Trailer: Adaptive Earth thefilm

Hey everyone! The trailer for the Adaptive Earth film is finally up on the interwebzzz.

Check it out!

Posted in Activism, Adventure, Climate Change, Documentary Film, Education, International Travel, Photography, Sustainability | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

One More for the Road

By this time next week I’ll be back in America.

I’m so ecstatic to see my family and the best puppers dog in all the land! Too bad I can’t put this place in my pocket on my way out.

I want to take the lava. and the moss. and the birds. and the glaciers. and the grand expanse of schizophrenic sky that at any given moment might open up and pummel me with hail while in a hair’s breath be ready to kiss my cheeks with the soft springtime sun. even the smell of sulfur permeating the air. it reminds me of Earth’s gurgling underbelly. I want it.

Most of all though: the quiet.

I came here to learn about climate change and sustainability, and I did. I really did. But without bargaining for it I also reconnected with the Earth.

I expected when it was time to climb back onto that plane headed for home to feel nostalgic for the people here who became a temporary family I could rely on, laugh with, cry with, and cook with. But I never expected my cheeks to meet the tears they did last night for the relationship I fear losing with my Mother Earth.

The idea of traffic and noise is scary. I dig the sound of birds and wind.

I think the leaders of every country still perpetuating an “all of the above” energy policy ought to be forced to come to this place where the glories of Earth still poke out on every corner.

I imagine a part of me will probably always reside in this beautiful slice of wild, longing for the calm that comes with living on an island home to just over 300,000 people, most of whom live in the capital city.

With all this said though, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t another part of me that is insatiably excited to get on that plane.

I can’t wait to put my feet on the ground at home so I can try out my new-found knowledge in familiar settings, to start new sustainable projects, to build up renewed communities with neighbors and friends, and on a personal level, to strut around a more confident me than I’ve ever been.

My husband practically pushed me out the door to make me do this. After a long history of living in poverty, chewing on government cheese, wondering if I’d ever get out of the homeless shelter I was living in years ago, this world I’m in now is more than foreign, it’s alien. It took almost until I was leaving to feel like it was even real.

He wanted me to have this for me and he made sure I went after it. That I knew I was supported. That I come and learn as much as I could to bring home something of value we can both use to try and make a better world for our children.

Couldn’t have dreamed up a better partner in life.

And as if that wasn’t enough, besides him, numerous others offered support along the way by either relentlessly encouraging me, writing me letters of recommendation, or by reaching deep into their pockets to help me make this project a reality.

I am the luckiest person I know.

Looking forward to getting home to my comfy bed and my film editing software – it’s going to be an epic summer.

I’ll miss the shit out of Iceland because it stole my heart in every way it’s possible to do so, but man, though this may sound corny as a tortilla, it gave it back fuller and more ready to try and push for a better world than I ever thought possible.

So, signing off for now…but keep an eye out because I’ll be back in film form before you know it!

And of course, as always, smile BIG and stay green, folks!

Glacier

They say they were there,

Giant time crystals, ticking,

Before the sea rose.

~Brittany Longhetano~

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Posted in Adventure, Climate Change, Community, Ecological Parenting, Education, International Travel, Photography, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Taters and Beauty

The world is fucking beautiful.

Please excuse me for saying so, but look at it:

IMG_20140403_120323_534(Lava field in the heart of Snæfellsnes – unedited – no filters – click to enlarge)

Nine weeks ago I had stars in my eyes. I knew I was boarding a plane bound for beauty, my intentions bloated with all the love and worry I have for my children and the world they are inheriting.

I slung my video camera over my shoulder, packed my motivation, and made my way to another corner of the Earth to look for the missing link to solving the climate change crisis.

I found something different though.

I found the person I want to be. Sounds kind of lame, no?

I don’t care. It is what it is. I like who I’m becoming and what I’ve learned here has found the most pointed focus on how I can change.

I have no plans to slow down my efforts in trying to find solutions as I scoot along in life, but the thing I keep coming back to week after week here is that the solutions weren’t an ocean away – they are with me wherever I am in my own actions and in my own community.

I’m done trying to do it on my own. And thinking I can.

And I’m excited about it.

When I get home I’m planning a good old fashioned work party. I want to build a root cellar so I can preserve what I grow in my garden this year and drive to the store less – since community is the stickiest word I’ve found here, I’m going to invite my neighbors and others I know as well.

