Sunday, October 25, 2009

Video of Climate Action - Slaying the Carbon Dragon

This video was taken on the fly so please check the photograph below to see the details of the Dragon. Click on the photo for a large view.

DDancer: Evan Hoffman
Dragon artists: Jaqi Medaris and Adrienne Rayna
Scissors artist: Tim Chadwick
Videographer: Guy Gray

Saturday, October 24, 2009

International Day of Climate Action - Oct. 24, 2009

The Climate Walkers took a stroll on a rainy day from Allentown to Bethlehem, stopping for a photo in front of our congressman's office. Photographer: Alan Reinhart

Check again tomorrow for our movie, Slay the Carbon Dragon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A nice link that mentions me

A friend, Sidney Stevens, put together an online compilation of ten unusual environmentalists, and she included me! What an honor. Here's the link: (not the whole url, if you want to forward it to others). Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sustainability and carbon sequestration

Some of the contacts resulting from the New York Times article have proven to be invaluable. Today a couple of documentary videographers came from NY to interview me for a documentary they are making on sustainablity and what individuals are doing to live in more environmentally sustainable ways. They say the film will take at least a year to make but when it's ready they will submit it to film festivals around the country. I hope it will come to Bethlehem, to the SSFF (SouthSide Film Festival) and to the EnergyFest in Kutztown next September.

Last week I accepted an invitation by the CEO of Rodale Institute, just east of Kutztown, PA, and visited the organic farm where the institute conducts its research and development of organic agriculture practices. I found it fascinating to learn that according to Rodale's research organic soil actually sequesters carbon dioxide, due to an underground fungus that uses carbon to build its shell. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers, as well as repeated tilling of the earth, destroy the fungus and the soil's ability to sequester CO2.

Also, I keep finding excellent articles and videos, photographs and essays, about Climate Change. Here's a very simple statement that reminds us to be aware of the impacts of our daily decisions, our carbon footprint day-by-day. I appreciate the comment about plastic bottles, because I've been astounded by people's attitude that they're doing their share by recycling. It's not enough, folks - good but not enough.

From Twilight Earth, guest post by Wendy Gabriel

Living sustainably is not trendy; it’s a thoughtful, responsible way to live. It’s not just about putting your plastic bottles in the recycling bin; it’s about realizing that you should avoid the plastic bottle all together. It’s about really thinking about your impact on your community, your city and your world.

The converse of living sustainably is living in a way that is depleting the very things we need to survive. We need clean water, clean air and healthy food for our continued existence on this planet. Currently, the worldwide population and global demand for these resources are both greater than ever.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A current dialogue about climate and justice

View this report from Democracy Now, brought to my attention by Tim Chadwick.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

10-Step Carbon Addiction Program

This week I am launching a project that has grown in my imagination for almost a year. Last October, in response to conversations with others reading Six Degrees, by Mark Lynas, I started to conceive of a program where each of us could take responsibility for our own carbon footprint while at the same time communicating with others in a meaningful way about our struggle to overcome the habits of a consuming society that is dependent on fossil fuels.

I have added the 10-Step Carbon Addiction Program to the Climate Walk website, where you can sign onto the program by copying and mailing it to me by email or snail mail. I've also started a new blog - - to accompany the progress of the program. As of today three people have signed on, including me. I'm holding my breath, hoping that the program will take off by leaps and bounds, but knowing that it will probably be more like slowly, but surely.

This is a trial phase - comments and suggestions are welcome. My plan is to collect 50-100 signatures before an official launch. By then I hope to have a few people join me as an Organizing Team or Steering Committee, or Board of Directors. Please consider being part of such a team.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blogging and culinary delights

A vegetarian meal in Goias, Brazil (Jan, 2008)

On Sunday I saw the film, Julie and Julia, two love stories about women who love to cook and their husbands who enjoy eating their terrific culinary productions. The film is also the story of a blogger who chronicles daily her successes and failures in following all 524 recipes from Julia Child's famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I loved the film and recommend it wholeheartedly.

I also learned something about blogging and decided to step up my postings here. I learned that I can keep it short and share my reflections in a more personal way. Sure, I risk being insignificant, but when I see what people write on Facebook I realize that no thought is too small to chronicle. Not sure this is good, but it encourages me to go ahead.

As we walked to the movie, Guy and I talked about the way people share their most trivial and commonplace thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, concluding that these virtual spaces recreate the public gathering place - the pub, coffeehouse, club room, playground - where one could go to be seen and heard. When we speak and others hear us, show off and others see, we are reassured of our own existence. And we feel part of humanity as we absorb the small bits of communication around us: "Hey, what's up?" "I'm thirsty." "I just heard something funny." "My cat threw up."

So I'm not going to worry about how smart and consequential I am. I only set before myself the task of continuing to write about Climate Change in an ongoing effort to make the world better "for all the grandchildren."

Julie and Julia portrays a lifestyle where meat - beef bourguignon, de-boned duck, liver pate - define cooking, and you can never use too much butter. While my mouth waters at the thought of such pleasures, I know that a mostly vegetarian diet (if not entirely vegan) is the way to go, and thank God, is not without it's own delights.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Celebrating libraries

If you haven't already gone to, please do so today. Think about how you might organize or participate in a climate action event in your area on October 24th. Let the country and the world know that you stand up for facing the climate change challenge in a strong and urgent way.

Tim Chadwick took this photo through the window at a Syracuse library, with the reflection of the garden flowers, capturing me at my blogging efforts about a month ago.

Today I want to thank all the wonderful libraries and librarians that hosted me along Route 11, through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York State, with special mention of libraries in Lumberton, MS, where I recuperated from my infected toe; Sweetwater, AL, where the librarians called in a reporter to interview me, and made sure I had enough water to continue my trip; and Mooers, NY, where six of us invaded the library just an hour before closing, on the last day of our walk. We couldn't find a place to buy the New York Times, but we were able to read the article online.

As my husband likes to say, "libraries will get you through times without money better than money will get you through times without libraries."

Monday, August 31, 2009

We did it!

On Saturday, August 29, we approached the end of the Climate Walk in a cold, windy rain, perhaps the wettest day of the whole trek. Six of us walked the last 12 miles together: Guy, who is taking photos, and (left to right) me, Jaqi, Tim, Adrienne, and my son Zeke.

I felt wonderful with the great company and the end in sight.

We entered the Village of Rouses Point, which I'd been talking about from the first day, since New Orleans and Rouses Point are the two ends of US Route 11.

Mayor George Rivers of Rouses Point welcomed us and read a proclamation recognizing the achievement of the Walk that called attention to Rapid Climate Change. Village Clerk Carol Henfield was also there to welcome us. I felt honored by their generosity - they helped make the day very special. I was also delighted that several citizens of the village showed up to cheer us on, and s few even walked the final two or three miles with us.

And here, in steady rain, are the six of us at the very end - or beginning - of Route 11, just a few feet from the Canadian border. What a joyful moment! I walked 1150 miles of the total 1743 between New Orleans and Rouses Point.

My greatest hope is that several hundred people actually became aware for moment or a day of the importance and urgency of climate change during the months that I walked, by the sight of my shirt and through the fliers I handed out. My vision is that some day soon trucks will cease to fill the roads, cars will be much more fuel efficient, public transportation will be available everywhere, and we will always see many people getting around on foot and bicycle.

I plan to continue this blog - I'm not done. Please come back soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today's the Grand Finale

To anyone who's visiting this blog because of the article in the New York Times today, welcome. I'm delighted to have more people reading this blog and sharing the work of bringing attention to Climate Change.

Today I will be walking the final few miles of my trek, and below is a photo of my husband, my son, and three close friends who are joining me for the grand finale. I believe there will be others meeting up with us along the road and an official reception in Rouses Point at 4:30 or 5:00 pm. Join us if you can!

A wind farm near Chateaugay, NY. A good thing!

Mowers, new and old, lined up for sale. Not so good - gas mowers emit a lot of greenhouse gases. Alternatives? muscle and/or smaller lawns. Electric mowers are better as far as emissions are concerned, but then they use electricity that probably created a lot of emissions.

Please check again soon. I have more pictures to post, and more thoughts to share, but now I have to go walk.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Northern Country, NY State

As I drove back up to Gouverneur, I glimpsed these water lilies on Lake Brant, near Lake George. (Try clicking on the photo to enlarge it.)

Back on the road, I got a boost from this couple, Erin and Mike, who stopped to chat because they had seen the news10now video (Syracuse) about my Climate Walk.

I loved this bright red building in De Kalb Junction, near Canton, NY.

Some giants just don't give up. I wonder what happened to this tree that left the huge trunk standing tall without what must have been an amazing top of branches and foliage. Why didn't they take the whole tree down? If left to its own devices, what will it look like in five or ten years?

I haven't wanted this Walk to be about my "gypsy wagon," but I have to say that it's become a fond sight, my refuge from the rain and dark, my resting place when I'm tired and aching. Sometimes I feel like a gypsy, stopping on the edge of town in an unused clearing such as this one.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back on the road Friday, August 21

This week I've been taking a break to spend time with family, including one of my grandchildren. I plan to return to Route 11 tomorrow and walk every day until Saturday, August 29, when I will arrive in Rouses Point, at the Canadian border.

Several other walkers will join me for the final miles and I invite anyone who would like to finish up the Climate Walk with us to come on up and walk. There is a train from New York City, the Montrealer, that stops in Rouses Point. It would be great to make an event of it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nuclear power

Yesterday when Tim and I visited the beach at the campground, I saw a nuclear tower off in the distance, on the edge of Lake Ontario. As I mentioned in my Berwick entry, the sight of nuclear towers and their plumes distress me at a gut level. Of course, they can be rejected at an intellectual and scientific level as well.

Here's what Chris Williams writes in his article Hothouse Earth: Capitalism, climate change and the fate of humanity, in the March-April 2009 issue of International Socialist Review:

Nuclear power is expensive and dangerous. Nuclear power stations only emerge as cost competitive with fossil-fuel power stations or alternative energy sources when government subsidies and the huge decommissioning costs are not included as part of the cost of building and running them.

Williams' critique of nuclear power concludes that nuclear power plants are expensive, "wildly inefficient and extremely dangerous,"The fact that the plants double up as atomic bomb factories is what attracts the US and other countries to nuclear power, "not its environmental benefits."

This is the second part of a two-part article by Chris Williams available at Powerful reading.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1000 miles - Pulaski, NY

Hurrah!! (Please scroll down and check the next post - it's new.)
This photo was taken by Tim, who has been walking with me for the last few days.

We talked this morning with a local man who told us that the fierce storm we witnessed two nights ago killed a couple people near Buffalo, NY, in flash floods. I asked if storms here are worse than in the past. "You bet," he said. "And the temperatures - we've had a weird summer: only one day in the 90's, and that was in April!"

Making our way through New York.

Robyn and Brian, sister and brother who recognized us from the news10now TV newscast, came over to the gypsy wagon to chat for awhile with Tim and me, just north of Syracuse. It was great to have the TV coverage as we walked through town - we had many people stop to talk with us, and more honk and wave from their cars. We were able to hand out fliers to those who actually stopped.

When I read more about Climate Change, such as an excellent article in the International Socialist Review, my frustration and anger at the capitalist system that drives our consumer society rises again to the high level that prompted me to take this walk from New Orleans to the Canadian border. I don't have the article with me at the library but I promise to quote a couple of short sections next time I get online.

One of the purposes of my walk is to bring serenity in face of the heartache that I experience with the realization of the vast suffering that rapid climate change will inflict on children, the poor, and otherwise vulnerable populations, including other species. Beauty such as this scene below, between Binghamton and Syracuse, reminds me of the beauty we hope to protect, and it brings me calm and joy.

Ditto for this garden.

What a pleasure to come upon this Green Party office on Route 11 in the south side of Syracuse. I remain convinced that the Green Party has the best platform on issues across the board. We've been right on the environment from the beginning, as well as on peace and justice issues. I wish Howie Hawkins a successful race this fall.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Into New York State

This is my last view from Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River at Great Bend. I walked along this wonderful river from Harrisburg, past Shippensburg and Sunbury, Bloomsburg and Berwick, and Wilkes Barre, and caught up with it again at Great Bend. Someday I'd love to take a long canoe trip down my favorite river - Canoeing for the Climate!

My good friend from the Lehigh Valley peace community (LEPOCO), robert, and his girlfriend, Kim, came up to Bingamton to visit her sister and to walk a few miles with me. I loved their company as we walked 7.8 miles together, into the city and back out again. We were amused by this stop sign - no road, no traffic to stop.

These new friends from the Binghamton UU church, Wes and Gerry, braved a downpour to walk a couple of miles with me just north of the city. There was a lot of traffic because of the Spedie Fest (the spedie is a regional sandwich, a kind of chicken gyro), but the rain put a damper on the fest goers as well. I would have enjoyed the hot air balloons but they weren't flying.

On out into the hills between Binghamton and Syracuse - beautiful country. I was disappointed to learn that here too the digging for gas in the shale is going on.

A windmill - the first I've seen, having missed those in the PA northeastern area - is a welcome sight, but it seems it's too little, too late.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An article and a video

From FOX40, Binghamton, NY - click here. From the article you can go to the video. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three new posts

This is the third entry I'm posting today - it will make more sense if you go back and read them in order, from the bottom up.

This beautiful viaduct is between Factoryville and Hop Bottom, reminding me again of the amazing accomplishments of the past. If we could apply this kind of energy and determination to cutting back our carbon emissions maybe there would be more hope.

Ah, the romance of the road - sometime this will be an ancient memory.

Vera and her sister, Olga, who took the photo, joined me for several miles on the road north of Hop Bottom - yes, this is a second viaduct, and not in as good repair as the first. Vera is an indy media person and took some video of the walk. She also fights the gas companies that are threatening this beautiful rural area. I enjoyed Vera's hospitality the night before at her lovely home in Brooklyn, PA.

I spent Wednesday night parked in a gas station lot in New Milford, and this morning I took some photos of the tiny buildings in this town. I wondered how many books there might be in this library, but it only opens a few hours a day, and it was too early.

Here's one more of those intrepid NEPA activists, Frank, who surprised me in the middle of the day by finding me along the road and walking a few miles with me. He's promised to send me some photos of the gas drilling equipment near his home, which will never be the same, he says, after the intrusion of the gas exploiters.

Northeast PA - past Scranton

I just love the Endless Mountains, the summer flowers, the pristine creeks.

But to get there you need to go through strip mall America, with the fast food joints beckoning you on. Actually, Clarkes Summit had a dynamite natural foods store where I found an ice tea, drink, Tazo, without HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

Another fine PA Green Party friend, Jay, joined me for a few miles on Monday.

He and Ellen extended me their hospitality on their beautiful homestead, where Jay has a big vegetable garden and Ellen raises delightful miniature donkeys. We watched the sunset over the rolling mountains while the half moon shone down on us from a cloudless sky.

But not all is well in NEPA (northeast PA) - if you haven't heard yet you should pay attention: the big gas interests are ripping into this beautiful area on a huge scale, clearing away acres of trees, drilling under the Marcellus Shale, threatening the aquifer, the landscape, the habitat. A few good people are raising their voices, fighting for some sanity. We talk about lessening our carbon footprint, decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels, and here this craziness is going on and the majority of the population thinks it's a good deal, and money-maker.

From Kingston to Duryea

Walking through an urban area has its own set of pleasures: all the variety of homes with gardens and yards, and small and large businesses. Most places have sidewalks and crosswalks, though not everywhere:

"The earth will end October 14 2011." Sometimes I worry that people think the Climate Change Emergency is just another hype, another Y2K. It's one more way that people bury their heads in the sand.

We saw a double-decker train track, which got me thinking how much the railroad was used in the past, and how we've wasted a vast infrastructure of rails by abandoning them in favor of highways. Can we go back?

We were amused by this sign: "Sorry, We're Open" - I guess the owners would rather be elsewhere.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My husband joined me in Berwick

Guy took a bus from Allentown to Berwick to walk with me for five days. (This photo was taken by a local boy, Aron, who rode past us on a bicycle with his friend Joey.)

Guy snapped this photo of my walking past the towers of the Susquehanna nuclear power plant. I oppose nuclear power even though it is cleaner at the production level than coal. It is too dangerous to the surrounding populations, and there is no satisfactory means of disposal of the spent uranium. In order to counter the argument that we need to build more nuclear plants to meet the growing demand for energy, we must decrease our use of electricity as much as possible until we can depend entirely on sustainable sources of power.

Again, the lovely Susquehanna.

This photo captures the disregard for pedestrians so common in urban areas - the sidewalk simply runs out, and the narrow shoulders make walking unsafe.

Enjoying central PA

Except for the infuriating truck-centered quality of Route 11 - this is why we need to eat local/shop local - I had a great time in this portion of Pennsylvania. My daughter, Sofia, joined me in Sunbury and walked with me for five days.

I couldn't get enough of the wonderful Susquehanna River.

You may remember that when I was in Mississippi and Alabama I longed for a shady place to rest along the road, and a bench for my weary bones. This is closed motel right by the river. Wouldn't it be great for cohousing? Except for the trucks whizzing by 24 hours of the day.

Did you know that Furmano tomatoes are grown in central PA?

Walking out of Bloomsburg we saw this unique store which "sells mattresses like McDonalds sells hamburgers."