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Cyclist’s global tour for peace, climate makes stop in Sudbury

Sustainable Development Goals activist David Ligouy has cycled through 27 countries and more than 40,000 km on a solar-powered electric-assist recumbent cycle

A French activist who has spent the past four years crossing the globe on a solar-powered cycle to spread awareness about climate change spent Thanksgiving weekend in the Nickel City.

David Ligouy’s solar-powered, electric-assist recumbent cycle has taken him through 27 countries and across more than 40,000 km as he spreads the message of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), climate change and peace.

“We’re on the sixth mass extinction, but even worse, it’s the first mass extinction done by humans — it’s never happened before,” he told when he stopped in Sault Ste. Marie on Oct. 4. “Sixty per cent of biodiversity and 60 per cent of the trees are gone. We have to act very quickly.”

Ligouy arrived in the Sudbury area on Oct. 7. He was fortunate to meet Sudburian Nicole Tardif at a Tim Hortons in Espanola. Once she confirmed his mission, Tardif, the program co-ordinator in Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines, invited to put up the cycling activist in her South End home.

While his work and cycling efforts began in 2008, this current journey began in 2017 as he worked to spread the message of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW) to ratify the ICANW treaty against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

As of September, that treaty has been ratified by 91 countries and 68 state parties.

Ligouy is with a non-government organization called Le Mouvement de la Paix, which had recent success in a national trial conviction against the French government for not addressing climate action.

Prominently featured on his cycle is a poster featuring the SDG’s 17 goals for sustainable development, which includes fighting climate change, as well as setting sustainable goals for industry, the economy and humanity, with the ultimate goal of spreading equality and prosperity.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future,” reads a statement on the SDG website. 

“At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries — developed and developing — in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth — all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.”

As part of his efforts to spread the message of sustainable development and peace, Ligouy is heading up a campaign to mass-produce 8,000 open-source electric bicycle kits for Mexico. Creating affordable kits that would allow low-income people, particularly women, to transform virtually any cycle to an e-bike not only helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said it also democratizes transportation for people in developing countries, giving them more ability to participate in the economy and feed their families.

You can learn more by visiting his GoFundMe campaign.

Of all the countries Ligouy has visited on his biking tour, he told SooToday that Canada has taken charge in many different avenues when it comes to encouraging climate-friendly actions and various biodiversity efforts.

“Canada is leading the way now for biodiversity,” he said. “There are many wind turbines and lots of e-bikes in Canada. It’s really nice to see.”

Holding a master’s degree in Green Energies for Developing Countries, Ligouy is the author of three books, all of which are available for download on his website (note of the three, two are in French and Spanish only). His most recent book, “Able to be Human”, details his experiences cycling around the globe and is available in English.

From Sudbury, Ligouy’s next stop is Montreal for the UN conference on biodiversity, COP15, to be held from Dec. 7-19. COP15 (for Conference of the Parties) is an international governmental conference focused on “protecting nature and halting biodiversity loss around the world,” states the federal government website on the event. “There is an urgent need for international partners to halt and reverse the alarming loss of biodiversity worldwide.”

-with files from