Professors to embark on D.C. cycling trip to raise climate change awareness

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- On Friday, May 2, Jonathan Brockopp, associate professor of history, will give his last lectures for the semester and then hop on his bicycle to ride the first leg of a four-day journey to Washington, D.C. Brockopp is part of a seven-person team, riding their bikes to raise awareness about the ethical dimensions of climate change.

“Most people know the scientific and political dimensions of climate change, but few have thought deeply about the moral implications,” said Brockopp, who is an associate of the Rock Ethics Institute on campus. According to Brockopp, ethical considerations are among the most important climate issues: “People right now are suffering from changes in our climate, and the floods and droughts we have seen recently are only harbingers of what may be coming down the pike.”

Also on the ride from Penn State is Janet Swim, professor of psychology; Dorothy Blair, emerita professor of nutrition; and Jason Whitney, an instructor in the College of Education. They are joined by State College residents Ed Perry, Bob Potter and Molly Hunter.

The trip is sponsored by Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, a statewide nonprofit that has its main offices in State College. The bikers will be staying overnight in church basements and giving talks to colleges and religious communities along the way. Cricket Hunter, executive director of PA IPL, said “Morality is for everyone, but religious people have a special responsibility to speak out about injustice in the world. We want to energize congregations to begin acting on their moral principles, and this trip is a great step in that direction.”

When the bikers reach Washington, Hunter will join them to meet with members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation. “Our message to them is that the clock is ticking,” Hunter said, "we only have a few years to turn our emissions around, so Congress needs to join our communities of faith and act now.”

Find out more about the bike trip and read the profiles of the riders. For more information on sustainability at Penn State, visit

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Last Updated April 29, 2014