Pacing the Planet: The Second Week

Pacing the Planet is beginning to have wider engagement with the country. While based at the beautiful, deep
green forest of Lacey-Keosauqua State Park in Iowa, we walked north and west through Amish villages and rolling hills.

Our children are adapting to the routine of riding in our covered carts fairly well, although our youngest adventurer continues to want to lobby very fiercely for the right to walk along the shoulder of the road with her parents, even though she is not yet two. At our rest stops, she sneaks up to the cart and tries to pull it out of camp.

We have encountered a share of passers-by who stop and ask us about our mission, and take our photograph; they often express an intention to post about our project on social media. Pacing the Planet is already appearing on multiple sites on the internet.

On Sunday night, as lightning flashed above the manically swaying trees in the state park, we watched on our portable internet connection as the front-line of storms, spawning tornadoes from Nebraska to Iowa, approached our location. After hearing of a tornado spotted nearby, we made the decision to relocate from our two tents to the cinder-block bathhouse at the campground. Surprisingly, our tents endured the 60 mph winds and driving rain unscathed. In the bathhouse, we waited out the storm with an older couple and their two Labrador Retrievers; they agreed with us that the climate emergency is being seriously underplayed in the media.

It wasn't until Monday night that we learned of the tornado which struck the suburbs of Oklahoma City earlier that day with 200 mph winds, flattening schools and houses, burying kids in rubble, ruining lives. The truth is, the increasing, unusual fluctuations of the jet stream lead to particularly intense spring storms, spawning the F5 tornadoes we've seen devastate towns almost every year now. Those movements of the jet stream are tied to the melting of the Arctic, and that is the frontline of climate change.

On Friday, we moved camp to Ottumwa, and were delighted to find geese and ducks nesting around the ponds at the city campground, as we've had to forgo keeping our own waterfowl this year, so that we could do this walking. Friday morning, we brought our carts to the grand, old city high school, perched on a hill above the city, and gave a short presentation to 30 students. We allowed them to try pulling our carts, and they took many photos of themselves posed inside and out of our vehicles. We also gave an interview to a reporter from the Ottumwa Courier, who will be writing a short piece on us.

We welcome the shedding our relative anonymity, as the message we bring about the state of the climate needs to spread very quickly indeed. There is hope in our hearts as we continue to walk. Photographs of our journey can be found on our website: