What I Learned About Climate Change from Bill McKibben – We Have Reached the Tipping Point

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

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“Desireless” – A Song Inspired by Self-Actualization (and Buddhism)

Over the past few months I’ve been ingrained in an almost trance-like psychoanalytical state in an effort to find personal answers and improve as an individual.  I’ve ventured on a type of soul quest that has taken me farther than I ever imagined.  I’ve traveled to personal depths I never thought accessible.  For the first time in my life I’ve been able to fill in the missing pieces.  I’ve found answers to questions such as “Why am I who I am?” – “What are my faults and where do they stem from?” – “How do I find self-fulfillment?” – “What is success?” and so on.  This ride has been nothing short of amazing; I’ve been extremely fortunate to take part in an introspective journey that has changed the way I view myself and the world, for the better.  It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

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“Desireless” – By Igor Kharitonenkov

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It was only last week that I perhaps had one of my biggest mental breakthroughs throughout this process.  I was having a conversation with a friend and he shared a simple tip with me.  It turned out to be some of the best advice I had yet received; it tied everything that I had learned over the course of the past few months together.  It also inspired me to write this song, “Desireless.”  He told me that in any situation in life, Continue reading

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The Goods: “Olympic Dreams” Contest Video Lands a Sponsorship from Columbia!

Back in January, I entered Backpacker Magazine’s Field Scout Contest with a video called “Olympic Dreams.” (Watch the video below) My video entry portrayed friend and hiking extraordinaire Greg Soster and myself as “two men sharing one dream – an Olympic Dream.”  We desperately wanted to be selected by Backpacker because the winners would be outfitted and sent on a paid week-long trek anywhere in the lower 48 states.  In our case, we had our sights set on Olympic National Park, a diverse and scenic park on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  We sent in the video and I crossed my fingers, hoping the editors of Backpacker Magazine would make our Olympic Dreams come true.

"Olympic Dreams" Loot. See Below for Description.

After officially submitting the video, we sent it out to friends and family, spread the word through Facebook, and posted it here on IGORoamandreport.   It got a lot of views and a lot of love – thanks everyone!  The video was also sent along to Columbia Sportswear through one of Greg’s connections.  The folks at Columbia headquarters got a peek and loved it!  They told us they were interested in sponsoring us and would get back to us soon.  For realz???  Although we had no idea what that meant, we were damn excited about this! Continue reading

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We Can’t Let Tar Sands Destroy Our Land and Drinking Water

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?

[RewindHow 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

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Out With the Old, In With the New: Making Positive Personal Changes

Life is a circle that leads us through light and darkness; happiness and sadness.  But at any given moment, some are happier than others.  Why is that so?  Does the circle spin at random?  Or are we ultimately in control of it?

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“It’s Gonna Be Okay” by Igor Kharitonenkov

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There are times in life when we are presented with forks in the road that will drastically alter the course of our journey.  Maybe we feel the need to change our career path; maybe we’ve been diagnosed with illness and need to change our diet and exercise; maybe our marriage is falling apart; maybe we became dependent on substances and need to clean up; ultimately, we discover faulty personal characteristics and need to change the way we look at ourselves and the world.

As fate will have it, sometimes these forks appear suddenly and out of nowhere, surprising us.  At other times they have been with us all along but we chose to actively ignore them, content with the way we were, until now.  Either way, the crossroads eventually dawn upon us and we are left with only two options: Continue reading

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Olympic Dreams – My Video Entry for Backpacker Magazine’s Field Scout Contest

“Backpacker Magazine is hosting a video contest to send someone on a paid week-long trek to any destination in the lower 48 states?”

Sign me up!  I first heard about this contest back in November from my friend and hiking buddy Greg Soster, a self-made mountain-man who has climbed over forty 4,000 foot peaks in the White Mountains (NH) in the past year alone.  It took Greg and I all of two seconds to decide that we should enter; both our resumes are overflowing with epic outdoor experiences that span the forests, rivers, deserts and mountains of three continents.  Greg and I both enjoy savoring the memories of our trips with stunning photography.  I also seek the intense meditative qualities of outdoor adventures that seem to clear my head and provide personal inspiration for stories, reflections, and videos (which can be found right here on IGORoamandreport).  To put it simply, Greg and I are the dream team for Backpacker Magazine’s Field Scout Contest.

It was a cold and rainy December night when I packed up my camera equipment and hopped on a bus to see Greg in Littleton, New Hampshire, a quiet town on Continue reading

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What Dreaming Feels Like

I’m a grain of sand on a vast and crowded beach.  You walk around and you step on me.  You don’t feel me.  I’m nothing to you.  I go unnoticed for years.  When the tide takes me in and carries me away, you won’t see me.  You won’t hear me.  But one day, when I’m swept away into the vast ocean and I land on a pearl, you’ll want me.  You won’t know the amount of times I’ve been buried deep in the sand and forgotten.  You won’t know the currents I’ve endured at sea or the miles I’ve traveled.  But when I’m on my pearl you’ll want me, but you won’t have me.

Somewhere between dreams and reality

Creative souls are tortured.  We have dreams and we are bold; we are imaginative and insightful.  Yet the shackles of our social prison bear heavily on us.  We are forced to sacrifice any sense of stability for our vision.  We travel down unpaved roads.  Continue reading

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Every Beginning Has an End, But Every End is the Start of a New Beginning: 2010 in a Nutshell.

It’s been one hell of a year: I quit my PhD program. I founded IGORoamandreport. I had my car stolen. I made a documentary. I suffered unemployment for three months.  I worked on a movie set.  I went broke.

Yes, 2010 has been a wacky year filled with dramatic personal highs and unspeakable lows. Leaving graduate school, I was thrilled about breaking the chains of an unhappy future and jumping head-first into unknown waters.  At times, however, I’ve felt lost and alone on my journey. At other times I’ve celebrated incredible breakthroughs.

Drawing by Katie Beck

For good or bad, I feel as if 2010 was a year in which adult life decided to beat me over the head with a shovel on more than one occasion. It was a year in which the comfortable routine of 17 years of schooling disappeared to reveal the inner me, a kid in his early twenties, stripped naked and trying to make sense of the greater world around him.  Continue reading

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A Very Special Happy Birthday!

Music has always been a big part of my life. I’ve played the guitar for many years now and writing music and lyrics has always been a creative outlet for me. My girlfriend of the past three years has also been a very big part of my life. Combining those two loves, I decided to pen a song for her birthday this year. Happy Birthday sweetie! Thank you for all your love and support! I love you.

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Jamaica Pond in the Fall

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.

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