“It’s time for the older generation to get off the couch and do something about the climate crisis.” -Michael Patterson

 

This June, Michael Patterson will bike across the United States to inspire people in his generation to act on the climate crisis. As the team captain of OLD MEN ENERGIZING THE NATION (OMEN) he’s riding to raise funds to help deliver solar panels to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

His goal is to raise over $31,500 because “It’s time for the older generation to get off the couch and do something about the climate crisis. Young people are imploring their elders to help save the planet before it’s too late. We think it’s time to start doing our part (after all, we generated most of the greenhouse gases)!” Patterson is fundraising on behalf of Climate Ride and GRID Alternatives, an organization that is the largest non-profit solar installer in the country. According to GRID, that fundraising will mean $120,000 in savings for the families they serve. You can help support his efforts here.

He decided to take on this ride to support GRID Alternatives because he has always had an interest in environmental causes. He’s also donated to the National Resources Defense Council in the past, however, for the ride, and in general, he wanted to find a cause where it was easy to see a tangible impact to your donations versus advocacy, or political activity.  While the ultimate solution will be up to governments and major contributions, he thought GRID’s mission of training people to do installs and putting solar panels on rooftops can help spread support through communities that often don’t get much attention, and “it is just so easy to understand and has an instantly satisfying aspect to it that I found appealing.”

 

Michael is a recent retiree and avid biker and hiker. He has always been passionate about the environment and wanted to do something tangible to make a difference now that he has a little more time. Climate Ride seemed like the perfect way to push himself while encouraging like-minded folks to get more engaged in mitigating climate change. He can’t wait to bike across America and see the country at a slower speed. In addition to riding thousands of miles through difficult terrain, his trip is designed to raise awareness of sustainability, clean energy, and climate change while inspiring people to take action.

“To bike across the country will be the challenge of a lifetime. But knowing that I’m riding with a purpose to support Climate Ride and GRID Alternatives makes it even more rewarding. I want to push myself and encourage others to do the same. The fundraising is critical but even more important is the desire to catalyze others to act. Time is of the essence and we can all be agents of change by giving our time, money, and ideas to slow global warming as quickly as possible leaving a more liveable planet to our kids and future generations.”

As far as the bike ride across the country it’s always been a bucket list item for Michael. He retired in July 2019 and decided it was time to start acting on that list. He has done a century once. He’s also toured by bike in the Alps, in Colorado, and done numerous long-distance running events. For him, this ride is really a stretch goal and should be a true adventure. He’s also done overland backpacking trips for 12 months or more but long ago (Leningrad to Capetown South Africa over 18 months in 1990) so adventurous cross-country treks have always been an interest of his but this will certainly be the first self-propelled trip of any distance like this.

You can follow along with him throughout his trip across the country on his blog.

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