Of course, that means you – please come to my root cellar party…

I’ll give you a potato. And beer.

And of course, if my ‘taters and beer aren’t enough incentive for you to want to help me dig a hole to cut my carbon foot print, then how about this?

Our world is magnificent-

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Every single week I’ve been here I’ve been reminded of this fact and found a reason to cry about it.

If you too find  a weepy appreciation and want to do something in addition to coming to my party (which I know you want to do more than anything in the whole world), then check out this article about some really simple and effective ways you can make an impact: 10 Little and Big Things You Can Do (it’s a great article!)

Hope the week treats you well, friends! Smile BIG, and stay green!

 

Posted in Adventure, Climate Change, Community, Ecological Parenting, International Travel, Photography, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

IPCC: Talk Me Down or Wind Me Up

I’m on a very limited time budget this week, so I’m going to try and keep this short if possible – I wish I could say sweet as well, but I think I might be lying if I did.

As it were, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just put out the 2nd part of their newest findings, and to say they were a bit unsettling would be putting it mildly.

According to the chairman of the panel, Rajendra K. Pachauri, “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”

For those who don’t know what the IPCC is and does, they are an international body of scientists tasked with assessing and reporting out on the current science research regarding climate change. These assessments are authored by hundreds of scientists from around the globe and include info on impacts, future risks, and best possible options of adaptation and mitigation.

They do this work without pay to inform policy makers world wide.

This most recent publication was particularly timely for me because over the weekend I got a chance to visit the Sólheimajökull Glacier, which is not only strikingly beautiful, but also frighteningly visual in terms of giving a stark example of how quickly our planet is, indeed, warming up.

Exhibit A:

(Note the lake forming at the foot of the glacier that was not so long ago glacier instead of forming lake)

forming lake solheimjokallExhibit B:

(Take a peek at the sign in front of the glacier – this is where the foot of the glacier was October of 2010)

IMG_1994

I’ve been doing my best to be solutions oriented with this blog since starting it. I’ve been using it as a catalyst to try and introduce readers to cool, far off places, and to offer treats and tid-bits about how to tread lighter on Mother Earth.

I’ve purposely shied away from being a doom-sayer when possible and to keep these posts focused on the positive.

I’m breaking ranks with this post though, because while I usually leave it to others to create a sense of urgency, I can’t help but feel an astoundingly urgent need for change after digesting some of the information coming out of this most recent IPCC assessment.

I don’t want to be alone in this feeling.

This report is being called the most sobering yet and details the ways in which people will begin to endure widespread poverty, increased food insecurity, increased pestilence and warfare, and all before the turn of the next century.

So, what can we do?

Normally, I’d take this moment to throw out some spiffy new trick of the sustainable trade I’d learned over the week, but I think this week, I’m gonna let it hang and throw it back to you.

Any thoughts?

I have plenty, but I would really appreciate hearing from the people taking the time to click on this blog and read it. Obviously you give a crap, otherwise you wouldn’t be listening to me yammer on – so please, help me get creative! or logical! or more efficient! or thoughtful if what you have to share is your philosophy on all this!

It seems often that it’s in the gravest hours we find the strongest ties of community strength and innovation.

I’m really interested in what others think and feel here.

The New York Times was kind in reminding us that though this assessment might be severe, “…growing evidence [suggests] that governments and businesses around the world are starting extensive plans to adapt to climate disruptions.”

I may feel urgent, but I’m optimistic too.

I was going to flood you with beautiful images from some of my trips out and about this week, but instead, in light of this newest report, I think I’m going to leave you with the video below and a renewed request that you take a quick moment to either talk me down, or in kindred spirit, wind me up even further.

What do you think? Do we still have time to mitigate the problem, or should we start plowing into the efforts of adaptation?

Posted in Climate Change, Education, International Travel, Photography, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hey, Doritos!

“Hey, Doritos! Why you not eating meat today?!”

These words, lobbed in my direction daily by one of the Sólheimar natives every time I step foot in our shared cafeteria, rank as one of the indubitable highlights of my every lunch hour.

Earning the nickname ‘Doritos’ because I was once caught here trotting down the road with shame in my eyes, crumpled bag in fist sparks a grin far too wide to wipe away.

I’m tickled by wisenheimers. They are by far a breed of people who earn the utmost of my respect.

