CAFOD’s work is close to Mieke’s heart and so is going green. In 2017 she decided to embark on a ‘human-powered’ lifestyle for a whole 365 days – this meant using no trains or cars.
Mieke’s physical and mental endurance and care for the planet are a huge inspiration. In 2017 she travelled 6,239 km by bike, 1,926 km on foot and ran 450 km. That’s a total of 8,615 km – a little more than the distance from London to Beijing!
The climate crisis will affect us all. We can all work to protect our common home and do our bit to be guardians of creation.
In her own words, here are Mieke’s top 5 tips for doing a Go Green challenge like hers and leading a more human-powered lifestyle.
Tip 1: Start small and simple
Think about what you can and can’t change in your life right now. Maybe there are small steps you can take right away, like getting off the tube or bus one stop earlier and walking, or aiming to cycle two days into work rather than one.
By starting small and working your way up to progress further, you’ll reach your goals quicker and be more satisfied by not failing.
Tip 2: Practise your route before doing it for real
If you want to travel to and from work using your own steam – like walking, running or cycling – practise your route at least once before you do it during a busy period of the day like rush hour.
This is particularly important if you intend to cycle to work and you want to build up your confidence to cycle safely in traffic.
Tip 3: Invest in good footwear, clothing and equipment
Good footwear is key to travelling on foot, whether you are walking or running, and so is clothing.
Start small and build up. Figure out along the way what you really need – a waterproof jacket is a must in Britain, for example! For cycling, a good helmet and bright lights that can be charged at home are essential. And finally, a good backpack is important, as you’ll be carrying a lot of stuff to and from work.
Travelling human-powered takes quite a bit of organisation (but it gets easier!). Spend 10-15 minutes the night before packing your bag or laying out your clothes to wear.
Tip 4: Use technology to plan, track, motivate and share your success!
I could not have done my human-powered travel without technology. There are some apps I couldn’t do without – Citymapper being an absolute must for planning journeys and Strava for recording and tracking routes.
You can use Citymapper to locate hire bikes and to choose a route that’s fast or follows quieter streets. I always try out the quiet routes as sometimes they only add on another 5-10 minutes and take you down residential areas and away from main roads.
Tip 5: Eat well and stay hydrated
Travelling human-powered does take its toll on you physically. By eating well and staying hydrated you can replenish a lot of calories and nutrients. I also try to have isotonic drinks with me when exercising so I’m replenishing my salts and minerals.
Most of all, enjoy your Go Green Challenge!