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Director's Corner

Dan Ashe served as FWS Director from June 2011 until January 2017. The following is an archive of blogs authored by Director Ashe during that time. This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Biking to Work: Healthy for Us and for the Environment

David PatteDavid Patte

David Patte, climate change coordinator in the Pacific Region, is just one of many Service employees committed to reducing their carbon footprint while getting plenty of enjoyable exercise in the great outdoors.

Every day, David bikes to work, rain or shine, even in snow and ice.

A little scratch-pad math shows David has ridden nearly 40,000 miles out in Portland, eight miles daily since 1995. He actually has ridden farther because he started commuting by bike when he was here at Headquarters in 1992.

People like David do not need any encouragement to try commuting by bicycle. But others may need a push.

For all those folks, May is National Bike Month, and Friday, May 17, is National Bike to Work Day. Think about cycling and maybe give it a shot.

Biking saves gas, cuts air pollution and reduces the carbon emissions that are driving global climate change, all while creating a healthier you and saving you from dreaded traffic tie-ups. 

David’s commitment is an incredible way for a climate change coordinator to walk the walk, or pedal it. But it is not out of the ordinary for the Fish and Wildlife Service and its workers.

Our 2010 Climate Change Strategic Plan “Rising to the Urgent Challenge” commits us to help reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere and calls on the agency to be aggressive in sequestering carbon. We also must  manage our lands, facilities, vehicles, travel and purchases so we become carbon neutral by 2020.  We’re on track to reach that goal.

Our “green” work won us accolades in the Department of the Interior’s 2012 Environmental Achievement Awards.

And we have a leadership role in developing the interagency National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy released in March. Although primarily focused on adaptation, the strategy includes recommendations that serve mitigation as well as adaptation goals and highlights the urgent need for action to reduce the carbon emissions that are driving climate change.

Bike to Work Day comes as researchers say carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a level not seen in millions of years.   They  later revised the reading modestly lower, but the trend continues to rise.

Biking is one way to change that. The Environmental Protection Agency says, “Leaving your car at home just two days a week can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by an average of two tons per year."

Even if you can’t bike to work, you can take some simple steps to take to reduce carbon emissions.

I applaud David and the many Service cyclists who choose to make the environment better. But I am sure most of them would tell you they ride to make the commute healthy and fun.

Hope to see you on the bike trail. Don’t forget your helmet!

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