“What if we called it the year I lost 20 pounds without going to the gym once? Or the year we didn’t watch TV and became much better parents as a result? Or the year we ate locally and seasonally and it ended up reversing my wife’s pre-diabetic condition?” -Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man
No Impact Man came out in 2009. It’s a fascinating, multifaceted story. Simply put, a man goes on a mission to see what it’s like to live a whole year without any negative impact on the environment. In the middle of New York City, Colin Beavan experiments with a zero carbon footprint lifestyle, stringing along his wife and young daughter. They give up driving, eating out, toilet paper, Pampers, coffee, plastic anything, etc. As a family, they struggle and they fight, but they are ultimately brought closer together. I finally got to watch No Impact Man last night (it streams on Netflix, fyi).
The root of No Impact Man is the journey of a family that tries to live a zero-impact lifestyle in our consumer world. They give up air travel and driving, they compost and practice zero waste, they only eat local food grown within 250 miles, and they live without electricity for six months (minus one solar panel that power’s Beavan’s laptop). But the conflicts behind No Impact Man run much deeper then a green lifestyle Continue reading
Bill McKibben. If you haven’t heard of him you should familiarize yourself immediately. McKibben is an environmentalist, a writer, and a legend. He’s a New York Times best selling author and founder of 350.org, a world climate movement that spawned the largest ever unified global rally on October 24, 2009. His latest book is called “Eaarth” and it will probably make your head explode.
McKibben's book, "Eaarth"
Last week I got to see McKibben live in action in Boston, speaking about climate change (aka humanity’s biggest FAIL ). It was a fantastic talk (nerd-alert side note: I got to meet him and he signed my copy of “Eaarth!”) Anyway, to those who have already embraced the biggest problem affecting humanity today, the talk was a refreshing bit of truth. To those who aren’t as familiar with the current climate situation, well, you probably left the event feeling just a bit queasy and unsettled.
I’d like to summarize his words by going back in time. Since the last ice age, for the past 10,000 years, life on earth has existed within a constant and predictable climate. Our plants, with many years of evolution and adaptation behind them, have become accustomed to growing at the same temperate throughout that time. That’s 10,000 years, same temperature. Over the past 100 years, temperatures across the world have gone up by 1 degree. Now, off-hand that number may not seem a like a lot, but if you do the math and understand that evolution is a slow process, then 1 degree in a hundred years is quite a spike. And it’s only a fraction of what’s to come, when scientists today predict that temperatures will rise Continue reading
As we move into an era where peak oil production is behind us, we need to focus our efforts on developing new energy resources. We can’t afford to stand by and allow dirtier, more expensive, and less efficient tar sand oil become the energy that drives our nation. What is tar sand oil?
[Rewind: How Climate Change is Fueling the Need to End Our Fossil Fuel Addiction]
Tar sand oil is harvested in Alberta, Canada. Thousands of acres of pristine, ancient forest are clear cut (see picture below) so refineries have access to the soil. The soil, called tar sand, contains a small amount of oil that can be harvested through chemical processes. Comparing input energy (the energy required to set up refineries, transport crews and supplies, and power the chemical reactions) versus the energy yield, tar sand oil production is one of the least efficient methods of harvesting oil. In fact, oil companies have only started harvesting tar sands quite recently, as we run out of options to satiate our oil addiction.
Tar Sand Oil Production: Before and After
In production, tar sand oil is inefficient; in transportation, it is very dangerous. Continue reading
When I looked through some stock footage of Jamaica Pond today, I had a moment. A moment of inspiration. Here I was, with all this beautiful, unused video footage of the Pond. I had to get it out to the masses! In case you’ve never heard of it, Jamaica Pond is Boston’s best kept secret. It makes you feel like you’re in the heart of Maine without leaving the premises of a bustling metropolis. Check this video out, a collection of stunning high definition shots filmed in the Fall at the Pond, set to some music by Future Islands.
The Final Mini-Doc in the Six Part Series!
The past two weeks have been amazing and equally as hectic. On November 3rd, my full 23-minute “Stories from the Emerald Necklace” documentary was finally premiered at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s annual meeting. I was told it was met with gasps, sighs, laughter, and applause. I have no personal recollections of this since I was transformed into a zombie-like state as soon as the screening started – unable to comprehend my surroundings, out of tune with the movie, and generally perplexed and stupefied that the big moment had finally arrived. Nevertheless, I was assured by those attending that they liked it very much. In the middle of all this commotion, I have worked as a Production Assistant on a feature film over the past two weeks – 12 hour days and little sleep. More juice on that experience here. Let’s get to my last “Story.” Roger Gottlieb, a master storyteller and author of A Spirituality of Resistance: Finding a Peaceful Heart and Protecting the Earth, recounts a time when city dwellers had to unite to save the west bank of Boston’s best kept secret, Jamaica Pond, from apartment developments. Roger is a fascinating individual and I hope you enjoy his story.
Only on YouTube: My extended interview with Roger.
See last week’s premiere here – Restoration and Revival of the Muddy River
The Fifth Short Documentary in the Six Part Series!
On November 3rd, in three days, I will be premiering the full, twenty-three minute masterpiece that combines all six “Stories” documentaries into one film at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Annual Meeting. I can’t tell whether I’m more excited or nervous as I look ahead to 200+ pairs of eyes viewing my work. I’m fairly certain the masses are gonna like it though and I’m crossing my fingers that another project will present itself out of this showing. In the meantime, enjoy another installment of the “Stories Project.” Bob Nesson, documentary film maker and producer of “The Muddy River Chronicles” recalls a lifelong connection to Boston’s Muddy River. From memories of a dirty and ignored waterway in the 1970s to today’s Riverway restoration and revival, Bob provides insight into the history of the Muddy River and how he was inspired to make the “Muddy River Chronicles” in an effort to build awareness of this part of the Emerald Necklace.
See last week’s premiere here – Nora Lutz and the Pond Jam
A First Look at the Second Release of a Six Part Series!
Every summer, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy employs urban youth to help with park maintenance and restoration via the Green Team Youth Program. Through the Stories Project, I was fortunate enough to visit with a few of the Green Teamers this summer. After spending lunch with them, chatting with them for a few hours and hearing out their personal stories, I left with a feeling of how powerful such an experience can be in a “city kid’s” life. See for yourself – watch “Mad Mike” Michael O’Sullivan, “B-Doggie” Bradley Ortiz, and Josie Bergersen-Lewis recount how their summer with the Green Team has helped them meet new people, form new friendships, expose them to exciting outdoor adventures, and build character and work ethic.
See last week’s premiere here – Marylin Rodriguez and the Franklin Park Hispanic Baseball League