‘Carbon CarBan’ a success with warm weather

Jinae West

Cyclists took advantage of the warm weather Sunday to participate in the first annual “Carbon CarBan,” a rally and ride in downtown Kent to encourage greener transportation.

The rally was sponsored by TransPortage, a group of county residents who want to raise awareness about climate change, and the event attracted about a hundred riders of all ages. The “CarBan” began at 1 p.m. at the Home Savings Bank Plaza and was part of an international campaign by the Global Work Party to cut carbon emissions by 10 percent each year; a pledge to decrease that percentage was available at the rally for participants to sign.

Bikers could choose between two routes: a one mile ride for families and children and a seven mile ride for experienced riders.

TransPortage Communications Director Chris Carman said the rally is a result of a large-scale failure, both by the government and corporations, to enact change.

“Instead, we want to look at how people can make a difference in their own lives,” he said.

Carman, who is also an environmental science teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School and commutes to work by bike, said the “CarBan” is a way to move Kent from a petroleum-based society to one that is more sustainable.

Some riders at the rally wore stickers on the backs of their T-shirts that read: “Melt Fat, Not Glaciers.”

Ana Sigler, a senior conservation major, said she came to the “CarBan” because it’s a positive event for the community.

“I wish it would happen more often,” Sigler said. “I think people are really afraid of biking as a means of transportation because they think it’s scary. But I think they should raise awareness that it’s not that hard to bike.”

Beth Goran, a Kent State alumna, helped organize the rally as a member of Kent Community Bicycles. She said the rally may open the possibility of bike riding as more than recreational.

“(Bikes) can be used for much more than that. You can ride your bike to school, to work every single day of the year if you really want to,” Goran said. “It’s really empowering to do that. Once you get to know it, it’s really a simple machine.”

Carman said he hopes the rally will cause people to reduce their carbon footprint by other means, such as walking, carpooling or replacing incandescent lamps with energy-efficient light bulbs.

“Even something that seems small to us can have a big effect,” he said.

Contact Jinae West at [email protected].