Michael Strasser has just completed an epic journey. He has just set a new world record by cycling 22,642 km from Alaska in the US to Patagonia in southern Argentina in 84 days, 11 hours and 50 minutes.
More importantly, he’s done this to highlight the importance of environmental issues, including wildlife conservation, the dangers of pollution and climate change.
Strasser recently became the first cyclist to be part of a new UN Environment campaign called Mountain Heroes. At the heart of the campaign are extraordinary athletes who dedicate some of their time to raise awareness on environmental issues, in particular environmental protection of mountains, where early indicators of the effects of climate change are already becoming visible.
“It would mean a lot to me if my world record can motivate each of you to sometimes swap the car for a bike, and if only sometimes,” he says.
Ice in the Arctic is melting fast, and so is ice in mountain areas such as the magnificent Andes. Around 50 per cent of glacier mass has been lost in the last 40 years. If we don’t act now on climate change, we will not have the landscapes we have today, and all life on Earth will suffer the consequences. Unique ecosystems and biodiversity, such as cloud forests, rivers and wetlands, will face unprecedented conditions in the future, threatening the livelihoods of highland farmers and water supply for downstream areas.
“UN Environment helps countries in the Andes adapt to the changes, such as in the Peruvian Andes, by strengthening the resilience of ecosystems which in turn preserves fresh water and grazing land for local communities,” says UN Environment Programme Management Officer Matthias Jurek.
UN Environment is also helping Andean countries to cooperate on a regional strategy for adaptation in the Andes mountains. This involves the identification of common priorities and the exchange of experiences for mutual benefit.
However, more must be done to mitigate the disasters brought about by climate change. If Michael can cycle across the American continent, perhaps you can cycle to work?
For further information please contact Magnus Andresen