No Impact Man: The Documentary. Abandoning Consumption, this NY Family Lives a Year Without Harming the Environment

“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

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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

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Columbia Sportswear Men’s Ravenous Trail Running Shoes: Gear Review

[“Reviewing the Stuff Columbia Sent Over” series: Click here to read more.]

It’s Spring again and I’ve finally had a chance to take my Columbia Ravenous trail runners outside.  I’ve worn these shoes on road and light trail runs and on a treadmill in the winter.  I definitely recommend these running shoes and give them an overall rating of 4.5/5 – see my review below:

Look:  The design is okay.  It’s sleek and simple, but some of the graphics are off.  There are four color combos to choose from, which you can check out here3/5

Weight:  I was pleasantly surprised when I put these on my feet for the first time.  Cross trainers and trail running shoes can be a bit heavy and bulky, but the Ravenous, at 12 oz, have the weight of a typical running shoe.  5/5

Feel:  The padding on the heel is very soft, which I prefer.  It’s cushy and molds quickly to your feet, and provides excellent support when you’re running.  Plenty of room for the toes.  True to size.  Feels great on your first wear!  5/5

Breathability:  The shoe is mostly composed of mesh fabric, which provides excellent ventilation for your feet.  4/5

Overall:  I’m very impressed with Columbia’s Ravenous Trail Running Shoes.  I’ve worn them on roads, light trails and treadmills alike.  They are comfortable and light; they provide excellent heel support; and they keep your feet ventilated and dry.  I highly recommend these Trail Runners.  4.5/5

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How to Get More Views on YouTube – Some Quick Tips on How to Make the Most of Your Online Video

Sure, I know how to post a Facebook status, send a tweet @IGORoamnreport #hesreallycoolyoushouldfollowhim or upload a video.  But believe it or not, actual strategies exist that can benefit your social media outreach.

Two weeks ago I tuned into a webinar sponsored by The Integrated Media Association (iMA) and National Center for Media Engagement (NCME) called Tips, Tricks, and Tactics to Make the Most of Your Online Video.  The presenters were Kevin Dando, Director of Digital Marketing and Communications at PBS and Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder of SEO-PR, an Internet marketing consulting firm.  These guys are legit, so let’s get to the nuts and bolts of what I learned about bringing more traffic to your YouTube video.

Background on YouTube

More video content is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than all 3 major U.S. networks have created in 60 years.  Only 10% of these videos get more than 1500 views in the first month and only 3% get more than 25,000.  How can YOU get more hits?  The first step is to know how to take advantage of Continue reading

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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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