It is only about 15 miles from sunny Westwood to the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
But 15 miles via bike is a whole different story ““ especially when traffic, afternoon heat and hundreds of avid environmentalists are added to the mix.
On Sunday, dozens of Ecology, Economy, Equity members and community residents biked from UCLA to Los Angeles City Hall to participate in the “Get Coal and Oil Out of L.A.” rally as part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, an international event dubbed “the world’s biggest day of climate change action in history.”
“We wanted to do something beneficial for the environment, to show politicians and elected leaders that this can be done,” said Natalie Gaber, co-chair of the sustainability group E3 and a fourth-year communication studies student.
The rally accompanied CicLAvia, an event for which seven and a half miles of L.A. streets were closed to car traffic, creating a temporary public park for people to freely explore parts of the city on foot.
People were encouraged to bike or take public transportation to the area.
Yet the downside of holding the rally within the CicLAvia area was that the area was closed off to cars, making it difficult to garner attention and draw in people who might not have been aware of the environmental event, said Ross Bernet, E3 treasurer and a fifth-year environmental science student.
Jenny Binstock, a Greenpeace field organizer for Southern California, described the rally as the political component of the larger CicLAvia event.
“We want to be able to highlight all of the ways our city is entirely too dependent on the coal and oil industries, and how the coal and oil industries not only fuel climate change but also harm the health of residents here in Los Angeles,” Binstock said.
Created by the international environmental organization
350.org, the 10/10/10 Global Work Party included more than 7,000 events across 188 countries, according to the 350.org website.
Besides attending the rally for this day of action, Gaber and E3 members wanted to make a bigger statement, which included the bike ride and a fund-raiser at Westwood’s Native Foods Cafe.
“I think a lot of people are under the impression that L.A. residents don’t want to bike or don’t own a bike, but that’s clearly not the case. It was awesome to see that,” Gaber said.
Though the bike ride only garnered 26 participants, E3 members were still enthusiastic and dedicated to the club’s work.
“The way I look at it, the climate movement ““ if you want to call it that ““ is our generation’s cause,” Gaber said.
“If we don’t act now, it’s our futures that are going to be affected, it’s our children’s, our adult lives really.”