Eco Trip Recap Video
NYC Live Earth Part 3: The End is the Beginning
After my short spell of being bummed out, I returned to the concert to witness some awesome stuff. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. got up and gave a kick-a$$ speech (some clips are included in the video below). Melissa Etheridge played an awesome set, too. I grabbed a bite to eat and came back in time for the Dave Matthews Band and Smashing Pumpkins, who also played great sets.
(There was a weird montage of young kids telling us how the planet is endangered and how we need to change the way we live. Although the spirit of the video was good, it was a little creepy in a Hitler Youth Camp/brainwashing sort of way)
(the stage lights always look cooler when the sun goes down!)
After the Pumpkins, I charged myself with the duty of quenching my thirst before the last two sets. I went down to the MSN hospitality tent to score one last beer before it closed up its bar – but alas! alack! No more beer was to be found!!!
Dumbfounded and a bit discouraged, I stood outside the tent kicking a rock (metaphorically speaking) when I just happened to bump into one Mr. Tratt from the MSN/Live Earth PR Team. He inquired as to whether I had been backstage yet today, and I humbly informed him that I had not!
He immediately tossed a Live Earth Staff badge over my neck and whisked me off backstage, where I found my way over to the corner of the front row! I met Mike Hedge there, who had also obtained a photo badge, and soon enough I was down in front of Roger Waters for the second-to-last set of the night!
(Roger Waters was the creative force behind Pink Floyd’s albums Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall!)
(The ever-resourceful Leslie Gant was already down in the photo section! That’s Alec Baldwin behind her in the blue shirt)
(A giant pig balloon emerged from stage left during a tune from Dark Side)
I fully enjoyed the close proximity to the performers afforded by the staff and photo passes, and got to see Cameron Diaz introduce the Police (who played a few little tunes) and the Police introduce Al Gore and Al Gore say goodnight to all, and to all a goodnight.
(The Police are playing on stage behind me)
Come on my ride through the better half of the NYC Live Earth Concert by watching the video below!
I realized that if it weren’t for my appreciation of beer, the nectar of the gods, I would never have been backstage and so close to the action for the last two sets of the show! A wise man once said, “Beer: the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems” (Do you know who? Scroll to end for the answer).
Thanks to my fellow teammates as well as Jordon, Sam from Mr Youth and Marty from Microsoft for helping make the Eco Trip happen. Thanks to all the great people on both coasts and in between who helped create our adventure by providing such great Green Challenges for us. And thanks to all of you who have logged onto our site and my blog to keep abreast of our adventures. Although this seems like the end, it’s really just the beginning. The rest of the adventure is up to you.
– Michael M. McGuire, Eco Trip 2007
* * * *
answer: Homer J. Simpson
NYC Live Earth Part 2: Feeling the Gravity
As we got off the bus at the Meadowlands, we were sucked into the vortex of Live Earth! The crowds were gathering, getting funky, and making their way into the venue.
(making out way into Giants Stadium on 07/07/07)
We were fortunate to have access to the MSN hospitality tent (as well we should!) where we were able to stay cool and have a drink and a snack before heading to the nosebleed section of the stadium. Yes, it’s true: Live Earth is so big, even the Eco Trippers could only score upper deck seating.
(above: the MSN hospitality tent. Can you say “open bar!” I can! below: my view from section 323 early in the day.)
Knowing that the show was going last over eight hours, I paced myself and tried not to get too excited too early. Although I am not an avid hip-hopper, I appreciated the energy Ludacris and Kanye brought to the stage. Since I play guitar, I admired John Mayer’s facility with this classic rock and roll instrument. Later in the day, Melissa Etheridge would come to the stage and tear it up.
And although the concert was pretty rockin, I felt this nagging feeling that something was wrong with the whole scene…
Click below to join the journey:
Come back soon to reach the peak in Part 3: The Green Lining.
NYC Live Earth Part 1: Going Public
Seven-seven-o-seven was a bit relentless! Marshana and I made it to do an early morning interview with WABC – channel 7 here in New York. More than past segments, this one really focused on our “eco tips” to help people reduce their waste and use of pollutants.
(Above: WABC is a real New York City news room! Below: Marshana waits in the Green Room. I love that they call it that.)
We brought in a variety of props and talked through them. First, we displayed the blue tote bags that are quickly becoming America’s favorite way to replace plastic shopping bags.
Second, I told them all about the neat corn plastic (PLA) containers that biodegrade. To my surprise, the hostess asked me how long they take to decompose. Also to my surprise, I knew the answer! (in “industrial composting conditions” – 140 deg F + 90% humidity – it takes about 90 days. In your backyard compost pile? I have no idea).
Lastly, we showed off our collection of “green” household cleaning products. Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and Shaklee all make great products that use vegetable-based surfactants rather than petroleum-based. They are also biodegradable and tend to use natural scents and no dyes. I highly recommend the first two brands (I use them myself!) but haven’t had experience with the third, although it does have a good reputation. Of course, cleaning your floors with warm water, some lemon juice and baking soda does the job, too!
Okay, okay, on with the show: After a nap back in Queens, I took our good old public transportation system into town to meet my colleagues so we could get underway with the concert festivities. But then, this video can speak for me:
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Live Earth experience. It gets better and worse and better again.
Our Planet is a Blessing
I think a lot of us understand “doing the right thing” cerebrally but sometimes lack a direct connection to the value of our lives. There’s an obese alcoholic man down the block who seems to be standing in the same place panhandling every time I walk down Queens Blvd. I don’t have any animosity toward him but I don’t feel that he’s using his gift of life very well.
I went out for a run Thursday evening after our green challenge. It was raining but still hot outside. Although I was initially hesitant to go and get wet, I immediately changed my mind once I set foot to the pavement. I can’t express what a glorious, invigorating sensation it was to know run through the streets and to be alive and to feel the big drops of rain pelting on my hot skin. I was totally in the moment and felt a heightened state of awareness for those twenty minutes or so. I felt like I would really miss that physical sensation after I die.
Sometimes it hits me how insignificant one human life is in the scope of the universe. One human’s 80 years in comparison to the 4.5 billion years our planet has been around is like a drop of water in the ocean. Yet sometimes a single person can destroy countless others (Hitler), inspire the world (Gandhi), or discover a breakthrough that helps all of humanity (Jonas Salk). So even though a lot of people (sometimes myself included) feel like their efforts don’t matter, we cannot write off any single person. Never underestimate the impact one person with a vision can have on the world.
We’ve all been given time on this planet – some more than others. It’s up to each individual to decide how to use it despite the economic, racial or educational cards we’ve been dealt. For me, I feel best – the most “whole” - when I live according to my convictions. And having run through Mother Earth’s rain, I know I need to keep that rain pure and our earth healthy, so I’ll keep doing my damndest to tread as lightly as possibly and convince others to do the same.
And if you’re reading this and not feeling inspired to live bigger, please ask yourself this: If I die tomorrow can I look back and be proud of what I did with my time on Earth?
I hope the answer is yes. If the answer is no, that’s great too. There’s time to turn it around. But that time is now. Carpe diem.
Live Earth Eve
On Friday 7/6/07 the Eco Trip team hit the streets in NYC for its final Green Challenge: presenting our eight environmental truths and passing out Eco Tips to New Yorkers.
(Left: Marshana found a tasty local peach; Right: McGuire munches on a juicy tomato from NJ)
We stationed ourselves in Union Square, where there was a farmer’s market in progress offering lots of locally grown and organic goods. Marshana and McGuire snatched up some delicious produce to power up their afternoon.
(Left: The sign in the foreground reads “Americans represent only 5% of the world’s population but generate 30% of the garbage.” Right: Leslie talks tips – eco tips, that is!)
While spreading the word about Live Earth, we were visited by a crew from Good Morning America! They spent about half an hour with us, shooting footage and interviewing us about the eco trip, Live Earth, and our perspectives.
(Above: McGuire chats with the crew from GMA; Left: A young man named Omri sports his ideals)
Union Square was a great location for the event because it’s busy and the farmer’s market drew a lot of open-minded people to the area.
After a few hours of toiling and eco tripping in the hot sun, we broke up and later reconvened for dinner at Tao, an upscale Asian bistro in mid-town. We dined with representatives from Microsoft, Mr. Youth, and the winners of the Live Earth Battle of the Bands, The Walkup, who will play at Brooklyn’s Union Pool on Sat. 7/21.
