With temperatures dropping and snow on the ground, a group of activists from around Europe have joined together to make a huge pedal-powered, transnational, symbolic gesture. Cycling from Copenhagen to Paris for the climate conference in December, the group hopes to demonstrate that alternatives are possible, and that commitment to change is strong, convinced that with collective action and cooperation, this year's climate talks could actually bring about real change.
Calling themselves "a group of activists from across Europe, motivated by indignation but united by hope", the bicycle bloc otherwise known as Cooperide set out from Copenhagen on 14 November. Planning to arrive in Paris at the beginning of December, and covering distances of up to 112 kilometres a day, the group - equipped with nothing but their bikes and whatever can fit in their bicycle bags - is a manifestion of how they believe we must act if we are to successfully take on climate change. The journey will be tough, but much easier when taken together.
The group believes that climate change is ultimately the result of a series of disconnects. On their website they state:
Climate Change is the consequence of disconnection. The disconnection of humans and nature, of politics and people, product and producer. It is a consequence of a disconnection between the farm and the fork, of production and consumption. A consequence of the disconnections caused by national boundaries that put national interest before global solidarity. All the new and exciting ways we are connected today cannot hide the disconnection of what we say and what we ultimately do, of today and tomorrow.
They see the solution in connection: between places and people, between local initiatives and global change. And by covering a route that many other conference attendees will be covering by plane, the group wants to demonstrate that reliance on fossil fuels is a choice and not a necessity. Battling snow, single-figure temperatures, and biting-cold headwinds, the group may be small and moving slowly, but they are moving together as a strong and connected group, connected to nature, connected to others, and with a common goal.
As well as all this, the group is also making strategic stops in different cities along their route, organising events to inform and inspire the people that they meet along the way. You can follow Cooperide's epic journey on Twitter and check out their blog for photos and stories from the road.
The group is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help them pay for spare parts and tools, as well as their train journey back home. To give them a hand in achieving their goal (they're just a few euros away and it's only running until 27 November!) and support the dedicated, hard-pedalling people of Cooperide, just click here.