Paul Simon's 1990 album "Rhythm of the Saints" is all I want to listen to right now. ~
My mom cryptically told me today via text "come back stronger." I wondered if she meant, "If you die, come back stronger." Umm... in my next life time? Ok Mom... Maybe she meant from Alaska even though I hadn't told her yet. Tomorrow we go to Alaska. With her I never know and I like it that way. ~
Mountains are the magnets that draw my body to scrape against sharp edges in order to grow. @jenpeedom And #RichardTognetti just wrapped their edit on an orchestral poetic homage to mountains. They say it best. Watch the trailer (link in profile).
Hats off to the ones on this earth who redefine what is humanly possible to do in one lifetime. With our brains, our bodies, our civic and ecological engagement. @alexhonnold, I'm so proud of what you stand for. Also you're a damn good and loving friend to others even if they have green hair and might be part alien, so that's cool too [Alex and @jaredleto, shot on location for #GreatWideOpen]
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Women move mountains. This is @lksanchez32, in high contrast. Roughly 24 hours before this photo was taken, she was in DC negotiating the details of Paris Agreement on behalf of the US State Department. The year before, she worked in Dubai on large scale renewable energy diplomacy. Here she oversees my breakfast cooking in costume - because when else can you except in Indian Creek (!!! #protectbearsears). Lauren's years living in DC and Dubai trained her for the climate change battle, but her heart needs sweaty bruise-inducing exploration and strong companionship - like all of ours. •
A few times a year, I meet in the mountains or the desert with my wolf pack - Lauren (this here global energy ambassador), @rbkrvl who is coordinating collaborative flash-mob performance art pieces in India to help engage the most vulnerable populations about heat stroke risks while she simultaneously holds down a job for the World Bank in climate change adaptation. @katuddenham (walking up in the middle of his photo) re-writes narratives of the West as the executive director of a Colorado organization that balances wilderness conservation, local indigenous rights, rural economies, and extractive industries. #jojo, our Instagramless leader, added Law and Business degrees atop her environmental science MA to better ninja a path forward for climate progress, and @dianamadson in Tahoe single handedly organized a national policy initiate (#themountainpact) addressing economic climate impacts on mountain towns across the nation who face watershed depletion, civil-infrastructure instability, wildfire risk, and dwindling jobs. I'm lucky to call these women my friends. They are fighting for climate justice in diverse arenas. We are extremely disappointed that the U.S is pulling out of the Paris Agreement but I know there's an undercurrent of momentum that won't be stopped. Progress is happening. @yalefes (SURVEY LINK IN PROFILE)
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This week I've been in Northern California exploring stories about Native American food sovereignty with director @mrsanjayr and journalist @missmonet for an upcoming film and mixed-media journalism project with the First Nations Development Institute. Pictured here are the Sammy Smokehouse Boys @email@example.com Peter and Keget from Requa and Klamath who drove hours down the coast to Ft Braggs to harvest abalone with their mentors @siixuutesna, Arianna and @coastymathanuuma. There aren't enough salmon in the Klamath, after commercial and sport fishing quotas, to support their tribe. I feel honored to be contributing to this project with a growing team of native and non-native creatives all working together to unbundle and share these stories. Thank you Hilary and everyone for the amazing dinner! [also - link in profile to a simple survey where we can kick off this forum on careers and impactful creativity!]
The red glow of our @freeflysystems#Alta8 drone lighting the way as we hovered close to our arctic surfer friends. Safety third, per usual, but pushing the limits of frozen limbs, ER visits, and late late nights always yields something special. Tonight at 7pm and 9:30pm are the SLC screenings of #underanarcticsky! @renan_ozturk@chrisburkard@sonyalpha@revo - Tickets still available, link in profile
Music and art are universal - able to transcend political, economic and geographical boundaries. So too is climate change, affecting every country and every community in connected but disproportionate ways. I feel so grateful to the @form@pathway2paris team for hosting our climate change program and dialogues on issues including social environmental justice, film and storytelling, art and cradle-to-cradle architecture, immersive music and sound experiences, and how we can access the hearts of people who know of but can't quite act upon the facts. This team was incredible - Mustafa Santiago Ali (who recently resigned from the EPA after decades of running their social justice branch), the @hiphopcaucus, @tibet_effect@michiganmanhattan@united_environment@themightyupsetter@prospektmiraorg@conpulsiv and David Garland. There are many pathways forward (never just one right answer!) and many entry points for getting involved. Also - Looking forward to posting a survey this week to collect email addresses from all those who want to work together based on my last post. @kendraroselyons@rbkrvl 🦎 #formarcosanti@arcosantiarizona
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10 years ago to the day (pictured here) I was a junior in college, studying biology at Penn State. Slowly drifting away from the rigors of hard science and into my love affair with adventure, humanities and story telling, I spent my free time in the campus green house dancing like a literal looney toon and studying plants with only my eyes, ears, nose and finger tips. It was the year I flunked all my science courses because I had added to my schedule "Race relations and dialogue" with Professor Sam Richards, "Peace Studies", Science Technology Religion and Society, and improv dance. I also made my first film which showed once and only once, at the public library to 4 people. Epic fail in the short run. Maybe an important step in the journey home. ~
Flash forward to today when I received a hand written letter from a young woman named Brooke, just out of college who seemed equally flustered yet curious and passionate about navigating her way through academia, writing, photojournalism and filmmaking, research, advocacy campaigns, and understanding the blurry lines we tread when doing work we hope is "meaningful" to the environment and to others. Took me back to the years I spent living in a truck and bartending to afford my blueberry addiction and first pair of climbing shoes, back to being 23 and excited to find my path. Brooke, by the way, I don't have any good answers. The last decade has been a bumpy ride. I'm bruised and scarred and learning along the way. And reading this letter made me realize, maybe it would be helpful to other women too if I held an online club of some kind where we connected and all shared experiences and asked each other questions. Once a month? Online? How would I even do such a thing... open to ideas! #thisismybrainonnature#whataboutyours?
