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3 days until I leave on an epic mission, millions of details still to work out, and here I am in Rhode Island- eating ice cream. I’m chalking it up to one of those moments when life forces you to slow down and have fun against your will. It’s the 4th of July and Nate and I are here, spending the holiday with his family at ground zero of the oldest 4th of July parade in the country. Fireworks, concerts, a carnival and the parade have meant noisy revelry has surrounded us these hot humid days and its been a blast to take it all in. Spending time with much missed family and getting fed incredibly well has also been really nice.

I find it interesting that this experience will in so many ways be the exact opposite of what the next month and a half will be like- I’m anticipating long stretches of solitude, rain, cooler temperatures and a noticeable absence of Americans wearing red, white and blue from head to foot.

I also find it interesting that just this minute Charlie, Nate’s stepdad, has handed me a magazine to read on the road that features 2 poignant articles- one on the Tarahumara people of Mexico that routinely run vast distances and seem to really enjoy it. The author writes: “They are very shy, very serious people, but when they start running everything transforms. They just love running.” And strangely, I can relate to this feeling. I actually do really like that feeling of moving under my own power. Whether I will be able to sustain that feeling remains to be seen, but I intend on channeling the Tarahumara. 

The second article is entitled “Storytelling for personal growth and social change” which is also so eerily relevant to my journey I feel like I just got playfully smacked by some higher power. I just glanced at the article, but a couple of things jumped out at me: “I have the feeling that we want to listen to each other more” says Jay Allison, Director of Atlantic Public Media and Producer of the The Moth Radio Hour. A storytelling show. “When you tap into your own stories, you understand better who you are.” I share both of these perspectives and am looking forward to the insights that emerge about all kinds of alternative energy- from that which we can tap as individuals in our quest for personal growth, that generated by new ideas and systems, and that which we can harness in our homes and communities. At Conservation Leadership Action Workshop, I met one woman that has been living with her family off grid for over 20 years and 2 young people that will be building and Earthship and exploring ways of organizing an intentional community. I look forward to connecting with others that are similarly experienced or passionate about sustainable living and renewable energy. 

Just a couple more days of crazy detail figuring out and then I can get to the good stuff- running and storytelling. 

I hope you will follow me on my journey on www.bandtogetherbc.com. The blog entries will appear on the main page and I intend to use it as my primary outlet.   

Me + Delica

Here’s me and the Delica with the big ole veggie tank in the back. Gonna smell like fries…mmmmm!

Well I tried to add text to the Delica photo, but either wordpress or my tired brain just weren’t having it so here we have post number two. Just try to recall the image of beautiful Delica as you read along…[I later figure it out..see below]

So Band Together BC is officially the proud owner of a slightly used Delica that will soon run on the fruits of your french fries!!!  Suddenly the campaign just got a whole lot more real- which is exciting and I’l be honest a little scary too. But the timing and the people are all aligning so perfectly that I know without a doubt that I am on the right track. Next step: get this baby converted to waste veggie oil and then have some solar installed to power a fridge (it suddenly occurred to me that fresh fruits and veggies might be nice on my journey). My friend Kevin Pegg, Energy Alternatives, has kindly offered to rig up the solar. Add the names of donors to the Delica and I will be all set. I intend to start my journey on July 8 and will post a rough schedule ASAP

The $4000 mark was broken today which means $5000 is right around the corner, which means we’ll be 1/3 of the way there. YES!! 

The generosity and outpouring of support in many lovely forms is flowing, quite overwhelming in fact. Many kind words and acts- like Elly organizing my schedule, Deighen connecting me to all the right people, Nicole giving me nutritional advice, and my dear friend Joe organizing fundraisers all the way in Sierra Leone. This on top of offers to host gatherings and write news articles, to drive the Delica and give me massages. And then there are the generous donations sent from family and friends and strangers too. Wow. Thank you. 

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It’s been days and many musings since I last wrote. Lately, it feels like I’m being served up a huge buffet of tasks, with left overs that I just can’t seem to finish; blogging being one of the most lamentable. You’d think my hunger would’ve diminished by now, but I feel like taking action to find alternatives to the tar sands is feeding my soul. Here’s a bit of an update in case you haven’t heard the latest…   

For the past year and half, I have been following the tar sands developments with mounting concern. It began as a distant storm on the horizon of my consciousness that moved in quickly and grew to be a torrent of conviction. Conviction is when the mind and the heart agree upon the truth, and when there is a tsunami of conviction swirling in your gut it wants OUT real bad!! It simply became impossible for me NOT to do something, and that is when this blog was born. 

I began reading more about the impacts of an oil spill, not just on the land, but on our economy and communities. I started listening to TED talks, reporters and analysts all stating in nearly perfect unison that the tar sands are a disaster- literally the largest industrial complex in the world that is accelerating climate change, destroying the boreal forest and causing rising rates of cancer in neighbouring communities.  

It also became abundantly clear that our government has absolutely no intention of listening to the legitimate concerns being raised about the tar sands atrocity and pipeline projects like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and the one that Kinder Morgan is quietly trying to expand. It became crystal clear that I needed to do more.  

Conversations with thoughtful and compassionate friends helped to reveal my path. I would run across BC this summer, connecting with others to find alternatives to the tar sands. The campaign is called Band Together BC.

Piping and shipping crude from the tar sands threatens so many of our values as British Columbians- clean air and water, pristine ecosystems, vast wilderness and recreational areas, traditional livelihoods, First Nations’ culture and beliefs, tourism and land-based industries, even our democratic process- that many people are taking a stand against building pipelines and allowing oil supertankers to enter the inside passage.

But there are those that work directly and indirectly in the oil and gas industry and are understandably protective of their jobs. There are others that may not know much about the issues and are confused by conflicting reports in the media and statements provided by government spokespeople.

Regardless of my personal standpoint against expanding the tar sands, I think it is critical to hear and share other perspectives with the world. The tar sands is a project that has huge ramifications for all Canadians, therefore it is a conversation to which we should ALL contribute.

So this summer, I will run through the communities located along highway 16 (communities that will perhaps be the most directly impacted by the Northern Gateway pipeline) to capture perspectives via film and social media that will hopefully foster a dialogue (on the ground and virtually) on how we can transition from mining the dirtiest oil in the world to building an economy based on clean renewable energy. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I believe it begins with dialogue. 

Canada currently lacks a national energy strategy. The dearth is being filled by a get rich quick scheme that is stealing our future and pawning it to China (and other eager markets). We need a plan that leads us towards a clean energy future- one in which all of us- including our kids-can prosper.  I believe we all need to be part of creating that plan, to make sure that it truly serves EVERYONE’S needs. 

Together we can and must find ways of creating jobs and revenue that don’t rely on the wholesale destruction of our land and communities. 
 
There is much to be done. Fortunately, there are many passionate, unstoppable people that are doing everything they can to raise awareness and engage people on the tar sands issue. It’s been an affirming, heart expanding experience to connect with total strangers on an issue that is one of the most critical of our time. Everywhere I go, I find my tribe. And while sometimes my heart aches at the dark prospects and the terrifying trajectory we humans have set ourselves upon, I am joyously inspired by the people I’ve met and keep meeting that are envisioning a bright future and taking action to realize that dream. 

 

 

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