(Left: A 58th Street sunset; Right: The eco babes are ready for a night on the town)
The ambience at Tao was a cross between a club and a restaurant. They had a DJ and live saxophonist playing, the crowd seemed on the younger, hipper side, and the food was good. We were all delighted to enjoy a night out on the town after our month long journey.
(Upper Left: A giant gold Buddha statue watches over diners at Tao; Upper Right: Leslie and Hedge relaxing at the table. Lower Left: Sean and Alex from the band The Walkup are happy to be treated to dinner; Lower Right: Adam [MSN/Live Earth] won at least $4 from Frank [Mr. Youth] over whether a guy at the next table would get a phone number from the table of cute girls [unfortunately no photo of the girls is available at this time]. )
The last stop of the evening was at a club on 10th avenue. They must have know the Eco Trip team was coming because we got to skip ahead of the long line behind the velvet ropes.
(Marshana, Marty, Alex and Sean in our corner booth at said club)
We partied it up NYC style, but headed out before too long because we had to rest up for the real party – LIVE EARTH!!!
6 Weeks into 1 minute
We have been traveling for about 6 weeks. We have made it to New York. Here is a quick recap of our adventures. Come back soon for more updates from Live Earth!!! www.liveearth.msn.com
Who is in New York? We are!!!! Stay tuned for updated blog.
Washington DCJuly 04
Hot Day on this Warming Live Earth
(L: a sticker I saw on a newspaper stand; below: I and Leslie prepare to chat green living with reporter Allison.)
Leslie and I gave a short interview that actually produced a fan who tracked us down at the National Mall where we were displaying posters with eight “shocking environmental facts” (video coming soon).
It was a very hot day (especially after biking several miles to get there), but we tried our best to chat up the tourists and locals and inform them about Live Earth.
NEXT: LIVE EARTH CONCERT in NEW YORK CITY!!!
posted by Michael McGuire
Saturday was a long busy exciting day. Marshana and I got up before 5am to head to a live interview with DC’s local CBS station, 9 News Now. They have a really nice studio run by pleasant, helpful people.
(above; 9 News Now anchors live and on the air! below: Peggy, me and Marsha – Marsh – “MarshANA” after our interview)
After the interview, I headed to the metro (DC’s subway) and went downtown to grab some breakfast before our second interview of the day at the National Press Club. Leslie and I went there to do a satellite interview for The Weather Channel, which was recorded in Atlanta via satellite and will be shown on the air soon.
(photos: 1) Nat’l Press Club lobby banner; 2) Leslie gets wired up; 3) They have a press room named after Ed Murrow, the subject of the Oscar-nominated film “Good Night, and Good Luck starring David Strathairn)
After stopping back at Union Station to see if Amtrak had a box I left on the train (I lost my checkbook and all my receipts! boo!), I again took the metro – which by the way is immaculate, comfortable and easy to use – out to meet the gang at the East of the River Eco Expo.
(Mike’s Metro Series - UL: The DC underground; UR: I hear the train-a-comin’; LL: You could eat off that floor! LR: Coushy seats, too)
The Expo was organized by the Sierra Club and featured booths with around 40 different clubs, businesses, city agencies and NGOs. See pics and captions below to learn about the interesting people I met and their activities:
Ed Bruske represents D.C. Urban Gardeners, a citizens’ group helping to beautify and educate the community in a sustainable way.
Nina Albert helps ensure a cleaner Anacostia River (and hence a cleaner Chesapeake Bay by working with the Anacostia Waterfront Corp to develop real estate under strict environmental guidelines.
Breana Behrens works with ForestEthics to put the pressure on companies to use recycled paper for their catalogues. And with a smile like hers, who could refuse? Fun fact: The catalogue industry sends 20 BILLION cataloges/year, and 97% are thrown away! Gee whiz!
The ladies on the left work with the Dept of Housing and Community Development to help people acquire housing. Their developments are built to be efficient and eco-friendly.
Claudia and Norma will GREEN – CLEAN YOUR HOME using a variety of environmentally – friendly cleaning products. Check them out at www.ecocleandc.com to learn about and book their services.
Judging by all the neat stuff we encountered at the expo, it is easy to see that 1) there is a lot of eco-activity going on in Washington, and 2) there are lots of opportunities to GET INVOLVED. Whether your skill is gardening, computers, banking, real estate, or law, there are many ways to apply your talent in helping to make DC a greener, healthier place. Look around and get involved!