This camaraderie I’m finding with the people who live here is comforting – it’s also a fantastic underscore to what we’ve been learning this week about the importance of community building.

I work at home regularly with a dedicated grassroots direct action group (350 Maine) that aims to consistently raise awareness about climate change issues. One of the initial and most widely used tactics of this group when launching a campaign always involves some form of community building (going door to door in small neighborhoods, engaging people at public events, leafleting passersby in local parks, etc).

This type of action always felt slightly awkward for me and even possibly, I dare say, of little use. After day-in, day-out community building with the people of this village, however, along with nightly bonding dinner conversation with my fellow CELLmates, the likes of which is brought on by an intentional ice-breaking question and followed up by belly laughter and the occasional vulnerability of tear stained cheeks, I’m beginning to feel differently.

Something I’m coming to realize is that building community, especially when trying to bolster a meaningful campaign, isn’t just about getting an extra set of hands on deck, it’s about getting a set you can trust.

It’s about earning the trust of your neighbors and finding people to laugh and celebrate victories with. This is what will create change.

Without collective pressure for system change things will remain the same. I get it.

This week our lessons significantly leaned on the idea of community building as a means to sustainable living. To accentuate how this works our instructors piled us into the van and carted us from one farm to another to meet with and pick the brains of the people supplying some of the food goods both to this village and to nearby communities.

IMG_1792IMG_1844I now appreciate the cheese I’m eating here in a way I couldn’t completely connect with before. It may sound ‘cheezy’ (yuk yuk yuk), but getting to know my farmer is having a profound affect on how I view my food consumption.

This, of course, made me think about how easily I can bring this type of community building home. Educating myself on who farms what in my area will not only help me to make acquaintance with my food providers, it will also give me a chance to see how it’s all being done – that I will be granted better access to fresh, yummy vittles is a total bonus!

IMG_20140322_104439_720IMG_20140322_105424_965In my initial search into who does what and where in the world of local farming in my town at home, I found an excellent website that offers a nationwide directory of farmers markets. You ought to check it out if you’re into that kinda thing: National Farmers Market Directory

And as far as community building goes, consider this: when I was a kid (probably when you were too) and mom ran out of sugar, she went to the neighbor’s house and knocked on the door; she didn’t get in the car and carbon footprint her way to the store to get some.

Community: it rules.

Stay green friends! And until next time get some sugar from your neighbor! :)

And of course, enjoy some perty pics of this week in Iceland:

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Prozac, Bacon, and Imagination

Gathering
Man’s primal instinct
was not the hunting instinct
in ancient times
before man had spears and weapons
he roamed the prairies
and he was gathering!
he was gathering roots
and he was gathering fruits
and eggs and nuts
and selfdead animals
I
the modern man
I can feel how the primal man breaks forth
when I race with the cart
and I gather and gather and gather…

~Andri Snær Magnason~

Time seems to be walking out the door before I can even try to catch it here. With half of my semester in Iceland already over I still can’t help but feel I’m continuing to climb my way through the novelty stages.

Despite this, however, today is mid-term assessments.

Pretty cool to look back and see that when I boarded that plane in Boston and told my husband I was saying goodbye to me too, it wasn’t just lip service.

I’m definitely a different person today.

For starters, I’ve become a full-blown vegetarian after more than three and a half decades of gleefully stuffing my pie hole with tacos, chicken fingers, and bacon wrapped scallops.

As a matter of fact, I was such a lover of bacon before coming on this trip that my bio site described me as a “lover of living and eater of bacon.”

I have since amended that description to say, “eater of chocolate.”

I started a month ago by cutting out all meat but chicken and fish, but then I found the wonderment and versatility of quinoa and decided to just go all the way. Since quinoa is a complex protein rich in nutrients I’m not left feeling hungry at the end of my meals like I used to be when attempting to go vegetarian by replacing my meats with veggies exclusively.

As a result of this choice, I’m thrilled to say another part of who I am that I’ve been able to wave goodbye to is nine pounds of my former self.

Getting out to hike more often I’m sure hasn’t hurt, but even without going on any major outings over the last few weeks I’m continuing to lose the weight.

So there’s all that…and then there’s the philosophical transformations:

I think my favorite so far was inspired by a meeting we had with one of Iceland’s most famous environmental activists and authors, Andri Snær Magnason.

