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Swedish bike owner pedals to Egypt to lift local weather consciousness



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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — She has pedaled 1000’s of miles from Sweden to Egypt’s Pink Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to ship a easy message: Cease 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 Present — greater than 4 months. She crisscrossed Europe and the Center 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 generally known as COP27 to take concrete steps to cease local weather change, she mentioned. Greenhouse fuel emissions proceed to rise and scientists say the quantity of heat-trapping gases must be virtually halved by 2030, to fulfill temperature-limiting targets of the Paris local weather accord of 2015.

Since her arrival per week in the past, Hildebrandt and her e-bike have change into a fixture on the summit. From a good friend’s place the place she is staying, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the convention middle, she bikes to the COP27 venue day by day, assembly different activists and attending occasions. Many are eager to take images along with her across the convention venue.

“They actually need to cease local weather change,” Hildebrandt says of the world leaders. “Even whether it is uncomfortable.”

“It was uncomfortable for me … this lengthy experience,” she advised The Related Press. However she needed to point out that if there’s a will, “you are able to do it,” she mentioned.

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

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

Born within the city of Kassel in central Germany, Hildebrandt says she bought 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 youngsters 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 desires Western industrialized nations to pay for the destruction they’ve precipitated to date — a difficulty referred to as loss and injury, about reparations from huge polluters to the worldwide south which have been harm essentially the most.

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

Beginning out on July 1, Hildebrandt cycled via 17 international locations, masking 8,228 kilometers (5,112 miles), averaging about 80 kilometers (49 miles) a day. Her Fb posts bought 1000’s of views and he or she says she acquired optimistic suggestions each from followers and other people she met alongside the way in which.

Within the Turkish coastal metropolis of Antalya, her bike broke down. A bike owner, who works in tourism within the metropolis, took Hildebrandt and her bike to a mechanic for repairs, and he or she 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 via Syria.

“I may have used my bike all through Syria, however the prices would have been too excessive for me,” she mentioned.

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

Nonetheless, 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 bike owner. She requested the president concerning the lack of huge protests, in comparison with earlier summits. She mentioned el-Sissi mentioned protests usually are not barred in Egypt.

“Everyone seems to be allowed to exhibit in every single place 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.

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

Related Press local weather and environmental protection receives assist from a number of personal foundations. See extra about AP’s local weather initiative right here. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.

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