Ice Ride: Bike to Save the Arctic Sept. 15 at 1 p.m.

Amanda Gomm, Greenpeace volunteer organizer. Photo by Chris Riddell

As fossil fuels continue to burn, pumping greenhouses gases into the atmosphere and raising average global temperatures, scientists are finding that the Arctic sea is melting at an unprecedented rate. Now, oil companies are pressing north in the search for "black gold" and Greenpeace doesn’t like this one bit, so they’re organizing Ice Ride. It’s a mass bike ride taking place on September 15, 2013, in over 30 countries and 75 cities with the intention of spreading awareness and getting the message across that we need to take care of the Arctic sea ice before it’s too late. We sat down with Toronto-based volunteer organizer Amanda Gomm to find out more about Ice Ride.

What is Ice Ride?

Ice Ride is a fun event to help build a movement to save the Arctic -- not only here in Toronto, but around the country and the world. Greenpeace is asking for a global sanctuary in the uninhabited areas around the North Pole; for this area to forever be free of industry, and to have a ban on offshore drilling. So what better way to help bring attention to such an important issue and create change than by hopping on your bike and joining a global movement to help save one of the most fragile areas on the planet?

How many people are you expecting to come out in Toronto?

We’re hoping for hundreds. Protecting the Arctic and moving away from our dependency on oil will be one of the most critical issues of our time. We're hoping that the cycling community will come out and support as cyclists are an everyday reminder that there are alternative means of energy (and that making change can be a fun.)

What route are you guys are going to take through the city?

That's still to be determined. We do know that we are going to be meeting at Allen Gardens at 1 p.m. to start.

What special gear will participants need - or receive - on the ride?

What’s going to happen is everyone meets at Allen Gardens, and we'll have one of our Arctic campaigners talk about the issues. We're going to have some crafts and decorations for bikes. We're hoping people will come wearing either blue or white so that we'll look like an Arctic glacier flowing through the city. Or people could come dressed as their favorite Arctic animal. We’re going to have things like streamers for bikes and masks that people can wear. It’s really about having fun, while raising awareness and creating a movement.

Do you think you're going to get "Big Oil's" attention with this?

Our ride in Toronto is going to be the largest Ice Ride in Canada. Taking people power and combining it with pedal power is one of the best ways to garner attention about the importance of creating a sanctuary around the uninhabited spots of the Arctic, and also removing our dependence on oil.

Why a bike a ride? Why not just do a march?

The bike is such a beautiful symbol. It represents a lot of different things. To me, personally, the bike represents freedom—it also represents alternative modes of transportation. There are better ways of moving forward [as a society] and that’s what the bike represents. It is also a fun way to bring people together.

For more info on the Ice Ride, check out the Greenpeace campaign page.

Can’t make it on the 15th? Make change now at savethearctic.org.

Check out photos Martin Reis took at the event on his Flikr page.

~ This article was originally published on August 17 ~

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