Climate Ride California Central Coast will be Catherine Bock’s 11th evet in 9 years. What keeps her coming back? She says that in part, it’s the inspiring people she’s met. Also, the rides prepare her to continue her climate activism, something she has been committed to
She committed to preserving nature after reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in eighth grade and is still going strong at 70 years old. Catherine “feels that climate activism is my rent for living on this planet.”
No stranger to fighting for the planet.
Her lifelong commitment means she has a lot of great stories. Just ask her kids! This year, her youngest son will be joining her on the ride, along with his girlfriend.
Recently, she added an epic walk that she helped to organize to her list. She traveled across Vermont with other activists on Next Steps, a Climate Solutions Walk created by 350 Vermont. She walked 65 miles over 5 days with people as young as 4 years old and as old as 85 to draw attention to a bill to prevent fossil fuel infrastructure in Vermont.
They slept in churches and other public places in the towns along the way. For Catherine, it was a time to reflect and bond with others who are trying to find the best way to stop the craziness of life as usual.
On the last day, they marched to the Capitol, Montpelier. By that time they were almost 350 people. Many people came for the final event. They entered the capital from all three doors – one group of young people and two groups of older people. They filled the lobby and then simultaneously began singing. Then the young people read notes that they had tied to the pussy willow branches they had picked along the way asking the legislators to sign on to a bill that would prevent new fossil fuel infrastructure in Vermont. On the other side of the note, they had written a request that the legislators helped to preserve certain things like a future for their children and the Vermont winter.
Then the young people went to find the members of the committee where the legislation they were working towards passing was sitting. Some of them spoke to the Speaker of the House and told her that no action on climate was the same as denial of climate change.
Afterward, everyone returned to a church for a closing ceremony and a report on how their visit went. As a result of this demonstration, they got a hearing with the Committee on Energy and Technology that had the legislation on their table. 47 people testified for the legislation 4 against.
Catherine was one of the people who testified. According to her, “it felt like we had won. They were very respectful and seemed to be listening.” But 24 hours later the group found out that Vermont legislators don’t plan to let the legislation out of committee.
Still, Catherine pledges “we aren’t going to give up. We have built a strong group of people who are made stronger by working together. This is what Climate Ride also does for the Riders. Our persistence is continued with the help of each other.” (If you want to learn more about the climate walk in Vermont you can check out 350 Vermont’s blog here, and read the link below!)
Climate is changing.
Over 70 years, Catherine has seen a lot of changes since she was a child growing up in California. Presently, she lives in
Vermont where they are having a huge problem with Lyme disease because of the increased number of ticks as a result of climate change. The weather has also gotten crazier. It’s been much hotter than normal and much colder than normal, stronger storms and awful winds.
Over the course of her 11 events, she has supported many different organizations tackling the problem of climate change. Those include 350 Vermont, Young Voices for the Planet, Climate One, 350.org, and more. So many, she can’t remember all of them!
On this ride, she will be supporting a bike shop in Burlington Vermont called Old Spokes Home because they work to help anybody who wants a bike to get one. They help low-income children get bikes and repair them at a low cost while also teaching people how to repair their own bikes. They also mostly sell second-hand bikes. They do the repair on the Burlington Bike Share bicycles and, according to Catherine “they’re just a really cool bike shop that prioritizes fossil-fuel free transport instead of profit.”
Supporting that kind of work keeps Catherine fueled with a “passion and love for the planet, for life. I can’t just watch as the world is destroyed and sitting and complaining doesn’t do any good.”