalists had temporarily lost heart and energy and pretty much given up. Amongst her friends, the information issue came up again. You have to know where to look to find it, they said, global warming is not discussed in the local papers or on tv. Fox news cited as a key culprit. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon here for people to be modifying houses and living in a low impact way – though for a range of reasons. Susan and kevin’s house -more like a sculpture than a house- was built over years from recycled materials and includes an indoor climbing wall, fantastic carved wooden legs and feet framing a stairway and wonderful metal buffalo sculptures.

Offsetting the Carbon Cycle

Climate Care have sent me the break down for offsetting the carbon emissions from the trip. The total came to 8 tonnes of CO2 but this hides some surprises!

The return train journeys to Gatwick were 0.4 tonnes. The return air flights were 6.4 tonnes.
Ferry from Anchorage to Vancouver 0.3 tonnes
Hotels 0.4 tonnes per person per night!
3 months camping 1 tonne.

All this should be set in the context of an equitable ration of carbon of 1
tonne per person per year. This is each person’s share of carbon emissions set at a level that would not cause climate change and based on a current world population of 6 billion.’