Saturday, December 3, 2022

Williamsburg City Councilman to Bike Across State to Fight Climate Change

Donning a Virginia Beer Company cycling jersey, City Councilman Caleb Rogers will cycle across the state to raise money for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. (Courtesy of Caleb Rogers)

WILLIAMSBURG – There are a few ways to combine adventure and a good cause. Williamsburg City Councilman Caleb Rogers has found just the way.

With a 368 mi long journey ahead of him, Rogers is biking across the Commonwealth to raise money for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).

As part of his work the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN), an international initiative under the World Bank’s Youth-to-Youth Community with the mission to raise awareness and encourage climate action by the youth population, Rogers took up the challenge to complete three projects in his home country to fight climate change.

With ambassadors from over 100 countries across the globe, GYCN combines education and action into one global program. Every GYCN member is challenged to do three projects in their home country that help battle climate change.

Rogers will start in his former hometown of Bristol, just under the Virginia and Tennessee state line signs, and finish at the Colonial Williamsburg Capitol Building on Duke of Gloucester St.

“Williamsburg was certainly feeling quieter this summer, so I was looking for something that would reconnect me to my old hometown, allow me to travel a little bit, and then to be an actual physical and mental challenge, but could also be looped into the GYCN,” Rogers said in an interview on Wednesday.

Rogers said that he got into cycling during the pandemic as a way to get outside. Over the last couple of months, Rogers has steadily been increasing the hours and distance spent cycling.

“Being at home 24/7 got to be a lot, so I go into the habit of doing two to three 20 minute  loops around town in those months,” he said.

Combining his newfound hobby with a desire to better the world, Rogers began a project to raise funds for an organization that focused on tackling climate change and environmental conservation. He chose the CBF as his benefitting nonprofit for their large scope of impact with over 18 million people living within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and their ability to make the most use out of donations, no matter how big or how small.

Since graduating from William and Mary with a B.A. in Public Policy in 2020, Rogers has been considering from a career standpoint what issues he wanted to address with his time, and one he found himself thinking about constantly was climate change.

After taking a class on Global Climate Change during his undergraduate years at William and Mary, Rogers became more involved in environmental issues. Wanting to understand climate change from a global perspective and learn from people who were addressing conservation in their own home countries, Rogers began researching organizations. After seeing the GYCN advertised in a sustainability department newsletter from William and Mary, Rogers applied and joined the GYNC as an ambassador back in January.

“I think we’ve seen a lot devastating natural disasters more recently, and the science is clear that those will only become more frequent,” he said. “As I think about what are the problems that I want to address in the world, I certainly don’t want there to be a world that certain areas are unlivable for people that might be near the equator or the coast lands, because now, in today’s time, we were not doing as much as we could to work environmentally.”

Rogers will start his six-day trek on Sept. 13. and finish Saturday, Sept. 18, accompanied by friend and cyclist Tom Cosgrove. Several local businesses pitched in to sponsor Roger’s initiative, with the Virginia Beer Company donating a cycling jersey and additional support from Moe’s Southwest Grill on Monticello and Identity Production Studios.

As of yesterday, Rogers’s fundraiser has raised over $2,800, more than half of his fundraising goal. To donate to Roger’s “BayRasier,” click here.

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