From Rwanda to South Africa via Kenya and Uganda, French environmental activist Alizée Mabilon will cycle around Africa from Toulouse between April and September 2023. The 10,000-kilometre journey aims to raise awareness of the effects of climate change among local populations.
It’s a crazy adventure. From the city of Toulouse, where she has been campaigning for environmental protection for a number of years, Frenchwoman Alizée Mabilon will set off on a tour of Africa on her bicycle. The departure, scheduled for 15 April 2023, will take her to 11 countries on the continent affected by floods or prolonged droughts. These include Ethiopia and South Africa.
These two countries are frequently affected by extreme heat, which has a negative impact on agricultural yields. In this context, the sporting challenge launched by this lawyer by training aims to raise awareness among African populations of the effects of climate change on their way of life and the urgency of accelerating the ecological transition on the continent.
Thus, Alizée Mabilon, 26, will have to travel 10,000 kilometres over six months. “This idea was born in September 2022 after a trip to Vietnam during which I was very concerned about the pollution and the mass of people who travelled by bike. This trip to Africa should help change the image we have of the continent, which unfortunately is not talked about much in the international media”, explains the woman from Toulouse, who is also president of Riding 4 Climate Change.
Promoting sustainable development
The association, based in south-west France, will also finance a project to transform air into drinking water in Kigali, Rwanda, thanks to a fund-raising campaign worth 30 000 euros. Other local initiatives to be supported by Riding 4 Climate Change include the My Tree Initiative start-up based in Kampala, Uganda. The start-up plans to plant around 1 million trees by the end of 2023 as the East African country is increasingly affected by deforestation. There is also the Kenyan association “Watamu” which cleans the beaches around the eponymous national park polluted by plastic waste.
The choice of a bicycle for Alizée Mabilon’s journey is not insignificant. According to climate specialists, using this ecological mode of transport reduces traffic jams, the distance to work and the carbon footprint. This is why the Tunisian authorities launched a call for projects in 2022 to install new bicycle stations in the cities of Mahdia and Kairouan, not far from the capital Tunis. This initiative is supported by the French city of Strasbourg and the Cooperation for the Development and Improvement of Urban and Peri-urban Transport (CODATU), a French-based organisation.