23 Jul 2018 Press release Climate change

Cyclist aims at world record to protect the planet

  • World famous Austrian cyclist Michael Strasser is attempting a new world record by cycling the longest passable route from Alaska to Patagonia.
  • Michael’s Ice2Ice expedition aims to demonstrate sustainable mobility in mitigating climate change.
  • Michael becomes first cyclist to join UN Environment’s Mountain Heroes campaign.

23 July 2018 –World famous Austrian cyclist Michael Strasser has today launched a record-breaking distance cycling attempt, intended to raise awareness for climate change action. Strasser’s world-record ride, dubbed Ice2Ice will take him from Alaska to Patagonia – the longest overland route available – to demonstrate the links between personal transportation choices and climate change.  

“It’s great to welcome Michael Strasser to work with us on protecting our mountains. His message is simple but powerful. Each and every one of us can shape the future we want, and I hope Michael will inspire many more of us! “ said Head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim.

Michael becomes the first cyclist to join UN Environment’s Mountain Heroes Campaign alongside Kenyan skier Sabrina Simader and British climber Ben Fogle. The initiative seeks to raise awareness and inspire action for the protection of mountain ecosystems, by partnering with extraordinary athletes. Mountains are home to millions of people, and provide crucial ecosystem services for the entire globe, including freshwater. They are also centres of biological diversity, and beloved tourist destinations. However, climate change is causing glaciers, a rich source of drinking water, to retreat and unique plants and animals in mountain regions to start vanishing. Climate change disproportionally affects the Arctic, Antarctica and mountain areas, which is highly visible by the loss of ice and snow cover. Within the period between 1960 and 2003 glaciers in Patagonia and Alaska have thinned by approximately 35m and 25m.

“I’m proud to support UN Environment and to be part of their Mountain Heroes campaign. It would mean a lot to me, if I could motivate every single person who follows me to sometimes take a bike instead of their car. If my attempt is to bike 23,000 kilometers and 185,000 vertical meters, then everyone can manage one or the other kilometer in their daily life too. I think if all of us contribute something even small, something big can come of it” said Michael.

The rise of mountain tourism has also created new streams of waste that put additional pressure on these already fragile habitats. Of the many thousands of tourists who increasingly flock to the beauty of mountain ranges worldwide, most are unaware just how delicate these ecosystems truly are.

NOTES TO EDITORS

About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. 

For more information, please contact:

Keith Weller, Head of News and Media, keith.weller[at]un.org