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One-Wheel Climate Ride Rolls Into Winnipeg

June 14, 2014

Having crossed the Manitoba border five days ahead of schedule on June 12, 2014, Joseph Boutilier is now approaching the halfway point in his 5,000km unicycle journey for climate action. Boutilier left Victoria BC on April 5 and his final destination is Ottawa, where he hopes to meet with environment minister Leona Aglukkaq and environment critics from major political parties. “We need a way forward,” Boutilier explains. “It’s not just about the government we have now, but knowing what we’re voting for in the 2015 federal election.” Boutilier wants clear climate change commitments from all major parties, and a demonstration that politicians are willing to work across partisan lines to address the climate crisis.

On Sunday, June 22, Boutilier will arrive in Winnipeg; approximately halfway between Victoria and Ottawa on Boutilier’s planned route. After stopping in Kenora, Ontario, the unicyclist will dip into the US under Lake Superior and re-emerge in Canada at Sault St. Marie before carrying on to Ottawa. Boutilier wants his arrival in Ottawa to coincide with Parliament’s Fall term commencing September 15, 2014.

Boutilier will spend a week in Winnipeg, during which time organizing will begin for his Ottawa arrival and a convergence of concerned citizens on parliament hill. “September will be an exhilarating time for the climate movement,” says Boutilier. On September 20, protesters will take to the streets in New York and elsewhere to pressure the American and Canadian governments to make significant commitments at the UN Climate Summit taking place in that city. On September 28, Canadian organization ClimateFast will host a 4-day fast and vigil for climate action in solidarity with concerned and effected citizens worldwide.

So far, Boutilier says his journey has been “incredibly positive,” with widespread support for the cause. “Past polls have told us that the vast majority of Canadians are concerned about global warming and want government action on the issue,” Boutilier notes, “but to see it on the ground is truly overwhelming.” From flooded homes and farms in BC and the prairies to unprecedented pest and weed outbreaks and people suffering from increased allergens, Boutilier says he’s seen “first hand” how climate change is already effecting Canadians. But it’s the forecasts of significant sea-level rise, droughts and ocean acidification that Boutilier says has people “really worried”. However, he says he’s also seen some incredible local initiatives to combat climate change, from electric car charging stations to community gardens, windmills, solar aquatics filtration systems and solar water-heaters. “The solutions are within our grasp, absolutely,” Boutilier says, “but without meaningful regulations and emissions targets at the federal level, their full potential will never be realized.”

Boutilier has passed through rain, hail, snow, thunder storms and tornado-warnings, over frozen summits and through windy valleys. “Every day is a unique challenge,” says Boutilier. “But when I compare it to the things that people around the world have to endure from climate change every day, it doesn’t seem so bad.”

For more information contact:
Joseph Boutilier
Unity for the Climate
Phone: 778-922-2531

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