THE CARBON CYCLE
Crossing the Great Divide
In 2006, 'outdoor philosopher' Kate Rawles cycled 4553 miles from Texas to Alaska, following the spine of the Rocky Mountains as closely as possible. Cycling across unforgiving but starkly beautiful landscapes – New Mexican deserts, over high mountain passes, across glaciers, and down to the sea – she encountered bears, wolves, moose, cliff-swallows, aspens, and a single, astonishing lynx. Along the way, she talked to Americans about climate change – from truck drivers to the Mayor of Albuquerque – to find out what they knew about it, whether they cared, and if they did, what they thought they could do. Kate's story of the trip, in which she not only deals with the rigours of the journey (cycling for ten hours a day in temperatures often in excess of 100F, fighting punctures, endless repairs, inescapable grinding fatigue ...) but does constant battle with her own ideas and assumptions, helps us to cross the great divide between where we are on climate change, and where we need to be. Can we tackle climate change while still keeping our modern Western lifestyles intact? Should we put biofuel in the camper vans and RVs? Or do we need much deeper shifts in lifestyles, values and worldviews?
'A wonderfully rich and insightful narrative ... an extraordinarily revealing series of vignettes. Kate's work-a-day belief that the principal purpose of philosophy is “to question the assumptions of our age” keeps even her most abstract reflections grounded in an admirable way.' Jonathon Porritt
'Kate Rawles sets out to discover about global warming the hard way ...' Michael Palin
Kate Rawles studied philosophy at Aberdeen University, and environmental philosophy at Glasgow and Colorado State University. She was an indoor philosophy lecturer for nearly a decade before escaping to work freelance in 2000. Kate now works half-time as a lecturer in Outdoor Studies at the University of Cumbria – teaching environmental issues – and half-time as a freelance outdoor philosopher, writer, lecturer and campaigner. She is passionate about the need to find urgent, effective and suitably radical responses to our multiple environmental challenges (including giving our values and worldviews a thorough overhaul) – and firmly believes our quality of life can go up rather than down in the process. Kate is a keen hill-walker and sea-kayaker (with a particular love of remote islands with lots of wildlife) as well as a long-distance cyclist. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and sits on the Food Ethics Council. She lives in Cumbria with her partner, Chris.
More information about Kate, the Carbon Cycle and Outdoor Philosophy can be found at www.outdoorphilosophy.co.uk
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