Critical Mass ride highlights alternative transportation options

Maya Soter

Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus will turn into a mass transit of bike riders and alternative transportation users on Friday.

The Student Environmental Coalition is hosting a Critical Mass (Carbon Free Parade) to promote non-motorized transportation without the requirement of using dwindling resources, which at the same time has less economical strain on the individual. The event is part of Environmental Awareness Week at GVSU with Friday being dedicated to sustainable transportation.

“These alternative types of transportation are more environmentally sustainable since their use does not require fuel that often drains natural resources,” said Nathan Hanchey, student coordinator and Alternative Transportation Committee member.

The Critical Mass is generally known as a bike ride, which is different from the traditional Carbon Free Parade, but in the case of this event more types are included. Some of the suggested transportation methods for the event are (but not limited to): bicycles, skateboards, long boards, runners and rollerblades.

“Be aware and think before you choose driving a car and walking, biking, skating; choose the latter,” said Camille McBride, event promoter and SEC member. “We need to use only what is necessary and essential for living. If we all did a little to help, it would make a big impact.”

Robyn Gordon, former secretary of SEC and chair of the ATC, stressed the heavy and unnecessary reliance on carbon-emitting methods of transportation.

“Non-carbon emitting methods are better for the environment, and better for our bodies; in terms of exercising and not being around pollutants,” Gordon said.

The ride is open to anyone and participants need to meet at the clock tower at 2:30 p.m. The parade will begin from the tower and continue to the GVSU Community Garden.

Refreshments will be provided at the garden and the assembly will pick up again around 3:45 p.m., giving more time for participants to gather. From the garden, the group will begin their six-mile ride down 48th Avenue, Lake Michigan Drive and back to campus.

“A misconception is that the Earth is getting to a point where remediation is not an option,” McBride said. “The truth is the Earth can bounce back. It has survived much worse environments than we have today.”

Hanchey and McBride both conclude students and people need to be more educated, involved and aware of their situations and issues involving the environment. “Every little bit counts and every little action you take is making a difference and is appreciated,” Gordon added.

The SEC recommends participants bring their own signs to promote the cause of carbon free transit.

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