UConn alumna hikes 3,000 miles for a sustainable future

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University of Connecticut alumna Hannah Bacon ‘15 is hiking across the U.S. to raise awareness on climate change.  

The 3,000-mile hike, which Bacon began on Nov. 21, 2020, started barefoot on the San Clemente State Beach in California at 4:15 a.m., Bacon said in her blog.  

Bacon made the choice to walk in an effort to raise awareness about climate change and reduce her carbon footprint, after a trip from New York to California.   

“One week after landing in California I committed to walking back East, a decision I am attributing to my love for Santa Cruz, reading David Wallace-Wells’ “The Uninhabitable Earth,” being unemployed and having two nieces I love deeply,” Bacon said. “The idea came while exploring one of my favorite spots, the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.” 

Reflecting on the wildfires that invaded the West and the people who were forced to leave their homes, Bacon planned her hike with a cause in mind.  

“We need immediate, systemic changes to move towards renewable energy, provide green jobs and prepare our communities for an increase in climate disasters,” Bacon said. “For those reasons I have chosen Sunrise Movement as the recipient of funds in support of a youth-led organization holding our leaders accountable and making serious strides for climate action.”  

Sunrise Movement has over 400 local hubs across the country, including one at UConn Storrs.  

“Many people have questioned this decision, equipped with lists of why now is not a good time — including the fact that it is winter, we are experiencing a pandemic and the political unrest that is evident across the country,” Bacon said. “To this, I respond that life happens and that if I don’t walk now, I’ll never do it… there are always a million reasons not to do something, and if you let those reasons creep into your mind they will change your heart.”  

The youth movement aims to stop climate change and create jobs in the process.  

“We’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executive on our politics and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people,” according to the Sunrise Movement website.   

Bacon said she feels lucky to have circumstances that allow her to take the time and make this hike across the country. 

“I continue to think about my circumstances that have allowed for this walk — I have no children, I am unemployed due to COVID and lucky to have a small amount saved for the journey, and I walk this earth in white skin that allows me to feel safe in most places,” Bacon said. “I understand that planning for and completing such an adventure is a privilege, and I will do my best to carry it respectfully.”  

As of Bacon’s most recent blog post on Feb. 3, she is trekking through New Mexico, and recently passed by the world’s largest pistachio.  

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