Jun 18, 2013 11:21 AM

Young people touting green lifestyle on 'Ride for the Future'

Seven young adults from across the United States are in Lafayette for a week as part of Ride for the Future, a 500-mile journey from New Orleans to Houston drawing attention to society's deadly addiction to coal, oil, and gas and to highlight the harms being imposed upon Gulf Coast communities.

The team is working with a variety of organizations including the Louisiana Democracy Project, Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Sierra Club, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Bayou Rebirth and Green Light Project.

"After canvassing with The Louisiana Democracy Project for a petition to stop EPA from granting ExxonMobil air permits, I realized the high death rate from cancer suffered by the communities surrounding the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge and how the residents continue to suffer because they cannot move away" says Daphne Chang, a rising sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, after she was asked what she's learnt so far from the program.

The riders are Dena Yanowski, Ernesto Botello, Omar Navarro, Erik Rundquist, Kaela Bamberger and Daphne Chang and they intend to expose the impacts of the production, refining, and consumption of fossil fuels on Gulf Coast communities. Local pollution and the broader, less predictable consequences of climate change including extreme weather events harm the health, economy, and environment of the communities that power America. They view fossil fuel companies as energy companies, believing they should invest in renewable energy and help address the twin challenges of pollution and extreme weather events.

The riders will leave Lafayette June 24th. Their main stops in Louisiana including Lafayette are Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. When asked why she joined this program, Dena Yanowski, a native Houstonian who recently graduated from the University of St. Thomas, replied "I grew up with a roof over my head and had my college education paid for by my father's job in the fossil fuel industry but even I recognize that we, as a society, can no longer continue this addiction to coal, oil and gas without severe consequences for humankind."



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