During our meeting with him we got a chance to ask some questions and when it was my turn, I asked him what he’d say to a person working actively to improve their world who was beginning to feel jaded. His initial response was to suggest popping a few Prozac and carrying on but after the giggles subsided he suggested that our perceptions are our own choice.

The challenges we face in the world today can be looked at as daunting chores or they can be looked as opportunities for creativity and imagination: a chance to rebuild the world in our own vision.

I couldn’t be happier to have asked that question. Makes me feel good about carving out my own version of sustainability.

If you want to use yours to help build a greener world check out some really simple tips on living more sustainably by clicking here. I promise they’re all really simple!

To learn more about how you can use your vision to reduce climate changing carbon in the atmosphere by simple tweaks to your dietary choices (not all of which require eliminating meat), click here.

And to peek at a few pics of my experiences over the last week or two in this beautiful landscape enjoy this slideshow below, and as always, until next time, smile BIG!

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Posted in Activism, Adventure, Climate Change, Education, International Travel, Literature, Photography, Sustainability, Vegatarianism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Drop In the Ocean

As far as challenges go, this past week may have been the biggest I’ve faced since getting to Iceland. I touched lightly on homesickness in my last blog but since then that sickness figured out how to straight put me in a headlock and beat the tar out of me. This pummeling paired itself with a resounding feeling of inevitable inertia – a sneaky and awful sucker punch to my gut that tried to convince me this work might be futile.

I run with a circle of people in life who make the word ‘supportive’ seem entirely inadequate though, so by the end of the week I’m thrilled to say I felt more than back to fighting form. This is almost entirely a result of some of the generous words of encouragement thrown my way when I expressed my growing anxiety.

I felt so moved by many of the words shared I’m going to close this week’s blog with a random selection of some of the most impactful ones because they weren’t just supportive, they were motivational and full of truths.

Before I get to that though, I’d like to share a couple other quick agenda items: a few pictures from my time at the turf house farm, and then a link to something incredibly cool I learned about through a research project I’m doing this week.

So let’s start with the pics because they are a reflection of Icelandic culture easy to bring a smile:

The living roof on the farm’s chicken coop:

IMG_1264The moss soup I had for lunch. (Yes, moss):

IMG_1341The sweet crochet hook I whittled with me very own hands. **Perhaps one day I’ll learn how to use it while at the same time miraculously finding my fishlike memory enhanced so I can remember how to use it again the next day too:

IMG_1339WeeWo next to a picture of the woman who originally owned the bed I slept in. As the tale goes, this woman was born in the bed, gave birth to all 14 of her children in it, and then later died in it. Some people thought I was weird for wanting to sleep in it, but truth be told, I felt kind of honored to become part of such a rich history:

IMG_1316Artwork from an Icelandic native that left me with a gaping mouth and an inability to stop staring:

IMG_1349 IMG_1348And, of course, the view:

IMG_1243How I could become despondent or lose my sense of gratitude for being here is really an enigma – one soon cured by support and chocolate. =)

As for the cool research stuff – have you ever heard of a carbon offset?

I’d heard the term before beginning my research project but I never understood it wasn’t something entirely tied to business practices. It’s basically the idea that for whatever carbon footprint you can’t avoid making, you can try to offset its weight by helping fund projects that either sequester carbon like reforestation projects and emissions capture, or lessen our dependence on fuel and energy sources that are carbon intensive such as renewable energy projects or sustainable tool/housewares distribution.

You can buy offsets for as little as $5 in some instances, or you can use an online calculator to determine the value of your footprint for certain activities like air travel, or heating your home for the year. You can also just decide on a predetermined amount you’d like to spend.

You should check it out! If you don’t like the options on the website I linked to in the paragraphs above, check this list of vetted sites to find one you can jive with.

And now that I’ve written you a book, stay green until next time and enjoy the below list of awesome sauce encouragement:

“Any change no matter how miniscule or enormous is making a difference…”

“What seems like a detour or a mistake can take you to unexpected, important insights…”

“All any of us can do is keep movement going in the right direction…”

“It’s the whole which makes the difference and the whole wouldn’t be as effective without each and every one of us…”

“The work that serves life and serves earth is an act of pure faith. We can’t know or need to know how our part helps. We just have to do it faithfully.”

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

up4climate

Posted in Adventure, Climate Change, International Travel, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments