Acorn & Chestnut

Few people affect me more than the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir. Of these three I've been reading excerpts from Meditations of Henry David Thoreau: A Light in the Woods and I am constantly surprised at how relevant their words are to now. So much that it only furthers my belief that everything is connected, no matter who you are or what you believe.

On that note I bring to you Acorn & Chestnut by Thoreau, a meditation that especially stood out to me:

I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has multitude? They only can force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live? When I meet a government which says to me, "Your money or your life," why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait, and not know what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to it's nature, it dies; and so a man.

No Impact Challenge

Credit: D'Arcy Norman under the Creative Commons License
How does it seem that a year can go by in the blink of an eye; as just one tiny suspension of time? It really puts into perspective just how tiny we are in this universe, and yet our impact is huge. I recently watched No Impact Man, a story about Colin Beavan and his family's journey through a year of living with as little carbon footprint as possible. I was moved by his endeavor and the very real conflicts that arose throughout the year. Colin sought to cut down his family's impact through various means like making walking and cycling their only mode of transportation, vermicomposting, shopping at farmer's markets and even cutting the electricity. Sound unimaginable? Beavan and his wife were criticized numerously by many, including environmentalists because of their 'extremism.' Many thought that going no impact was unfeasible and just something else for stressed out American's to add to their plates. But what Beavan was looking for was could he go no impact but still be happy? What he found was that even living minimally, he and his family were happy and healthy.

With the rapidly approaching new year it got me thinking about my impact and my hopes and dreams for 2010 (call it a New Year's resolution if you will). If I could go full 'no impact' I would but alas my lifestyle is too non-permanent to make it so. But I would like to devote next year to lessening my impact on this lovely planet, as close to no impact as possible. In fact, many people have already started their lessening with experiments such as No Impact Week hosted by Playing largely off of Colin Beavan's story, Huffpost set out to help guide people through trying a no impact lifestyle. Though I do wish it were more open to those who can't make drastic changes like switching to non-carbon producing transportation, nevertheless, it is still a good insight into what 'no impact' is all about. It's not about buying the things we think make us happy or that we assume we need but about simplifying our lives and making the most important aspects of our lives -- family and friends -- a priority. And at the same time we're treating the planet with respect. Think of it as a golden rule between us and Mother Nature.

As a matter of fact the average American throws out about 4lbs of trash on a daily basis. We're the highest trash makers in the world. And half the crap isn't recycled, adding to the tons and tons of trash in our landfills.  Everything we do today will affect tomorrow, be it good or bad. This is a reminder we should carry with us on a daily basis. The good thing is that 4,000 people have participated in No Impact Week and who knows how many more were already doing it. The smallest change can and will make a big difference.

With the holidays upon us we should also remember to keep our Christmas impact to a minimum, even if it means no gift giving. I know, it sounds terrible right? But is that truly what makes Christmas so joyous? The presents? Maybe it's the food and the time spent with family. At least that's what Beavan believes. He recently wrote an article on just that, a low impact Christmas, for Yes! magazine. Imagine the stress and money that would be saved by adopting this type of  mentality. It shouldn't be so out of the ordinary to give gifts whenever we feel like it.

The decision to go "no impact" is life changing. One that many people are not willing to make, but sometimes doing is believing. And you never know; one spark could cause a domino effect of change. The question is: Are you willing to try it?

Just something to think about.

(update: I just found started by Colin Beavan. Check it out!)


Starfish and Sea monsters

I would embed the video if I could but the user disabled the code for this video. Nevertheless, here is the link to a BBC time-lapse video of some fantastic sea creatures and how they do things down under.

Check it out!


Check out the skill in this video Derek found.We collectively agreed that the people who created this are geniuses...

Atelic from duckeyejey on Vimeo.

I wasn't sure what Atelic meant until I googled it. It's basically a word that describes an action or event as being incomplete. Makes sense, no?

Teachin' for the Teach-in

I recently visited Gateway High School in Kissimmee, FL for a teach-in. It was a district-wide day for professionals and hobbyists to come in and teach the students about their art. I was invited by Derek's mom (who is a teacher at Gateway) to cover photography and blogging, two things they had somewhat covered in class. From the first invitation the opportunity sounded fun. But after a few days of thinking about it and reminiscing of past nerve-wracking school presentations I started to regret accepting. Suddenly the image of me sweating and trembling, tripping over my words or blanking out completely made me feel as if I were about to get on stage for a tap dancing performance. The accelerated heart beat, the shortness of breath, the butterflies in my stomach. Bad feelings. Of course none of my past experiences speaking in public were ever that bad. My 'memory' just serves as a way to justify those unsure feelings (a horrible habit of mine).

Anyway, weeks passed and the date crept closer. I almost told Derek's mom I couldn't accept but Derek wouldn't let me give in. He said I would be fine and I made him pinky swear that fact. And so the day arrived. Dawn appeared; we woke up earlier than usual, and disgruntled we drove to the school.  On a side note, you should know that I have the biggest fear of my dreaded "shaky voice" when I'm speaking. Ever since 7th grade when this kid asked the teacher if I was about to cry while I was giving my book report. Traumatic I tell you. And much to my dismay I heard the shakiness begin as I introduced myself to the class. Darn it! I wondered why I couldn't seem cool and collected like Derek. I felt unprepared and uncollected because of my nerves. But after a few minutes of talking to the kids, (and finding the comfort of computer desks proximity) I felt much more at ease and the shakiness soon disappeared (at least I think). And though I still felt nervous every time a new class came in, I was less stressed about it. In all honesty the students were really fun to talk to. It felt good to hear such positive reactions to my photos and Derek's videos and stories. In hindsight all of the stress I gave myself seemed unwarranted. Derek was right. What did I have to lose?

Nothing. If anything I gained a lot from it. And for that experience I have Beth (Derek's mom) to thank for thinking of me to come in. As well as Derek for not letting me chicken out. Derek and I took it upon ourselves to inspire the students to think for themselves and work for something they'd love to do forever. I never expected to be inspired in return. But that's what happened. I've got a new zest for my hobby-to-professional endeavors that has me thinking of all sorts of neat ideas that I can work on.

So thank you to Beth, and the three New Media classes we spoke to as well as the thoroughly outgoing IB class. I had a lot of fun.

Peace & Love

Face off with a leopard seal: an amazing National Geographic video

I found this video on YouTube as I was searching for moving photography videos. What I found was perfect. Check out the incredible situation this National Geographic photographer experiences when he comes face to face with a huge leopard seal.

Aren't those images amazing?? I can only imagine how moving an experience like this would be. Hell, it would be amazing just to visit Antarctica! For real.

I think if I ever encountered a leopard seal in the wild I would be much more terrified and hesitant than this guy. Just saying. Overall: amazing video. *dreamsofbeinganationalgeographicphotographer*

North Carolina Camping

Derek, Jeff and I (along with Remy and Kirra) just got back from an almost week in North Carolina where we did some mingling with old friends for Halloween and camping. We decided to camp out in various NC state parks before heading back to Florida. Let me just say that if camping was a full time job I'd be on that SO fast. This was my first camping trip and I can't ever imagine getting sick of such wonder and beauty. No matter how many deer I see (especially where I live) I'm always in awe at seeing such raw wildness wherever we go. The weather was a much desired break from the Florida heat. Temperatures lingered in the 50's and 60's and at night dropped to the 30's and 40's. Needless to say I woke up more than once during the night in an attempt to burrow more into my sleeping bag or convince Remy that he should curl up with me. After each day we learned more and more about what we need to do to keep warm/comfortable for future hikes. And with aspirations to hike the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail we need all the experience we can get…

Our first night was spent at Eno River State Park after a mad dash to pick up Remy and Kirra from boarding. A few complications caused us to get a late start but after things went wrong some other things went right and we took a moonlit (with the occasional aid of a flashlight) 1 mile hike to our site. We were the only ones in the park that night which felt awesome with a side of uncertainty (and maybe some creepiness?). I fell asleep early on while the guys attempted to start a fire. We left relatively fast the next morning after some tasty soup because Jeff still had goop (liquid latex) in his hair from Halloween and he required the aid of a barber. After another late start we headed west toward Stone Mountain State Park (STSP).  We then detoured to another park, Pilot Mountain State Park (PMSP) when it became apparent that we weren't going to make it before the gates closed. At this point I learned the difference between I-40 and I-40 BUS. To say the least we ended up driving a lot more than was needed much to my frustration. Fortunately though most parks allow you to self-register (for that I love them all the more) so it was alright when we showed up 10 minutes before the gates were set to close. We stayed at a campground at PMSP and there was only room for 1 tent so that night we all squeezed in together, Remy and Kirra included. It wasn't so bad…until Kirra decided a morning run was in order the next day. She darted out of the tent as I was getting out with Remy and took off without even a backwards glance. Earlier Derek had found Remy's backpack some feet away from our site. Something small (with 5 fingers I'm sure) ripped a tiny hole in the side which was just big enough to eat the remainder of Remy’s food. This was my WTF moment. So we spent a stressful morning searching for Kirra and after three hours she returned limping and panting. Thus our Pilot Mountain experience came to an end.

After Kirra returned we finally made it to SMSP, surrounded by miles and miles of…no cell phone signal. This did not bode well for Derek (he had some work to take care of) but fortunately their picnic area had cell signal. Yay! 

After restroom breaks, phone calls, and essential backpack organizing we set out on our trek. I’d been studying the map of our supposed campsite on the drive to Pilot Mountain and I’d noticed all of the hikes in SMSP were either considered “moderate” or “strenuous” in difficulty. Fortunately for us the trail to our campsite was in fact labeled “strenuous”. And yes, strenuous applied to that trail if only for all of the tiring...up...hill...climbing. Even Remy seemed to be straining. My pack felt as if the straps were indefinitely engraving themselves into my shoulders as well. Gah. Here too we were the only ones camping. It felt strangely liberating, having such an expanse of nature to ourselves. We hiked maybe 1.5 to 2 miles to our isolated little site and raced the setting sun to set up the tents. That night we enjoyed some tasty buffalo burgers and baked beans and fell asleep to the rushing sounds of the neighboring creek. The next morning we did a little exploring and got a little lost on the road back to civilization.

An here our journey came to a sad end. It was time to return to Orlando, bah. SMSP was by far my favorite park and I wish we’d had more time to explore the area and see Stone Mountain up close. Actually, I wish we’d had more time to explore every place we’d visited. Nevertheless, we had an amazing time and I can’t wait to go back…maybe…forever? 

Until we meet again North Carolina <3

Hope carries around the world

Photo from Flickr user Ashting

This Saturday is the International Day of Climate Action and is hoping to make a statement about their cause. is a movement started in large part by writer Bill McKibben and aims to bring CO2 output levels down to 350ppm (parts per million), which is considered by some scientists to be the safest level for long-term human survival. Check out their mission in video form:

There's a whole bunch of cool stuff surrounding this event worldwide. It's inspiring to see so many countries preparing to take part that I can't help but feel affected by it. The joining of people for a common goal is always uplifting, especially when their aim is carried out through positivity and hope. You can check out some of the things that'll be taking place this Saturday around the world here.  And if you're interested in finding some events near you check out

Another awesome site to check out is This movement, like, is aiming to affect the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December by bringing people together to demand positive change. Let them know what gives you hope.

Nature's beauty gives me hope.


Make it yours

So yesterday was Blog Action day...and I didn't write anything. An interesting feeling over took me as I sat trying to think about what I should say. But nothing was coming to me and that made me feel uncomfortable. Then the realization hit that I dislike the terms global warming and climate change. I think they make people who don't care about the planet care even less. And most of the people who are listening already care.

Here's my view: I should respect my body and the planet that provides me with the means to maintain that healthy body.Along with respect comes compassion. You don't need to hear numbers of greenhouse gas emissions or the like if we were all truly compassionate towards everyone and everything.

Nothing makes more sense to me than compassion:  
sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. 