Dear desert wilderness, They don't love you like I love you. ~
Yesterday we went on a walk in the Uinta-Wasatch National Forest to some hot springs. On the way out, I couldn't walk. I had to run. I NEVER RUN. I sprinted till my heart burst. I left everyone in the group behind to run (without a headlamp) all the way down. Leaping over rocks, dodging trees, in the dark. It was the weirdest thing that's ever come over me. A desire to go as fast as I possibly could without any fear. ~
The news that Ueli's spirit flew out of the Nepal Himalaya is crushing for the whole community. What happened last night makes me wonder if Ueli flew through the earth, through other people and places. I'm not religious and my spiritual understanding is based in things I can see and sense. But I sensed something otherworldly. Thank you Ueli for showing us all just how boundless our human potential can be. You were the one who pushed further, faster, every time. @steckueli
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Coming into the desert (heaven, on earth) usually starts like this - Step 1) drive some form of automobile to a designated protected area. 2) Read the sign that shows you what you're about to enter - National Park, National Monument, Wildlife Refuge, etc... 3) THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS places like this still exist. Protected from extractive industries and development. Step 4) Enter. Play. LNT. Photograph. Be free. Be human. Or be a dancing alien weirdo who inevitably metamorphosizes back into an ecological being (no escaping this earthly truth, I promise). Whatever floats your boat. --- But hey, I acknowledge and try to see daily ways in which I depend on land that is developed (like my neighborhood), and land that is exploited for energy (since I turn my lights on with grid power). But we also need places like the untouched Utah desert. Intact ecosystems with wildlife corridors. We need Bears Ears. More than ever. #callcongress#protectbearsears#idoitwithyou
If you're like Baloo, staring into the abyss of reflection and wondering how your life may be impacted by climate change, rest assured it probably won't all that much. Maybe if you're a farmer or your business relies on global trade. The empathy I speak of isn't for willow trees or endangered desert lizards (even tho it's all quite connected). My heart is focused on how climate change is disproportionately affecting the world's poorest people with the most unstable governments. The current famine in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen is directly caused by climate change, drought, armed conflict, and macro-economic collapse. Millions of people are starving and facing a crisis for survival most of us can't fathom. If you care about how we are implicated in this situation, you probably care because of other people. Nothing else matters as much, I believe.
Here, @forrestjillson has about 30 itty bitty (and fury) baby Whitebark Pine seedlings in his backpack. The most incredible tree in all the West that feeds birds, squirrels and grizzly bears and can thrive clinging to nothing but the cracks within a wall of granite rock. In this moment, we are planting them at 10,000 ft elevation in their natural habitat in @grandtetonnps with @treefighter@peytoncoppprati and friends. The white bark pine have been and continue to be devastated by beetle kill - a direct result of earlier Springs and fewer Fall frosts due to climate change. @treefighter lead this endeavor to help replant the forest but more so, in many ways, to get people out into the wilderness and thinking about the local impacts of climate change, feeling empowered to act, appreciating the ecosystem that is our home. I was reading two books at the time that shaped my understanding of why trees mattered. ~
The first was "Made for Each Other: A Symbiosis of Birds and Pines" by Roland Lanner. The second was The Lorax... Catch! calls the Once-ler.
He lets something fall.
It's a Truffula Seed.
It's the last one of all!
