The Free Press, Mankato, MN

September 9, 2013

Family walks thousand miles to raise awareness

Family walking from Missouri to Ontario

By Tim Krohn
tkrohn@mankatofreepress.com

---- — ST. PETER — It's probably not what most would consider ideal family traveling conditions.

Two parents with four kids from ages 2 to 11 walking, riding in a wagon and being shuttled in a camper across three states in often hot, humid weather.

"There's been some challenges," said Dana McGuire about the journey she and husband Gavain U'Prichard are taking, which so far has brought them from northern Missouri to St. Peter, on the way to their ultimate destination of Pickle Lake in northern Ontario, Canada.

The family is traveling and giving talks to raise awareness about what they say is a much more serious climate change threat than most want to admit.

"What we're telling people is the climate science is revealing we really have only a handful of years, maybe 8-12 years worldwide and for a country like the U.S. maybe four years, to turn around the carbon situation and make some dramatic reductions," U'Prichard said during a stop in St. Peter. "That's the non-negotiable hard line of science."

He said dramatic social, legislative and economic changes need to be faced.

"If we have a serious social consensus that we are really going to cross the point of no return in the next 12 years at most, then there's a lot of things we can do as a society, even economically to make things happen," he said.

"People believe there's climate change, but they think things are under control somehow. They don't understand how much carbon is being added each year and how out of control it is."

The couple, both 34, who live in an ecovillage in Missouri, has long been involved in sustainable living but said they recently began delving much more into climate change.

"We felt we have an imperative to share this, particularly as we have children. They're not going to have any chance of an enjoyable life that we've had if nothing is done."

Their Pacing the Planet walk will cover 1,000 miles, which reflects the movement of climate zones that will accompany a 4 degree Celsius rise in average global temperature; it's a scenario that climatologists say could unfold by 2050 if the rate of carbon-dioxide and methane emissions continues to increase over the next eight years, the couple said.

They argue that oil, coal and gas companies have financially committed to releasing more than five times the amount of carbon dioxide needed to raise the global average temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. The U.S. and most United Nation's countries have signed binding agreements to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees C.

On the web: pacingtheplanet.org.