So why am I writing this? Well, after thinking about it I've come to realize that it makes me pretty sad to think we have to be convinced that it's a good idea to respect the planet. That the inclination to trample all over nature is so common that you're considered a 'tree-hugger' (which always seems offensive) if you think otherwise. I hate the focus on climate change because I think it's so much more than that. Every person should have healthy water to drink and clean air to breath. They should also have healthy nutritious food and a place to live. If we had these things would healthcare be in the situation it is now? If companies who polluted out the ying-yang cared about the people directly and indirectly affected by them would things be different? I think so. And I believe it really comes down to each us of embracing a little compassion for all the lovely beings of our world.

So for my belated Blog Action Day post I ask that each of us try to practice showing more compassion and respect for the old and new, the rich and poor, and the trees and bees.

With love and peace,

Uncategorized thoughts

I don't post here as often as I should. Or maybe as often as I think I should. I sometimes feel that maybe no one is listening to what I have to say. Other times I feel that I have so much I want to say that it all gets so jumbled in my brain that I can't coherently transfer those ideas and beliefs into words.

My problem is motivation. My bigger problem is not knowing what motivates me. I have constant channels of inspiration through sites I love to visit ( or Mr. Mraz's blog), the music I listen to, and the movies and documentaries I watch. But rarely does that inspiration manifest into anything bigger than my own thoughts. Sometimes I think that's enough. Other times I realize that it isn't enough and I have a duty as a human being to spread truth and knowledge to anybody who will listen.

Derek and I just watched Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story. It was a moving and enlightening film that pushed my "This is BS! Where do we start? What can we do?"  button. We then talked about the period of time in which that feeling usually lasts...about 1-2 weeks for someone not fully dedicated to the cause. We may think and feel the same way but our actions slowly revert to not reflect our ideals because we don't have those constant reminders. Of course this isn't the case for everyone but it's not uncommon.

For me that loss of dedication happens on a regular basis. I need constant reminders for why I'm doing what I'm doing. Be it writing, photography, supporting a cause or achieving any life goal. It could be that I haven't fully embraced 'me' and I'm constantly wasting time trying to figure out who I should be. But that is of my own doing. For me yoga has become an integral part in teaching me about myself. Now if the world could offer me enough time to figure out myself and put a pause on bills and other societal requirements I'd be ever so grateful.

But you know what? Sometimes I feel that all of this craziness in my head is my inner naturalist wanting to escape. To get away from the things we've made up as a society to keep us civilized. I just want to run to the mountains with as many loved ones willing to come and make a life for ourselves with nature as the ruler of all things. Oh, what dreams may come...

Though I may not be constantly posting it's safe to say that I'm usually sitting in front of this screen throughout my days. So if any of you have something interesting, moving, or offensive to say...let me know. I'll be here.


Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. -John Muir

Blog Action Day

On October 15th, 2009 I'm taking part in Blog Action Day. This event was started a couple of years ago and is now being powered by the awesome social action site It is aimed at making one issue stand out for a day by having bloggers focus on that one issue in their writing. The hope is that if we take out one day to focus on a cause that is important to us and the world we can start conversations that will then lead to action. This years focus is Climate Change, a threat to humans and the environment alike. This is great timing because big things are happening in December when leaders across the world will congregate in Copenhagen, Denmark for international climate negotiations.

So if you have a blog and you're interested in taking part head on over to their website to register. And don't forget to spread the word...


A day of Peace

Darn it! I just found out about the International Day of Peace (which was September 21st btw). This day/movement deserves a lot of love and attention. Check out the video Jeremy Gilley (the founder) discusses the creation of this day and what it means for the world if we accept it globally. 

Go on, take a look. It's more than worth it.

Freeboarders rule!

Found this video via Superforest. Check these guys out!

Are we The Age of Stupid?

Today I received a welcomed reminder from about The Age of Stupid, a movie about what the planet may look like a few years down the road if we continue to ignore climate change. I had watched the trailer a few months back but completely forgot about it until today. This coming Monday The Age of Stupid will be having it's global premiere and Orlando is lucky enough to be hosting a few screenings itself.

