By Adam Prudhomme
Abhishek Sharma is on a global mission to fight climate change and promote world peace, all using pedal power.
The 29-year-old native of India rode through Napanee on Wednesday in the midst of his six-year, six-continent, 90-country journey. He began his trip on Nov. 10, 2014 and intends to travel 95,000 kilometres before arriving back in India in 2020.
“I’m riding my bike around the world for climate change and pedalling for peace campaign,” said Sharma. “We are working on a project called Global Eco Village. After six years we are going to build a village in India based on self-sustainability.”
Along the way, he’s hoping to learn as much as he can from other countries to implement in the construction of the village. In return he’s hoping people will be inspired by his journey and do their part to fight climate change.
“We are all responsible for climate change,” said Sharma. “We need a collective approach and an all inclusive approach. We need to work together. There are 7.4 billion people and I’m one of them. That is why I’m riding my bike, I took my moral responsibility. This is a symbolic bike ride to make people aware and educate them that this is the time to act together.”
Though he’s made a significant commitment and dedicated six years of his life to the cause, he says it doesn’t have to be that drastic.
“We can all do something,” said Sharma. “We can use a bicycle instead of a car or we can all plant trees in our life.”
Travelling the world, he’s seen first-hand what can happen when weather patterns change. He recalls flooding in India and forest fires in Portugal and Spain.
It’s not all doom and gloom however.
“I can say there are a lot of good things happening,” said Sharma. “When I was in Norway, it’s a carbon neutral country. Likewise, other countries have done good research.”
“I’ve heard a lot about the Government in Canada,” he added. “They are doing lots of sustainable developments and are very conscious about the environment. It’s a very good sign.”
His route for his worldwide journey has been meticulously planned, but his accommodations are very fluid. That feeds into his world peace campaign as well, relying on the kindness of strangers to provide shelter on any given night. He just so happened to cross paths with Shaune Lucas during his stop in Napanee.
“He supported me, he gave me a bed and food,” Sharma said of Lucas. “I had a good time with his family.”
As a last resort he does have a tent with him if he’s unable to find a place to sleep. For the most part however he says the kindness of strangers has been enough, which gives him hope for the planet as a whole.
“In our Hindu culture we say the entire world is a family,” said Sharma. “We all are a part of this family.”
He’ll continue to count on strangers as he heads towards Toronto and into the U.S. where he’ll head west, crossing back into Canada to make a stop in Winnipeg. He’s continue to bike through the west coast and then turning around when he reaches the ocean and heading towards America’s heartland, from which he’ll head south towards Mexico and South America. He plans to travel to Africa and Australia over the next two years, returning to Asia to complete his trek in 2020.
Anyone looking to support his journey can donate at www.AbhishekKumarSharma.com.