You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
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Beneath nationality, identity, sub-culture or pop-culture or whatever, every single one of us are naked earthling animals. We are flesh and bones covered in sense receptors in an ecological community of shared resources and shared risks. We are capable of communicating with each other and making just about anything we can imagine. What does that process look like and what are we creating? ~
With the current and ongoing political battles around climate change, I feel like I'm in a cage fight with angry scared bears. Everyone has their claws out. People are grasping onto simple stances to support their world view and using these to battle each other instead of attempting to have an inclusive dialogue of diverging views. All the meanwhile, semantics and opinion-pieces about climate regulations don't make us feel any more connected to what we are actually talking about - This ocean of air that's in our nostrils right now, a swirling chemical soup that IS changing in its composition and in turn affecting our water access, weather patterns, food systems, infectious disease dynamics, and inciting violent conflicts over limiting resources. To which degree this is happening and who actually controls the power levels is definitely something not everyone agrees on but it's clear that this is a question of story. Science fiction maybe, since we are dealing with predictive scenarios. A science fiction movie that becomes reality.... moment by moment by moment. For the coming weeks I'd love to share some books, ideas, and resources on climate change and energy that I have found to be useful and hear from anyone who wants to share what has influenced them. ~ "It's all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The Old Story—the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it—is not functioning properly, and we have not learned the New Story... We need a story that will educate us, a story that will heal, guide and discipline us" - Thomas Berry [ by @renan_ozturk. Accidental encounters with the wild 🏽♀️]
Softly. Tread softly. (Said the cactus in my foot)
I often look at the raised white scars ripped across Renan's knees, the ones bitten into his flesh from the knife-blades of an 8-prop drone. I close my eyes and feel the numbness still pervading my feet, latent nerve damage and frost bite from standing jaw-dropped in awe, hours upon hours, as northern lights illuminated the curling waves and frigid surfers. How cold my finger tips felt on the metal shutter button. Holding steadfast. Discomfort tears the seams in us that need to expand so we don't shrivel in spirit in the same form year after year. The experience of filming 'Under the Arctic Sky' gave me night vision and tougher skin. Lifelong friendships with the surfers and their icicle frosted faces, with the film crew as we stayed up all hours of the night repairing our broken cameras. @chrisburkard and @sweatpantsmedia team, so proud of your acceptance into Tribecca! See you at the premiere : ) Check out the kickstarter which supports screenings in cities around the country! @timmyreyes@heidarlogi@ellithor@jquinny@arcticsurfers@renan_ozturk@russell_holliday#underanarcticsky
"Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal... To hope is to give yourself to the future - and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable." -Rebecca Solnit ~ ~
Some villages in eastern Congo arm themselves because they have had to protect their communities, historically and recently, from violent assaults both internal and external. The fight for survival is not unique to North Kivu and I don't pretend to be in any position to make a judgement call about whether or not these rebel groups should have an abundance of assault rifles. But I do believe that freedom from oppression comes from the rising up of the oppressed themselves in a self-determined, locally organized, institutionally collaborative way. Driven by a hope for a future without conflict. Some people here in Congo say this is impossible, but many many more that I've met believe it's possible enough to fight for relentlessly. #firstname.lastname@example.org@elaishastokes@renan_ozturk@email@example.com@natgeochannel
Misty mudslidin hells angels, waiting for the gear cars ahead to sludge their way deeper into the Kivu jungle during these day-long drives. Everyone is exhausted and falling apart in good way. The best way. Our bellys are running on jelly beans, casava, Coca-Cola, and cabbage. Every mile tells a different story of Congo and its people. Sprits of gasoline mix with the smell of wet rich dirt in my nose as I run along with the bikes, trying to capture the chaos. I slip, fall hard. I get up. Camera hasn't smashed yet. There's hope here. Another mile. #conflictminerals#kivu#congo@firstname.lastname@example.org@elaishastokes@email@example.com
It's time again for the jungle. Bug nets, bug bites, elevated huts, gear junk shows, cameras in the mud, eyes and ears perked to our surroundings, heart in listening mode. And if @irving_matthew needs to call me out for corny poetics and the fact that my dog has his own Instagram he can do it to my face THX @adventurejournal ; ) #takeoff
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"Everything begins as a sense perception. Air currents, the depths of landscapes far and near, those quickly darting tasty rodents on the horizon, wind and airplanes and birds and crickets in your furry satellite ears, the scent of the last creature who peed in your immediate vicinity. These things you can sense with your skin are true. But human brain cells tend to mix things into all sorts of crazy stories. Beware the human brain stories. Trust the dirt, the smells, the feels. Ok goodnight." -@baloointhewild
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Filmmaker and dear friend Cameron Granger (@versacejpgs) with the 54th Regiment on the #ashestoashesfilm shoot with Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker and her community. Cameron is an *incredibly talented and fearless* young filmmaker taking a raw, honest and yet compassionate look at race relations in America with his multi-media projects. PLEASE SUPPORT HIS WORK. Send him $5 on Venmo. (Venmo @cameron-granger). I'm not kidding. $3. $33. Anything. Take 2 min. He's at an artist in residency program in NY now with a million ideas and the more resources he has the better. #CameronMakingAmericaGreatAgainWithArt#blackhistorymonth [photo by @ben_moon]