Swedish bicycle owner pedals to Egypt to lift local weather consciousness



SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — She has pedaled 1000’s of miles from Sweden to Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to ship a easy message: Stop local weather change.

The journey took 72-year-old activist Dorothee Hildebrandt and her pink e-bike — which she fondly calls Miss Piggy, after the temperamental character from The Muppet Show — greater than 4 months. She crisscrossed Europe and the Middle East till she arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh, on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.

Her mission is to lift consciousness and urge world leaders gathered on the annual U.N. local weather convention referred to as COP27 to take concrete steps to cease local weather change, she stated. Greenhouse fuel emissions proceed to rise and scientists say the quantity of heat-trapping gases must be nearly halved by 2030, to fulfill temperature-limiting targets of the Paris local weather accord of 2015.

Since her arrival every week in the past, Hildebrandt and her e-bike have grow to be a fixture on the summit. From a buddy’s place the place she is staying, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the convention heart, she bikes to the COP27 venue every single day, assembly different activists and attending occasions. Many are eager to take pictures along with her across the convention venue.

“They really have to stop climate change,” Hildebrandt says of the world leaders. “Even if it is uncomfortable.”

“It was uncomfortable for me … this long ride,” she advised The Associated Press. But she wished to indicate that if there’s a will, “you can do it,” she stated.

Past local weather talks have historically seen very massive protests on the finish of the primary week of the two-week summit, typically drawing 1000’s. This yr has been principally muted, with sporadic and small demonstrations throughout the first week. Activists have blamed the excessive value of journey, lodging and restrictions in the isolated Egyptian city for limiting the numbers of demonstrators.

The largest demonstration to date was on Saturday, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden made his cease on the summit. Hundreds of protesters chanted, sang, and danced in an space not removed from the place the negotiations had been happening amid tight safety.

Born within the city of Kassel in central Germany, Hildebrandt says she obtained her first bicycle on the age of 10 and by no means stopped pedaling. In 1978 she moved to Sweden to marry her ex-husband.

She retired in 2015. Her activism and biking, which she paperwork on social media, is for the kids and additional generations of the world, she says. An indication on her bike reads, “Biking for Future and Peace.”

In her hometown of Katrineholm, 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest of Stockholm, the Swedish capital, she based “GrandmasForFuture – Katrineholm” within the city. The group focuses on elevating consciousness on local weather change amongst different issues.

Hildebrandt says she additionally needs Western industrialized nations to pay for the destruction they’ve brought on to date — a difficulty known as loss and damage, about reparations from large polluters to the worldwide south which have been damage probably the most.

Unhappy with outcomes from the earlier local weather convention, COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, she noticed her probability in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Starting out on July 1, Hildebrandt cycled by 17 nations, masking 8,228 kilometers (5,112 miles), averaging about 80 kilometers (49 miles) a day. Her Facebook posts obtained 1000’s of views and she or he says she acquired optimistic suggestions each from followers and other people she met alongside the best way.

In the Turkish coastal metropolis of Antalya, her bike broke down. A bicycle owner, who works in tourism within the metropolis, took Hildebrandt and her bike to a mechanic for repairs, and she or he was in a position to proceed on.

And in Lebanon, she took taxies from the port metropolis of Tripoli to Beirut for her security. She then had a compulsory information with a automobile and a driver to journey to the Jordanian borders by Syria.

“I could have used my bike throughout Syria, but the costs would have been too high for me,” she stated.

Even in Sinai, native authorities barred her from biking from the port of Nuweiba to Sharm el-Sheikh, apparently for her security, she stated.

Still, she is assured she has gotten her message throughout.

On Thursday, she was invited to cycle with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, an avid bicycle owner. She requested the president concerning the lack of huge protests, in comparison with earlier summits. She stated el-Sissi stated protests aren’t barred in Egypt.

“Everyone is allowed to demonstrate everywhere in Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh” he advised her, Hildebrandt says.

COP27 has turned a highlight on a yearslong crackdown on dissent in Egypt, the place most public protests are successfully banned by authorities.

After the summit ends Nov. 18, Hildebrandt will bike to Cairo, then on to the Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria earlier than going to Israel’s port of Haifa and from there, on to Greece.

Follow AP’s local weather and setting protection at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

Associated Press local weather and environmental protection receives assist from a number of non-public foundations. See extra about AP’s local weather initiative here. The AP is solely liable for all content material.


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