The New Year is a great time for a new personal challenge. This year Climate Ride is offering a record ten physically challenging events across the country, including one in Southeast Asia! How can one say "NO" to signing up for a new personal challenge while taking direct action to grow the sustainability movement at the same time?!
I know my personal challenges can make me feel overwhelmed, but Climate Ride's Independent Challenge Program will help make saving the world that much more do-able.
Even with more events in more places at more times throughout the year, we still find that a lot of people can't join us for a Climate Ride event. That’s why we developed the Independent Challenge program: to allow anyone anywhere to create and register an event and fundraise for the cause they're passionate about!
It also turns out that these "reasons" for not joining an event are actually even better reasons to do an Independent Challenge. In the spirit of the New Year, let’s reflect on a few:
Reason #1: “Sorry but road biking and hiking just aren’t really my thing."
With the Independent Challenge program, it doesn’t have to be a ride or a hike. There are lots of different ways to fundraise for your favorite cause. Take for example, Tina Hilding who decided to run 350 miles in support for 350.org and to raise awareness about the COP21.
Tina explains, “I have run my whole life, and I have been involved in many efforts to raise awareness about climate change, but I’ve never combined the two!"
Learn more about her amazing challenge here.
When brainstorming for your next Independent Challenge, be creative. Participants can register an existing event, like a marathon or race, or create something entirely new…like skydiving, maybe!
Or...maybe not. But, the sky is the limit! Participants can also swim or ski! Students at Chico State University have organized polar bear plunges for two years running to raise money for Bikes Not Bombs and GRID Alternatives. If you’d rather not do a physical challenge, organize a campaign that revolves around giving donations instead of gifts for your wedding or birthday.
Reason # 2: “Sorry, but none of these dates work with my schedule this year.”
Good thing an Independent Challenge can occur whenever! Since it’s your event, you can make sure it occurs at a time of the year that works for you.
Lowell Meyer experienced this in 2015, “I looked into [Climate Ride] and was really curious. Unfortunately, I couldn't time it out to make one of your rides," he explained. "So I thought I'd do an Independent Challenge instead!”
Reason # 3: “Yikes! I can’t fundraise that much money!”
Yes, most events require participants to fundraise a minimum of $2,800 to participate, and an Independent Challenge is a great first step. Registration only costs $25 and we ask that participants begin at a minimum of $1,000. Easy squeezy, right? After registering, just send out an email (that we’ll help you craft) to everyone on your contact list and BLAM! You can raise a minimum of $1,000 faster than you can finish reading this blog post.
Reason # 4: “I live in the middle of nowhere and can’t take time away from work or family to travel and participate at these far away locations.”
An Independent Challenge can happen anywhere! Try something local and bring the family like Becky and Gary who live in Missoula, Montana. They pulled their three children up Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park as a symbol of their commitment to take action and address climate change. They climbed 3,226 feet over 3.1 miles with 150 pounds of kids and gear in tow.
Becky and about half of her load on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
Reason # 5: “I like biking and hiking, but sheesh, large groups of people make me uncomfortable."
No worries! With the Independent Challenge program, you can do a solo event or recruit only your closest friends.
Take for example, Morgan Curtis and her good friend Garrett Blad who biked from Vermont to Paris, France for the COP21 last year.
“The goal of our journey was to share the stories of individuals and communities mobilizing for climate justice, to write and make art that…helps our audience make the leap from individual to collective action…but our real successes happened in person.”
Although their journey began with just the two of them, they met hundreds of people working hard for a more just and climate-stable future, which became the most inspiring part of their experience.
“Our journey was very much defined by the people we met. Each and every relationship formed, each person that told us their faith was renewed in the [global climate] movement, that they are looking at their role in the world anew, or that they thought they might be able to come to Paris to join us in the streets - these were glorious moments.”
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to inspire and challenge yourself this year. Check out the Independent Challenge program or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know about your newest, craziest and most inspired idea, and we’ll help you turn it into an event that raises awareness and support for the cause you care about.
The Climate Ride staff practices their new year’s resolution, martial arts, as a way to empower us all in the fight for sustainability!
Independent Challenge Spotlight: Running to Paris