The Age of Stupid USA Trailer from Age of Stupid on Vimeo.

I can't say I really like their trailer but the reviews have been positive thus far and the subject matter is something I'm very much interested in.  The movie also seems to be more of a movement than just a film as they have partnered with groups like and Greenpeace for the global premiere. I also like what they've done with their sister site  which is sort of a companion to the movie and offers ways to get involved with the cause.

For more info on nearby screenings visit

We are all one

Here's a beautiful video that shows our oneness with the earth

Finding comfort in yoga

I just stumbled across an interesting article on Gaiam's website about an autistic boy and his new love for yoga. Andrew Benisek, a nine-year old boy diagnosed with pervasive developmental delay found some old yoga tapes that belonged to his mother and was instantly hooked.

Stories like this always remind me that we're still searching for, not a cure per se, but something to help those diagnosed within the autism spectrum. I'd say we lucked out with my brother. Sure, he has his speech problems and sometimes has trouble interacting in social situations but he's very intelligent and capable even with his disorder. I don't know what it's like to have a "normal" brother but I wouldn't trade James in for anyone else. I would like to help him though. He understands that his speech isn't where it should be and I can see that it frustrates him. For that reason I'm always wondering what I can do for him but I always come up empty.

Boy is he in for a surprise when I spring yoga on him! I would have never thought to introduce him to the practice but it makes total sense. He's always all over the place (of course he's a 13 year old boy) but I think he can learn a lot about himself through yoga. The article also mentions that yoga practice may help with focusing and concentration (both of which my brothers needs). Along with the soothing voices, sounds and breathing techniques (and the cool sounding 'warrior pose') I think he may like it. I guess we'll find out once the school week is over...

For more on the article check it out at
Until we meet again =)

Can't we all just get along?

There is so much health-care hullabaloo (I like that word) going on right now that I think my head may explode. I'm pro health-care reform 100%. On one hand I don't have health insurance and I wish I could go to the Dr without paying an arm and a leg but on the other hand I believe more in natural medicine than anything else. I have a distrust of prescription drugs since they rarely do anything but mask the problem. Nevertheless, I don't expect everyone to feel the way I do about natural medicine so I fully support cheap insurance run by the *gasp* government. Yes, the government is not my favorite institution but I find it doubtful that it will make us a *gasp again* SOCIALIST COUNTRY. I don't understand every one's horrific fear of socialism. As if capitalism is the best form of government out there. Please.

I was reading an article, Guns That Talk (which I highly recommend) from the Huffington Post that made some great points. Many health-care reform crazies have been having conniptions about their gun rights being taken away (who the hell is even talking about that?) and how in order to be patriotic one must bring a gun to the protest! Yes, and sing the national anthem with banners of Obama looking like the Joker or Hitler. Pick one. The writer points out that if this were during the Bush years and people were bringing guns to a Bush speech...dear lord imagine the repercussions. For just wearing an anti-Bush shirts people were escorted off the premises Interesting. Robert Koehler, the writer, points out:

That was then: "Free speech zones" were the norm; protesters were routinely whisked out of sight at every Bush appearance, even though, you know, we have a First Amendment and all.

This is now: A dozen guys with guns gathered outside a convention center in Phoenix on Monday as President Obama spoke. At least two of them had assault rifles slung over their shoulders. "Phoenix police said the men carrying guns at Monday's event did not need permits, as the state of Arizona has an 'open carry' law," the U.K. Telegraph reported. "No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested."

What is the mentality of these people? I cannot believe that they actually feel so threatened by health-care reform that they think a revolution is in order. I am ecstatic about their protesting name though: Tea-baggers. Priceless.