By the time we headed back across the city to Georgetown, we were all pretty wiped out despite the cheerful smiles the girls display below.
Leslie’s highlights from CLEVELAND, plus links and trivia!
Cleveland has been a great city to visit…I’ll admit I even underestimated what this city has to offer. Little did I know Cleveland is nicknamed “The Comeback City” and now I can see why. I anticipated Cleveland to feel somewhat dirty and industrial (the way I thought Chicago would’ve been), but again, I was caught by surprise!
The downtown had a unique combination of charming storefronts & restaurants with a backdrop of modern skyscrapers, and one of the first things I noticed was how CLEAN the streets were! Right off the bat I felt safe there. In fact, within 30 minutes of us arriving to the train station and unloading our stuff, I was off riding my bike….Because the streets were so deserted, Hedge, McGuire and I opted to cycle to our hotel rather than take a cab there with Marshana and the luggage.
I figured the roads were empty because it was so early in the morning, but throughout our stay in Cleveland I never really saw any congestion. At times it felt almost as desolate as Salt Lake City, but this made biking around a breeze. Because I felt safe riding at nearly any time (day or night), that became my sole mode of transportation. Although they were available, I never had to ride a bus or cab –even to and from service projects!
As for the people, I found Clevelanders to be very engaging. The first night I was at a café downtown (hoping to catch up on work) and I overheard some folks debating about environmental issues. At one point I joined their conversation and spent the rest of the evening chatting with the friendly (and lively) locals!
One of the main highlights of the trip was handing out reusable totes for people to bring to the store (as an alternative to having their groceries bagged in paper or plastic sacks). The Eco Trippers and I headed to Tower City Center (a nearby mall) and were planning to spend several hours there passing out the goods. But before we had a chance to get settled and set up, crowds began to swarm around the boxes!…It was FREEBIE FRENZY. Within an hour we had given away nearly 500 bags, and emptied our entire box of organic T-shirts, too!
Another fun outing was checking out the vibrant and flavorful Westside Market. I enjoyed interacting with the vendors, and I even got to meet the aunt of my college roommate Jacki (a Cleveland native)! She had a bakery stand…yummm. It was neat to see people of all ages in the open-air market browsing and haggling for the best picks. I must say the only letdown was finding out the majority of fruits, veggies, dairy and meat products were imported… not locally grown!
In terms of its eco-friendliness, Cleveland is similar to Chicago by offering drop-off sites for locals to recycle their waste. As of now there are 32 public drop-off sites throughout the city, and they accept ALL materials (meaning you don’t have to sort & bundle your trash).
To find out more about where to recycle in Cleveland, click here. You’ll also find more environmental resources by clicking here. And, if you live in Cleveland and want to know how and what to recycle, click here.
Finally, here are some fun facts about Cleveland, also known as the “City of Bridges” Cleveland is famous for its appreciation of sports, arts and entertainment. Indeed, every time I rode by the stadium there were crowds lining the streets eager to catch a game, and there was always a hub of people waiting to check out the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (though I never got a chance to visit it!).
One thing I was particularly impressed with was Lake Erie. I knew it would be large, but I wasn’t picturing it to look like an ocean! Standing along the water’s edge I could not see a single piece of land in the distance, not even miles and miles away…
Little known facts about Cleveland:
Famous Clevelanders include Drew Carey, Paul Newman, Halle Berry, Phil Donahue, Henry Mancini and Arsenio Hall. The city is also best known for: The Browns, The Indians, and the Cavaliers, Playhouse Square, The Cleveland Orchestra and The Cleveland Clinic.
Other eco-friendly sites related to Cleveland:
Clean Air Conservancy: www.cleanairconservancy.org / Cleveland Green Building Coalition: www.clevelandgbc.org / EcoCity of Cleveland: www.ecocitycleveland.org / The Environmental Fund for Ohio: www.efohio.org / Environment Health Watch: www.ehw.org / NOACA: www.noaca.org
Hedge and McGuire rode out to Ohio City (the west part of Cleveland and found EcoCity Cleveland, a non-profit environmental think tank and public outreach organization.
We met its web editor, Marc Lefkowitz, as well executive director, David Beach.
