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5,000km Unicycle Ride for Climate Action Culminates on Parliament Hill

September 11, 2014

More than 5 months ago at the age of 23, Joseph Boutilier set out from his hometown of Victoria BC with a mission: to ride to Parliament Hill on one wheel as a symbolic gesture for the climate crisis. “The amount of C02 in the atmosphere required to sustain human life is such a fine balance. The need to transition rapidly to renewable energy while supporting Canadians through existing economies is also a difficult balance,” Boutilier explains. “But it can be no more difficult than balancing a unicycle across this beautifully diverse and rugged country.”

Boutilier is nearing his final destination and will join supporters for a noon gathering on Parliament Hill as he pulls into the nation’s capital on September 15. “What better way to demonstrate political willpower for climate action than to converge on the first day of the new session of Parliament as the campaign begins for the next federal election?” Boutilier asks. He wants to see all parties reveal more about their climate policies and demonstrate a willingness to work across partisan lines to address the issue. The event is dubbed ‘#ForOurFuture’: A reflection of the predicted impacts of the climate crisis on future generations.

Boutilier and supporters are also calling for new regulations on the oil sands and an end to subsidies and tax breaks for the Canadian oil and gas industry, which the International Monetary Fund has estimated at $34 billion per year. The Harper Government committed to eliminating subsidies as part of the G20 Pittsburgh declaration in 2009. “These are non-partisan issues,” Boutilier says. “All our parties can agree to these changes on paper, but this is the last chance the current government has to make good on these promises before yet another election.”
During his 5,000km unicycle ride, Boutilier has discussed the climate issue with local politicians, environment groups, elementary schools, college students, and hundreds of individuals, and generated more than 70 headlines on broadcasts ranging from ABC to the CBC and newspapers from The Lethbridge Herald to The Toronto Star. But Boutilier is most impressed by the support and kindness of other ordinary Canadians, who have provided him unsolicited with warm beds, food, rides and donations to help promote the campaign. Boutilier has ridden every inch of “at least” 5,000km and looks forward to stepping off the uni “for the final time,” although he won’t be resting long in Ottawa. Boutilier will join hundreds of other activists from Canada for the People’s Climate March in NYC on September 21 before returning to Ottawa to participate in ClimateFast – a 4 day fast and vigil for climate action from September 28 to October 2nd on Parliament Hill.

Following the 12pm rally on Parliament Hill on the 15th, Boutilier looks forward to meeting MPs with environmental portfolios from all parties. A 4pm press conference in the Press Gallery at Parliament Hill will bring together Liberal Environment Critic John McKay with NDP Deputy Leader and Environment Critic Megan Leslie and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq has also been invited. In the last two weeks Boutilier has also met with NDP MP Matthew Kellway who recently tabled a revised version of the NDP’s Climate Change Accountability Act, and Liberal MP Ted Hsu; an outspoken critic of the CRA’s crackdown on environmental charities and the government’s inaction on climate change. Boutilier looks forward to meeting with more MPs from all parties and promoting further action for the cause when he arrives in Ottawa. “The end of the ride is just the beginning,” he says.

For more information contact:
Joseph Boutilier
Unity for the Climate
Phone: 1-778-922-2531

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