But for Obama being such a Nazi socialist he is being awfully nice to all the people who are attempting to defy him. Does that seem like Hitler behavior to anyone? These gun toter's say they're merely practicing their 2nd Amendment rights. But what does it mean when you bring a gun to a protest? What will these people need protection from? Themselves? Especially the guy who held a sign with a Thomas Jefferson quote about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants...Yes, nothing aggressive about that.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm completely for protesting passionately for what you believe in. But to rage and blither absolute nonsense while toting a gun, well, that just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. If these people maybe had better information and better sources (ahem: Fox News, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush that enough?) then maybe I'd be more inclined to listen to them. But I don't believe in aggression or guns for that matter. At least until I'm being threatened with the same. That's not the case here though. All we're asking for is help. For the people who can't afford insurance or who have been turned away by money-hungry insurance companies. Studies show that in 2007 nearly 46 million Americans were uninsured. Between 2008 and 2010 nearly 7 million more people will also lose their coverage. I can only assume that these town hall protesters just don't care about those figures or anyone but themselves for that matter. I guess they're okay with the thousands that die yearly because they can't afford medical care. You betcha!

So where does all this craziness stem from? I read another fascinating article from the Huff Post, this time from Johann Hari, who makes some excellent points. She covers basically all of the right-wing lunacy dating back to the Bush years. Lunacy based on, no not facts, but well...lunacy. Here's an excerpt:

You have to admire the audacity of the right. Here's what's actually happening. The US is the only major industrialized country that does not provide regular healthcare to all its citizens. Instead, they are required to provide for themselves -- and just under 50 million people can't afford the insurance. As a result, 18,000 US citizens die every year needlessly, because they can't access the care they require. That's equivalent to six 9/11s, every year, year on year. Yet the Republicans have accused the Democrats who are trying to stop all this death by extending healthcare of being "killers" -- and they have successfully managed to put them on the defensive.

The Republicans want to defend the existing system, not least because they are given massive sums of money by the private medical firms who benefit from the deadly status quo. But they can't do so honestly: some 70 percent of Americans say it is "immoral" to retain a medical system that doesn't cover all citizens. So they have to invent lies to make any life-saving extension of healthcare sound depraved.

These claims have become so detached from reality that they often seem like black comedy. The right-wing magazine US Investors' Daily claimed that if Steven Hawking had been British, he would have been allowed to die at birth by its "socialist" healthcare system. Hawking responded with a polite cough that he is British, and "I wouldn't be here without the NHS." Frank Laffer, the right-wing economist lauded by David Cameron, claimed on CNN that it would be a disaster if the government got its hands on Medicare, the program providing healthcare for the elderly, paid for entirely by... the government.

This tendency to simply deny inconvenient facts and invent a fantasy-world isn't new; it's only becoming more heightened. It ran through the Bush years like a dash of bourbon in water. When it became clear Saddam Hussein had no Weapons of Mass Destruction, the US right simply claimed they had been shipped to Syria. When the scientific evidence for man-made global warming became unanswerable, they claimed, as one Republican congressman put it, that it was "the greatest hoax in human history", and all the world's climatologists were "liars". The American media then presents itself as an umpire between "the rival sides", as if they both had evidence behind them.

She believes most of the right-wing crazyness stems from religion which seems agreeable on my part but we'll leave that for another post. Until then I will continue to watch the madness and hope that change will prevail.

Until next time.


Every experiment, by multitudes or by individuals, that has a sensual and selfish aim, will fail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson


From Eco-chick:

Crude is the story of a community of 30,000 tribal members in the Amazonian jungle of Ecuador who hold a corporation to bear for its crimes against their land, their livelihood, and most importantly, their lives. The film follows the intricacies of what has been called the “Amazon Chernobyl.”

The indigenous population claims that Chevron, the parent company to the former Texaco, spent thirty years contaminating the air, land, and water of an area the size of Rhode Island which is now called the “death zone.” Cancer, leukemia, and birth defects are among some of the effects of Big Oil. The film was shot and edited over a period of three years, with Berlinger and the crew sacrificing their own safety by facing both environmental (toxic fumes, disease, searing equatorial heat) and man-made dangers (shooting near the Colombian border where drug runners and FARC rebels are very active) to capture a story they felt must be shared with the rest of the world.

