Mid-Missouri Peaceworks hosted a bike-riding event to bring awareness to climate change

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks is a local organization in Columbia that focuses on sustainability and human equality.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, people around the Columbia community met at the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail and went on a group bike ride to bring attention to climate change.

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, an organization based in Columbia, Missouri that values sustainability and human equality, was the lead organizer of the event. Climate Leaders at Mizzou and other climate groups in the area cosponsored the event.

“Climate change is an urgent, urgent problem that humanity faces. It’s an existential threat,” said Mark Haim, director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks.

Haim said the purpose of the bike ride was to bring visibility to the issue of climate change in a sustainable way.

Rory Butler, president of CLAM, said their group and the organization that preceded them, Mizzou Energy Action Coalition, have always worked closely with Mid-Missouri Peaceworks because of their common goals.

“We’re trying to engage with the university and reform its policies and practices in a similar way that … Mark is trying to engage the city of Columbia,” Butler said. “We kind of participate in each other’s pursuits that way.”

Butler said the goals of Climate Leaders at Mizzou for addressing the issue of climate change is based on activism, along with community and civic engagement.

“We’re trying to engage with politics a lot,” Butler said. “We’re obviously encouraging people to vote.”

During the primary elections, climate change was deemed a major issue. It was one of the most important issues for voters on the Democratic side and even now, more than half of Republicans feel the government needs to do more to address the crisis.

However, Haim said the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic collapse and concerns over racial injustices have taken focus from climate change.

“All those issues, which are critically important issues and should be attended to … they’ve pushed climate change off the agenda for a lot of people,” Haim said. “The media isn’t covering it that much. The candidates aren’t addressing it that much.”

Along with the bike ride event, Haim said Mid-Missouri Peaceworks has been organizing other events to help bring awareness to the issue before the election.

On September 20, they held a march called “Walk for the Climate,” which Haim said received a turn out of over a hundred people. He said they have also been reaching out to voters about the issue and have made 500 yard signs with “Vote for the Climate” printed on them.

As the November election approaches, Haim said they are working to make information about candidates’ stances on climate change more accessible to voters.

“We feel it’s really important right now that we vote for the climate, that we vote for candidates who are serious about taking on the challenges of climate change,” Haim said.

Edited by Joy Mazur | jmazur@themaneater.com

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