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The Climate Bet: individuals can do more.

“The Climate Bet” is assessing the situation at the end of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. In parallel to the big Summer Tour, Riese & Müller supported the project over 100 days with a company-wide team cycle and, in doing so, became “Climate Kings and Queens”, as one of the top supporters of the Climate Bet.

One million tonnes of CO2 were to be saved by the date of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow – that was the ambitious goal of the Climate Bet. The result is far from being achieved, but is still worthy of recognition: over 12,500 participants saved a total of 20,072 tonnes of CO2 through their own daily actions and have donated over €300,000 to climate protection projects.

As of November 2021

7,330 kilometres for the climate

A great achievement for a small association, boosted by a cycle trip effectively communicated through the media: Dr Michael Bilharz, the initiator of the Climate Bet, travelled around Germany on a cargo bike for 103 days. He visited 189 towns and cities on his 7,330-kilometre-long Summer Tour and, standing in their central squares, challenged them to take up the “climate bet” and called for faster climate protection.

For Michael, it was about more than just ambitious cycling: “I want to boost the ‘Climate Bet’ and make it clear how a motivating wave of climate protection can grow from the contribution of each and every individual: the often-cited drop in the ocean.”

Photo: © Engagement Global | Thomas Ruttke
  • Impressions of the Summer Tour

    It was clear from the outset that this was not going to be an easy ride. To the contrary, he had to keep to a strict schedule to make his many appointments and meetings.

    The Climate Bet Load was preceded by letters to town and city mayors, local authorities, and representatives of environmental organisations and the press. Hence a lot of organisational work.

    Michael talks to 3 to 100 people in the towns and cities depending on the number of multipliers reached. 120 cities accepted the challenge of the Climate Bet, and 40 others wanted to at least support it. There was a lot of applause and respect for his bike tour. “Cycling is just so great”, explains Michael. “A lot of people on the ground expressly thanked me for the campaign and for my personal rally call. It was a fantastic feeling!”

    Michael’s most loyal companion during the three and a half months was his Load 75. We wanted to know how the Load rides for climate protection: “The Load rides extremely well”, confirms Michael. Fully equipped – with a tool box, saddle bag, and trailer – the whole caboodle comes in at just under 200 kilogrammes. Nonetheless, it proudly set a day record of 135 km. “Its suspension means that it is gentle on the Climate Bet material and, above all, on my back.”

    Anyone who has ever cycled in the Netherlands knows how easy it is to ride from A to B, supported by a well-developed infrastructure. Due to the German cycling infrastructure, Michael only rarely experienced this on his route, but did so on the cycle highway between Mühlheim and Essen.

    In many cities (for example, on the 30-kilometre urban section between Dortmund and Oberhausen), he meandered through endless industrial estates, his spirit sorely tested by merciless traffic lights and countless kerbs to be overcome. 

    The highlight of his trip was cycling into Munich: Munich City Police escorted the Climate Bet procession rather like heads of state along the 13 kilometres from the Allianz Arena to the city centre. This is what the “Transport Revolution” needs to feel like.

What does the future hold for the Climate Bet?

“The Climate Bet website will remain online so that people can continue to donate”, reveals Campaign Manager Andrea Kostrowski. The association is also working on a follow-up campaign for the coming year. After all, she and her team members wanted a much greater response – 50 times more, to be precise, or preferably much more. But she is not giving up: “We have observed and learned and will now approach our follow-up project much more professionally. That way, people will not just clap, but also get involved themselves.” 

And a big, visionary goal is important to get things moving – an idea from Anna Katharina Meyer, also on the Climate Bet team, in her Sustainability Ideas.

Riese & Müller is crowned “Climate King/Queen”

Riese & Müller got involved with its own campaign. Over three months, dedicated employees collected cycling kilometres for the climate in all weathers. They reached an impressive total of 60,129 km, which represents a total donation of €3,025 (= 121 tonnes of CO2) to benefit a certified climate protection project. Riese & Müller was thus awarded the winning title of “Climate King/Queen” in the Climate Bet.

“This is a fantastic team success, which shows that we can push ahead with climate protection if we succeed in pooling the commitment of many individuals. A massive thank you to Michael Bilharz, who was not afraid of the personal effort involved in taking climate goals together with the necessary behavioural changes out into the world”, says Hannah Müßener, Sustainability Manager at Riese & Müller.