Maggie’s Manifestation: A story of a girl, her bike, and a mission to save the world!
The following is an epic tale about a courageous young woman who decided to venture across the nation from Rhode Island to San Francisco with nothing but her bike, the RAA Earth Flag, and a mission to understand the current state of recycling and help spread the mission of recycling right to all she met.
Maggie started her journey in her home state of Rhode Island (coincidentally also the first state in the U.S. to rollout the standardized labels statewide!) making her way for 10 weeks across 15 states to her final destination: San Francisco, California.
Where did this crazy idea begin? “At first I really wanted to make my way to the West Coast and complete the tour, and then I started searching for the best way to tell the story of my mission when I did meet people across the journey.” says Maggie. “I reached out to some wellness brands but then I realized that RAA was doing great things with the program to donate standardized labels for recycling bins to schools to help students begin to recycle properly and help schools save trash hauling fees.” Maggie was excited to see what was really going on across the U.S. and find out from the people she met what their decision making processes regarding recycling were and what would trigger them to recycle right or rethink their purchases with recyclability in mind.
Along the way she passed out sustainable tips and motivators written on recycled cardboard, and she helped families start backyard composts. She documented all her findings and began a Facebook page called Cycle for One Planet with pictures and messages from the road. But most of all, Maggie says, “I focused on kindness and love for the Earth around me. It was the most wonderful and hopeful experience I have ever had.” Her goal is to have Cycle for One Planet become an annual ride so that more cyclists can join and more routes can be planned.
As you can imagine, Maggie came across many different types of people from all walks of life during her time on the road. When asked about the types of people she met, she told me a story about one woman in particular who gave her a greater sense of hope for the U.S. Maggie explained, “There was this one lady in Oklahoma City who biked around town with me and invited me back to her place. We were talking about reusing materials and what we thought about different habits, and she showed me her compost in her garden; it really stuck with me because she was so kind and helpful. She posted about my trip on Facebook and my story actually reached a family at my next destination who offered to host me the next night. After accepting me with open arms they actually began hosting other cyclists and have shared their stories along the way,”. Maggie notes that there were a lot of people who were willing to change their habits but they just needed that push and wanted it to be super easy. “I think we all need that,” Maggie added.
When asked about her hardest day on the road, Maggie still seemed to find the silver lining. She explains, “It was my first century day (>100 miles) and I went through a thunderstorm in the morning and then stopped at a lake for a midday swim, but this meant I would be riding through the hottest part of the day later. There was a lot of flat land ahead of me and the temperatures were in the high degrees. There was, however, an amazing memorial about 10 miles out of Amarillo with a peace garden and words from all faiths.”
So where does Recycle Across America fit into the picture? When Maggie came to Recycle Across America we were thrilled to provide her with the RAA Earth flag and a let’s recycle right! t-shirt. We also followed her journey on social media. Unbeknownst to RAA, Maggie decided to raise money for K-12 schools and on her own raised $1,350.00! These funds helped three K-12 schools along her route implement the standardized labels for their recycling bins!
Because of this amazing act of love and because of her inspirational drive to complete such a ride with such a mission, RAA has awarded her with the 2017 Citizen's Unicorn Award! Her acts of selflessness and willingness to teach others is a testament not only to who is she is as a person but also who she is as a citizen of the Earth.
Maggie surely learned more than one can imagine on her journey but when I asked her what the one major takeaway would be from her experience she said this: “I can do that in one word - manifestation. Good thoughts can lead you a long way. This means remaining true to yourself in all situations and honing on your instincts. I believe we will create a more sustainable world - so be it.”
Maggie’s journey serves as an inspiration to anyone who is hungry to find their passion and make a positive change in the world. Her story ignites a flame of hope for the future and reminds all generations that it is never too late to start making a more positive impact on the world - locally and globally. We’re so proud to honor Maggie as an everyday hero and we hope she inspires you to be an everyday hero, too.
A little more about Maggie: Maggie Sheerin grew up in Rhode Island playing sports and spending most of her time on the water. Her father, a marathoner and triathlete, began a community outreach program with some friends called Aquidneck Island Outreach. AIO is a non-profit organization hosting water sport events to promote positive health and well-being to all, young and old. Her mother is an inspiration for Maggie because she has always played a strong role in her community. She collects water samples for local Clean Ocean Access research, among many other tasks. The ocean plays a huge role in Maggie’s life, especially in realizing human impact on our planet. She has always recycled, but the realization that it isn’t easy for everyone and the enormity of our footprint on Earth did not strike her until college. She earned a degree in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Hospitality and Tourism Management at College of Charleston, South Carolina and concentrated on Sustainable Tourism at an abroad program with University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Now working in revenue management for a global hotel company, she is questioning how much North America corporations and industries can improve decisions to consider the bigger picture, our home, Earth.