By Denver Beck

‘Reconnecting with the land’

Gardiner, Montana, June 14

As I think about the root problems of climate change, I think about the growing disconnection with the place that we inhabit. Erasure of traditional ecological knowledge, advancing technologies, capitalism, and environmental exploitation are just some of the factors that have created a deeply rooted disconnect between humans and nature. 

Many of the systems that we operate in on a daily basis perpetuate this disconnect. Simple acts of driving cars or buying food from a supermarket show the separation that has been created between humans and nature. The Indigenous people of the Menominee nation refer to sustainability as a balance that needs to be maintained between different sectors of life. To have a sustainable balance and to maintain this we need to rekindle our relationship with nature in a way where we begin to work with it and alongside it, instead of against it. Riding a bike across the country inherently connects a person with the land they are passing through. 

Moving slowly, more quietly and through less human polluted spaces starts to lessen the separation between us and nature.  In general terms, I think this is part of what we are attempting to do with the climate ride. We aren’t implementing any grand, new mitigation or adaptation strategies; we aren’t really even attempting to live 100% environmentally friendly lives. A lot of us flew on a plane to get to Seattle and we have a support truck and trailer following us, burning gas and carrying our food and gear. What we are doing, however, is attempting to reconnect with the land around us and spread this to others. 

In addition to some of the other goals of the trip like engaging in conversations about the climate and creating a network of climate ambassadors, I think part of the goal is to rediscover the shared relationship that all of us have with the environment we live in.  And though we have deeply tarnished it, whatever we can do to make steps towards reconnection and begin to maintain this relationship can play an important role in addressing the climate crisis.