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A Scientist’s 600-Mile Ride for Climate Action

As a tireless climate advocate and the founder of the Global Warming Mitigation Project, Jacquelyn Francis has dedicated her life to finding solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time: global warming. However, like many in her field, she often grapples with the irony of traveling on carbon-emitting planes to attend climate events worldwide.

When we asked her what inspired her to rider her ebike, she said “I love riding my bike and the ebike makes me feel young again. I can go in the backcountry via dirt roads that are challenging and beautiful. Committing to the goal of riding to our Keeling Curve Prize Awards Ceremony give me the motivation to get away from my desk (I work too much), get in better shape (I am turning 60 in August) and demonstrates decarbonization in travel. It’s not an easy route, but the climate crisis is most definitely NOT going to be easy either.”

So this year, she’s decided to trade planes for pedals and e-bike 600 miles to her next climate event, the Sun Valley Forum. This ambitious trek won’t be just about reducing her own carbon footprint – it’s also a powerful statement on the importance of sustainable transportation. Along the way, she plans to spotlight forms of alternative, low-carbon modes of transportation as well as to raise $20,000 for the Global Warming Mitigation Project!

As Jacquelyn is about to turn 60 this year, she sees this challenge as a testament to the power of personal commitment and resilience. She hopes to inspire others to embrace long-distance biking as a viable, eco-friendly option. Jacquelyn is also the founder of the prestigious Keeling Curve Prize for groundbreaking climate solutions and plans to announce this years winners during her ride.

Jacquelyn’s dedication doesn’t stop there. In her spare time she also volunteers as the Chairperson of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Board, a challenging and influential position in her hometown of Aspen, Colorado. This role allows her to tackle the significant carbon impacts of private aviation in her hometown of Aspen. These private jets contribute disproportionately to greenhouse gas emissions, with one flight generating as much carbon as an average car does in a year. The frequent takeoffs and landings amplify this effect, resulting in a substantial carbon footprint. This not only exacerbates local air pollution but also contributes to the broader issue of global warming. It’s crucial to address and mitigate these emissions to protect both local air quality and the global climate.

Her commitment to combatting global warming also extends to global platforms. She actively participates in the annual international TED conference and serves as a Future Forum Strategic Partner for TED Countdown. She’s also a judge for the Merck Future Insights Prize, an official Observer for The Climate Investment Funds run by the World Bank, and the annual UN Conference of the Parties (COP). She also shares her insights and perspectives on pressing climate issues through a monthly column in the Aspen Daily News.

That commitment is clear as she prepares for this epic ride by biking to meetings and to check the mail despite her busy schedule. She’s been biking to the bank and has been pulling herself away from her computer by at least 6pm to get out for a ride before dark. So far her longest training ride has been 80 miles. But the first day of her ride to the conference will be 122 miles!

We were curious how Jacquelyn stays motivated and positive in the face of the daunting challenge of global warming. She’s done so much for this cause, so we asked if she has any tips for people who might want to do more but aren’t sure how to start. Here’s her response:

“Working with solutionists keeps me motivated and positive, but there are days when I wake up from dreams that are so disturbing. I know this is because my subconscious holds a lot of knowledge and stress. What really keeps me going is that I’m certain this is my calling, my purpose, my challenge – and I have accepted it. I know it’s a global massive shift that needs to happen and I can’t do it alone (not even close), but I can never stop trying because it’s the survivability of life that is at stake. This is a human caused problem and I do believe that humans will chose to be better and preserve life – although I worry that I might be too naive.”

Jacquelyn is passionate about leveraging her skills, expertise, and resources to propel humanity toward a future beyond fossil fuels. If you want to support Jacquelyn’s cross-country ride, you can make a donation here!