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Carbon Cycle 2011

Welsh activists take action on transport.

On 9 July, 17 enthusiastic young cyclists from Dyfodol (The Welsh Youth Forum for Sustainable Development) set off from Corris in Gwynedd on a five-day, 160-mile bike ride to Cardiff.

Funded by The Co-operative, this is the fourth consecutive year for the Carbon Cycle, and numbers continue to grow. The ride was to increase awareness and call for better cycling provisions in Wales and raise sponsorship money for Project Mongolia, a collaborative venture between young climate activists in Wales and Mongolia. Climate change is making the nomadic existence harder and harder to maintain, in fact impossible for many Mongolians. 50% of Mongolia’s stock has been lost in the last 5 years due to increasingly cold winters.

The project is sending eight young people to Mongolia on a skill-sharing and cultural exchange visit. The young people will travel by rail all the way.

We followed Sustrans Route 8, which runs from Holyhead to Cardiff, and Sustrans volunteers joined us on several sections. Along the way we collected signatures for our petition to the Welsh assembly to improve cycling facilities and sustainable transport in Wales. At Treharris youth club, the cyclists ran a workshop on climate change and global resources. The young people also showed a slide show of pictures from the Carbon Cycle and gave a short talk on climate change.

The ride also stopped off at the Cynnal Cymru (Sustain Wales) AGM, where the young people introduced the project and received rousing applause!

On the final day of the trip, we met John Griffiths AM, the new minister for sustainable development. It was the first time that Dyfodol had met with the minister: he was very receptive to our calls for better cycling provisions and for young people to be listened to.

A keen cyclist himself, John Griffiths reported that the previous day the first minister, Carwyn Jones, had announced measures for better cycling provisions in local authorities. We live in hope!

More info: Dyfodol, The Environment Centre, Pier Street, Swansea, SA1 1RY; 0845 456 5453; www.dyfodol.org