UM alumni cycle in Scotland to advocate for climate | Arts + Culture

Former UM student and climate activist David Morris walks through the doors of Free Cycles during a farewell concert night on August 27. Morris embarked on a cycling trip in Scotland to promote climate and energy conservation and plans to arrive in the European country in time for the annual United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow which begins on November 1.

While three groups had Missoulians banging their heads and mosh pits at Free Cycles on August 25, the real star of the show was a man and his road bike, saying goodbye to his friends and neighbors as he he was preparing to cycle to Scotland to promote climate advocacy.

David Morris, who has lived in Missoula for 20 years and is a UM alumnus, said it’s more important than ever to talk to communities around the world about how they perceive climate change differently. He says that by cycling across the continent he is able to reach people personally and meet the needs of their community.

“I have always used [biking] as a way to investigate issues, it’s always more interesting to tell people about their land than to just assume you know everything, ”said Morris, who sits on the board of directors of Free Cycles.

The goal is to get to the United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, which requires a flight from our continent to another, which Morris said many people think he is behind in his mission. , and he agrees. Morris said he believed that offsetting his carbon footprint locally by cycling to his starting point was the best way to tackle the theft problem.

“This moment is incredibly crucial; this is the time when we act and safeguard a liveable climate or we fail and we don’t, ”he said.

For 15 years Morris taught undergraduate field courses through UM with the Wild Rockies Field Institute. Morris, along with his UM colleague Nicky Phear, created a course involving students cycling across Montana to study energy and climate.

“By cycling, it opens a lot of doors. You can talk to people, ”Morris said.

Morris spent six months cycling through South America, the Arctic and the United States, but this time it’s different. In the past, his passion for cycling was a way of having fun and seeing the world, but the more he spent seeing the world the more he saw it change.

“If we want a liveable world, we have to work for it. Our world is facing a huge problem, but if we can act together we have a better chance, ”Morris said.

According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change will become irreversible by 2030. After that, mass extinction of millions of species and the potential eradication of reefs are predicted. corals. The world will begin to increase exponentially in terms of extreme heat, drought and flooding as it enters unprecedented climatic territory.

Although bittersweet, Morris said there is no better way to leave Missoula than to spend his last night surrounded by live music and bikes.

Bob Giordano, the owner of Free Cycles, said having live music with the cycling community was exciting.

“It’s part of our mission to get together and discuss important ideas,” said Giordano.

UM student Elani Borhegyi found the concert on Instagram. Borhegyi met Morris at the concert and said he was excited about what Morris is doing.

“I think what he’s doing is great. I think we need to put as much pressure as possible on world leaders to make strong commitments to tackle climate change, ”Borhegyi said.

Raina Woolworth, another UM student studying environmental science and sustainability, went to Free Cycles to enjoy the live music. After meeting Morris at the concert, she felt proud to live in Missoula.

“I think it’s great that he uses the merry-go-round as a symbol of his dedication to Missoula to tell the climate union, ‘This is what we need, this is what people are saying. Woolworth said.

Although not in Missoula for a while, Morris encouraged the students to find ways to get involved in climate issues, starting with the city.

“Get into awkward positions, be brave, because our climate is important,” Morris said. “We all have to do whatever we can because we don’t have a second chance.”

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