(left: Marc and McGuire check out the rooftop garden; below: Hedge chats it up with Mr. Beach)
Marc shared some time showing us around their green building (which houses several other environmental non-profits) and talking to us about EcoCity Cleveland’s initiatives.
ECC disseminates its message through all areas of life in the region, from the arts to transportation. Check out their online community, Green City, Blue Lake to read their blog, follow links to their network of local organizations, and check out their event calendar for ways to get involved in community activities.
(a rooftop solar array [left] and geothermal cooling system [right] are two of the building’s green features)
We were stoked when the Clevelanders near the Tower City Center snatched up all our Eco Trip tote bags. We made sure to impress upon them the need to reuse bags when they shop. Incidentally, Melissa and I bring our own bags when we go grocery shopping and it is great! Not only do you spare yourself a closet full of wimpy plastic bags, but you set an example for other shoppers and the store workers, too.
(Left: It’s a carry-all!! It’s European! Right: Swarmed by the masses!)
Chicago NBC 5
posted by Michael McGuire
We were invited for a live interview at NBC 5 on Sunday morning. The hosts, Rob and Zoraida, and floor director Bill were most courteous. The interview went well (Marshana and McGuire did the on-camera portion), and we even got to chat with the crew and talent after the broadcast.
(The Eco Trip Team at Chicago’s NBC Channel 5; Hedge behind lens)
We visited Greenmaker Supply while in Chicago. They come from a tradition of family run building suppliers and are a leader for green building supplies in the Chicago area.Owner Joe Silver showing us his featured article about his store and took his time to give us the grand tour. He and his partner work to educate the public about the benefits of building green and then provide healthy alternatives to conventional materials.
As a new father, Joe is especially motivated to reduce the toxicity of his home by using low-VOC paint, fermaldehyde-free cabinetry, and biodegradable cleaning products.
The Eco Trippers dig his Eco vibe. Keep on the lookout for their upcoming feature article in Entrepreneur Magazine!
Check out their site at www.greenmakersupply.com
posted by Michael McGuire
Our first Green Challenge in Chicago was to distribute several hundred ‘plastic’ containers. Sounds strange? Here’s the hook: the containers are made from PLA – polylactic acid – which comes from corn!
These containers, which resemble your average plastic deli salad container or restaurant take-home box, come from a natural, renewable resource and require less energy to make than their petroleum-based alternatives.
We persuaded individuals, restaurants, and cafeterias into using these items. The folks to whom we spoke were very interested in its biodegradability (clearly marked on the boxes), implying that it would break down naturally like food waste when composted.
GM Plant in Janesville, WI
We visited the plant in Janesville.
Blog posting soon
Eco Tripping Across the USA
posted by Michael McGuire
Marshana Ritchie (NYC), Leslie Gant (LA), Mike Hedge (LA), and myself (Mike McGuire) have been traveling for three weeks now. Our adventure, the Windows Live Spaces Eco Trip, has taken us from Seattle to our current location (Chicago) by (primarily) train and bike as we get involved in environmental activities across the country.
We have been so busy on our trip I haven’t been able to get out those weekly updates I hoped to do, but since it’s now mid-voyage, it’s a perfect time to fill you in the Eco Trip team’s adventures getting involved with eco-activities, meeting people, and getting covered by the press!
If you have been following our/my blogs at all ( spacesecotrip.spaces.live.com and michaelmcguire2007.spaces.live.com), you have been able to see some of our activities through the pictures, stories, and videos we’ve been putting up.
If not, here’s a quick rundown:
Seattle: volunteered with Earthcorps removing invasive species and hung out with friends Jim and Kelly Gall;
San Francisco: worked with Save the Bay on a wetland restoration project, visited the only LEED certified hotel in the country. Also met ‘complete stranger’ Amanda Boe who showed me SF’s recycling program, and her green-building architectural firm (my favorite video so far is here). I also interviewed a US Green Building Council member and attended a USGBC mtg with a global warming expert. Had beer and food with Susie Ochs and Sander. Many videos from my SF visit.
Salt Lake City: we helped TreeUtah plant willows in their community garden and assisted Bend in the River by pulling invasive weeds in their riverside environmental park. Met with SLC mayor’s environmental adviser and visited the Red Butte Botanical Gardens (some great pics on my blog). Met many cool people.
Denver: Picked organic strawberries at Berry Patch Farms and brought them to the public downtown. Made a pilgrimage to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) which was cool. Saw the Tuck Family (my aunt, uncle, and cousins).
