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Energy and nutrition bar brand Clif Bar is hoping to contain climate change by getting consumers to take part in its 2011 2 Mile Challenge. The nationwide campaign urges people to lower carbon dioxide emissions by riding bikes instead of driving cars for trips of two miles or under.
Through an interactive website, www.2milechallenge.com, the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge enables participants to become part of an online community and engage with other bikers. Participants can join one of three teams, each representing a national nonprofit group that promotes bike advocacy or battles climate change. Individuals will earn points for themselves and their teams based on riding their bikes, logging their miles, getting friends involved and sharing their progress via social media.
In total, Clif Bar – the idea for which was born during a bike ride -- will donate $100,000 to nonprofits during this year’s 2 Mile Challenge, which runs this year until Oct. 31.
The three national nonprofits, Alliance for Biking and Walking, Safe Routes to School Partnership and 350.org, will split $80,000, with their teams’ total points at the end of the Challenge determining the fund allocation. The nonprofit team with the most points will get a $35,000 grant, second place will receive $25,000, and third place $20,000.
As well as supporting the nonprofits, riders for the first time will be able to provide smaller grants to fund local grass-roots bike advocacy and climate change groups. A total of $20,000 will go to grass-roots initiatives across the country.
“Giving participants the opportunity to contribute directly to their local community brings a personal element to the 2 Mile Challenge,” noted Ryan Mayo, environmental activism manager at Emeryville, Calif.-based Clif Bar & Co. “We hope this inspires more people to ride and help achieve our goal of avoiding 100,000 car trips this year.”
Last year’s 2 Mile Challenge participants avoided more than 43,000 car trips and covered nearly 385,000 miles during the program’s six-month team competition. In choosing bikes over cars, participants prevented 353,500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
The 2 Mile Challenge is part of Clif Bar’s commitment to preserving outdoor places where people play. The company is a member of 1% For The Planet, a network of organizations committed to donating at least 1 percent of net sales to environmental nonprofits.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 40 percent of all urban trips in the United States are two miles or less, and 90 percent of those trips are made by car, so, if just one out of 10 car commuters rode a bike instead, carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by a staggering 25.4 million tons annually. Every mile traveled by bike rather than car prevents 1 pound of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, the Climate Leadership Initiative at the University of Oregon has found.