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Sustainable farmer Warren Hoag gives members of Ride for the Future a tour of his nine-acre family farm which includes animals, bees and gardens. The group of college students are bicycling from New Orleans to Houston to raise awareness about the dependence on fossil fuels and the harmful effects they can cause. (Doris Maricle / American Press)<br>

Sustainable farmer Warren Hoag gives members of Ride for the Future a tour of his nine-acre family farm which includes animals, bees and gardens. The group of college students are bicycling from New Orleans to Houston to raise awareness about the dependence on fossil fuels and the harmful effects they can cause. (Doris Maricle / American Press)

Environmentalists ride to promote renewable energy

Last Modified: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 10:32 AM

By Doris Maricle / American Press

JENNINGS — Pedaling towards a future of renewable energy that does not rely on fossil fuels, a group of environmental activists biking cross-country stopped in Jennings Monday to explore a sustainable farm that highlights a more energy efficient way to feed the world.

Ride for the Future, a group of six college-aged, self-described “environmental activists,” hopes to raise awareness about the potential dangers of a fossil fuel-based society by bicycling from New Orleans to Houston.

“Oil and gas will not last forever, but we are completely dependent on it,”Erik Rundquist, a 23-year-old geography major from Massachusetts with interest in environmental studies, said, “Without it people will not be able to go to work.”

The group sees the world’s continued dependence on coal, oil and gas as a threat to life on the planet.

“We want to be able to tell people what we have seen,” Daphne Chang, an 18-year-old college sophomore from Massachusetts, said. “We have talked to people who lived next to the refineries and they have told us about all the people who died and how the industry has hurt and it’s not fair.”

Hannah Motte, an 18-year-old sophomore from Georgia, said the group has seen the refineries and are worried about the people who “live right next door.”

“We have been able to help the people by really listening to what the people have to say,” Motte said. “That is something people need to do. They have to listen more.”

Kaela Bamberger, a 21-year-old applied arts activism major from New York said the group has smelled the odors from the refineries and spoke to residents concerned about the cancer rates in their neighborhoods.

“These are people who are directly being affected by the fossil fuel industry,” she said.

Warren Hoag’s sustainable farm contributes to a reduction in green house gases and is a model for a future in which the population grows its own food and reduces the need for a large agricultural industry that utilizes massive amounts of fossil fuel to fertilize and transport food from mega farms, to grocery stores to households.

Hoag delighted in having this crop of next generation environmentalists experience the nine acres of his sustainable farming system first-hand.

“My mission in life is to teach others about sustainable farming,” Hoag said.

The group enjoyed a meal of angel hair pasta with mushrooms, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic and onion — all handpicked from his farm, except for the pasta. The drink was mint tea made with freshly picked mint.

Ernesto Botello, a 22-year-old health science graduate from San Diego, said the visit to the farm and local food was linked to his interest in food and nutrition and how the environment has an impact on the people’s health.

The group tries to only eat vegetarian meals, though not all the members are vegetarians. The group does volunteer work mostly for community gardens, farms markets and churches. They receive $6 a day per person for food and sleep in sleeping bags, mostly in churches along the way.

Omar Navarro, 23, who recently earned a degree in international business, said he joined the group because he was looking for a non-government organization that worked with legislation to pursue justice.

“I saw this program as a chance to learn more about how there are laws in place to give people a voice,” he said.

The group is scheduled to leave Jennings today and head to Lake Charles where they will visit Fisherville, Friend Ships Unlimited ship and the Wesley Student Center at McNeese State University.

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