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Team Leo – Working Towards A Healthy Planet For Future Generations

Team Leo was started by Mary Selkirk and Lee Ballance, veteran Climate Riders who have committed to climate action for their grandson. Mary says they “work every day to ensure he will grow up on a livable planet.” Mary and her husband Lee’s first ride together was back in 2013. Since then, they have completed two more rides and plan to participate in the 2022 Green Fondo in California next month. We decided to chat with Mary about her experience with Climate Ride and how it has impacted other areas of her and Lee’s life. (Team Leo has raised nearly $5,000 so far on Green Fondo. Every single dollar will be matched thanks to the Algorand Foundation!) Climate Ride (CR): Why did you choose to participate in Climate Ride? Mary Selkirk (MS): Climate Ride is where I got my start in climate activism, although in my professional life I worked on natural resources projects that incorporated climate adaptation. I did my first Climate Ride in 2013— the California Ride, from Fortuna to San Francisco. My husband and I signed up because we had just retired and wanted to do something to support those who were working on stabilizing our planet’s climate. We had not been actively involved in climate action up to that time. That year we raised money for . On that first California ride, we met another rider from Wisconsin, who introduced us to what was at that time a small but mighty organization dedicated to building the political will in the US Congress to pass legislation to radically reduce GHG emissions: Citizens Climate Lobby. Two months later we were charter members of a new CCL chapter in our area. We have devoted much of our time in the past 9 years working with CCL. And since 2017 I have been on the national Governing Board. CCL now has over 200,000 supporters and volunteers all over the US in every Congressional District and in over 70 countries around the world. We did two more Climate Rides to raise money for CCL: a repeat of the California ride in 2015, and the Bar Harbor to Boston Ride in 2016. Then we took a break due to various orthopedic challenges, followed by the pandemic. CR: You have completed quite a few Climate Rides! What motivates you to keep coming back? MS: I now have a 20-month-old grandson, and a second grand-baby on the way. I owe him every ounce of effort I can muster to ensure a livable planet for him as he grows up into a young man who reveres our planet and the natural world.

CR: Can you tell us a little about how climate change has impacted you and/or the area you live in?

MS: Drought and fires. I live in northern California. Water has always been an environmental challenge in California. I worked on water policy for many years and served as an elected Director of a major urban water utility in the East Bay. Now California has been in a climate change-induced drought for five years, the worst drought in 1200 years. Five years ago my husband and I moved to the top of the ridge in the Berkeley Hills, overlooking magnificent Wildcat Creek Canyon. We are now in a major fire risk zone. We lost our fire insurance recently, had to scramble to find another insurer, and hope it won’t happen again. Every year the fires worsen in California due to the warming planet.

CR: Sounds like climate change has really impacted the area you live in. Which beneficiaries are you choosing to support?

MS: Citizens Climate Lobby, obviously! As well as Bike East Bay, the premier bike advocacy organization in the East Bay in California.

CR: You mentioned that you worked on natural resources – what field did you work in?

MS: I worked for 20 years as an environmental policy mediator/facilitator in California, designing and facilitating dialogues on natural resources issues as diverse as shellfish aquaculture, climate change, wetlands restoration, and dam removal. Now I work as a volunteer for CCL!

CR: Are there any personal challenges you’ve confronted or foresee in preparing for the ride? How did you overcome them?

MS: Since 2016 I have fractured three bones, and have had two orthopedic surgeries, including traumatic knee fracture repair. Also, I am over 70! Not to mention the Covid lockdown, when we didn’t ride because we did not want to end up in a hospital ER after a bike accident of some kind (we have had several of those visits over the past 15 years…) So it’s been a challenge to get back into cycling shape.

CR: Wow! You don’t let anything stop you! Has preparing for and participating in this event spurred you to take any action on climate (personal, locally or nationally)? Action examples include joining marches, signing petitions, getting press, meeting with representatives, joining groups, changing habits/household purchases, installing solar/energy efficiency, and more. MS: I have been doing virtually all of the above since 2013 when I joined CCL, thanks to Climate Ride! CR: Thank you, Mary! What an inspiring journey you’ve taken for our planet. We’re so happy to be a part of all of your incredible work. If you’d like to find out more and support Team Leo, with Mary and Lee, in exceeding their $1,250 goal, check out their fundraising pages below. And thanks to the Algorand Foundation, any donation you make will be doubled! Team Leo: Mary Selkirk: Lee Ballance:<