Mark Baumer, 33, was attempting to walk across the United States barefoot in an attempt to bring awareness to climate change. Baumer planned to walk from Rhode Island to California wearing no shoes. However, due to poor weather in Ohio, his plans were changed and the activist took a bus to Florida where he planned to finish his trek across the south. Unfortunately, on his 101st day of his journey, Baumer was hit and killed by an SUV while walking along the side of the road.
The Daily Mail reports that 33-year-old environmental activist Mark Baumer was killed while making a trek across the United States barefoot. Baumer created his campaign “crossing America barefoot to save the earth from climate change” in the hopes of raising $10,000 for The FANG Collective, an organization in Rhode Island fighting against the construction of a power plant and liquid natural gas facility in the area.
This wasn’t the first time that Baumer had made a trek across America by foot; however, his first trek was done with shoes. Baumer had previously completed the trek across America in just 81 days while wearing shoes and wrote a book called “I am a Road” that detailed his experiences. This time, Baumer wanted to walk for a cause and make a larger statement so decided to forgo the shoes.
In an interview with Vice, Mark noted that walking barefoot wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be and that his feet were doing “just fine.” However, he did note that he struggled to have a space on the road as a pedestrian. In a somewhat foreboding interview, Mark notes that despite laws noting that pedestrians must stay on the other side of the white line when walking on the road, he does not obey that regulation because the white line is the smoothest part to walk on when barefoot.
“I’m constantly fighting for my space in the road. Technically, in Pennsylvania, you’re not allowed to go over the white line as a pedestrian, but the white line is the best place to walk barefoot because it’s smoothest and there aren’t as many pebbles.”
Mark reveals that many people thought he was mental or concerned about his well-being after seeing him walk barefoot. He noted that he would have three bags of shoes if he took all the shoes offered to him on the journey. He also pointed out that many questioned the safety of what he was doing as the road could be dangerous for a pedestrian.
It seems the concerns were well-founded as yesterday the activist was struck and killed by an SUV while walking barefoot along his white line. The last post by Mark Baumer to his blog featuring an image of the road with the word “killed” spray painted across it. While Baumer had no way of knowing at the time that the message would ring all too clear in the coming hours.
Following Mark’s passing, many friends and activists praised him for his efforts to bring awareness to climate change and more donations poured into his YouCaring page. Baumer’s goal of raising $10,000 has now not only been met, but surpassed by $3,000.
Many wondered how the poet and activist was able to fund the journey, Baumer revealed in an earlier blog post that it was a $5,000 poetry fellowship through the state of Rhode Island that provided funding for his trip. Baumer frequently wrote poetry on his blog and was likely using the experience as part of the fellowship.
There is no indication if the driver of the SUV will face charges for the death.
[Featured Image by Mark Baumer/Instagram]