Berlinger’s cinematic sensibility paints a picture that captures the lush vitality of the Amazon, the horrendous atrocities endured by the tribespeople, and the complicated path that social justice must traverse, all the while avoiding cliche and stereotypes. Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Foundation have both been instrumental in bringing the Ecuadorian devastation to the public eye.

Trudie Styler, Sting’s wife, and noted activist, appears in the film to lend celebrity to the cause. Repeatedly referring to the Amazon as “the lungs of the earth,” Styler and others point to the far more serious nature of the toxicity than mere dollars can assuage. If Ecuador is in trouble, we are ALL in trouble. If tribe members cannot fish or swim, that affects us directly. Transnationals can no longer act in a vacuum of backyard antics.

Vanity Fair featured an article in the 2007 Green Issue on the case in Ecuador, and attorney Pablo Fajardo, who passionately represents the plaintiffs. In one scene in the film, Fajardo notes that he is not intimidated by the high powered legal team because he has truth on his side, which makes his work that much easier. He doesn’t have to work diligently to create lies about what is happening.

Without sensationalizing the health effects of the toxic sludge left in the Ecuadorian jungle, Berlinger simply allows the water to tell the tale. The water, the rivers, the streams, and pools appear fresh from a distance as children play, women wash, and people drink. Once approached, the rainbow sheen of petrol catches the light and the scent of gasoline sends heads reeling. The ground is soft sludge as the pollutants work their way through the soil and into the Earth. One of the Texaco/Chevron representatives claims: “this is not contamination, this is industrial exploitation that your government permitted.” Amazing. This film must be seen.

In order for this film to have a chance of being seen by the rest of the country, it must nearly sell-out in NY, LA and SF, so tell your friends, blog about it, spread the word…go see this film. Because the film doesn’t have huge marketing dollars, it’s up to people like you and me to spread the word online.

Here are some important screening dates: for locations click here
-NYC: September 9-22
-L.A.: September 18-24
-S.F.: September 25-October 1
-D.C.: October 23-29

Day 6: Red Rock Crossing

(Late, I know...)

Today was absolutely amazing. We visited Red Rock State Park and hiked up an amazing trail to Cathedral Rock. The terrain was mainly rocky and we had to cross Oak Creek to continue on. The hike was a whopping 1.5 miles round trip.

But it felt like 3. At least.

We weaved back and forth on the open path, surrounded by all sorts of local vegetation and funny looking lizards. We also encountered some mountain bikers who made my jaw drop. I couldn't even imagine trying this trail myself with a bike of all things. Once we got closer to the peak we had to climb up slabs of jutting red rock. At some points I even had to go on all fours to make it up. We brought 6 liters of water for the 5 of us and once we got close to the peak we started running out, effectively cutting our trip short (the Arizona sun is HOT). Even without making it to the very top the view from where we were was nothing short of breathtaking. We felt like we were on top of the world and it felt exhilarating to make it as far as we did.

Taking a dip in the creek afterwards was the perfect remedy for a much overheated Derek and I (he even got to fly off of a rope swing...lucky). I was too afraid of hurting myself further so I passed on the rope.

After lunch we dragged ourselves to do some shopping in the local village where Derek got me a wooden, locally made flute. The saleswomen was pretty convincing once she whipped out her own flute and played us a few tunes. I was sold after that. I find the sound of the flutes so mesmerizing and relaxing (I’d wanted once since I’d seen a man playing one whilst sitting on a rock wall at the Grand Canyon).

On our way back to the house we stopped at the popular Chapel of the Holy Cross which was inspired by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright more than fifty years ago. The chapel was built into the red rocks of Sedona and apparently took 18 months to construct. It was definitely a sight to see. After doing some research I found out that Arizonans chose the cathedral as one of Arizona’s 7 wonders. For good reason too. The inside was pretty majestic as well with tall ceilings and two long windows spanned from floor to roof. I wish I had snapped a photo of the front but I felt so exhausted from our hike and my head was pounding to the point that I could barely enjoy it.

We took our leave after a few minutes of oh's and ah's and headed home for a much needed recharge.

Want advice for relaxation and recharge? Hot tubs!! Especially in Arizona, at night, with no roof above your head. The stars are incredible.