Denver to Omaha: We drove a car for this leg of the trip, courtesy of Chevy (drove their new Aveo which gets 30+mpg on hwy). Our bike rack and bikes fell off the car at 70 mph on the freeway! I was also interviewed by Nebraska’s NPR station and the story was aired on Friday, June 15 – you can read about/listen to it with real player on this website.
Omaha: Handed out eco “tip” cards and organic cotton t-shirts at the college world series and planted an oak tree with the city park dept. Fox News 42 from Omaha covered our visit and aired a short story on Monday, June 18. The TV broadcast is here: spacesecotrip.spaces.live.com. Also, Melissa flew out to visit and we spent quality time with her cousins, aunt Jeannie and uncle Lanny.
Janesville: We went to Janesville, WI where we visited the GM plant and learned about their E85 (ethanol) vehicles as well as the stringent (and award-winning) environmental measures that govern their assembly plant. They have done a lot of work reducing emissions, energy consumption, and recycling materials at the Janesville facility.
Later this week: The Eco Trippers will hang out in Chicago, distribute reusable (and biodegradable) corn-resin plastic containers and visit some green businesses and other friends. Catch us LIVE on SUNDAY, JUNE 24 on Chicago’s NBC station at 6:30am. That is, if you’re an early bird!
You: Should check out our massive amount of photos, videos, and blogging action on our site www.spacesecotrip.spaces.live.com and click “add as a friend” to enter to win tix to the Live Earth Concert in NYC on 7/7/07. They are giving away a $7K prize package and so far only like 70 people are entered so your chances are pretty good!
Thanks for reading all this. Hope you’re doing great.
Posted by Marshana
A Tree Grows in…Omaha!!!!
Today we had the pleasure of working with The City of Omaha. They were kind enough to send a driver for us bright and early.
So we all piled into the van…with a very special plus one!!! A special guest was flown in to join us!!
The Beautiful Young Lady Standing behind McGuire is his lovely wife of just over one year!! Had it nort been for Melissa, McGuire wouldn’t have even known about the audition for this trip!!! So we all are very grateful and thankful to her for her role in “lending” McGuire to us!!
We arrived at our secret location early and ready to go. I call it the “Secret” location because The City kept our assignment a surprise for us. And surprised we were when we arrived at Miller’s Landing…the same location as Kris & Tim’s Wedding that I had attended just two days prior!!! The City of Omaha had provided us with our very own tree to plant!!
Not before long we all get together and planted that tree.
Leslie & I raising the tree into position…I’m not sure why, but I thought it was pretty fun!!
Melissa joined in and helped fill in the hole that was dug for the tree. With all of us pitching in, the tree was filled in quite soon and ready to grow!!
After a fun filler morning of tree planting we got a great opportunity to to a interview with the Local News on Fox 42!! We were so excited. After freshening up, we were ready for the camera. Leslie took the lead did the interview on behalf of the team. She did great!!!
After a great day we took of to get our bikes out of the shop. Remember, the bikes were damaged in their “Trip Down the Highway” in Colorado. So Ken, our driver for the day, dropped us off at the bike shop where they were repaired. In all of the excitement I forgot to take pics of us maneuvering our bikes through the Omaha Streets that are kind of like highways. It’s days like this I miss the streets of Salt Lake City. Their streets were so WIDE and biker friendly!!!! However, we made it back to the hotel safe and sound.
Tomorrow morning we say goodbye to Omaha. Which is bittersweet for me. This has been my favorite City so far because of the wonderful people I met here. This Midwest Hospitality is something to write home about!!!!
I do have a train ride to look forward to…I have come to love the train very much!!! Well I’m off to get packing!!!
‘Til Next Time,
Miss Earth New York 2007!!!
College World Series
Posted by: Marshana
The College World Series of Baseball!!!!
Before my journey to Omaha, I had NEVER heard of The College World Series of Baseball. Today I had the pleasure of experiencing it first hand.
Leslie and I hit the main are to spread the word of our trip, and encourage people to be more “Eco-Friendly”. Armed with some Organic Cotton Tee Shirts as “Give-Aways” we interacted with hundreds of people.
Les & I were so busy spreading the good news, we missed a jewel of Omaha’s “Green”-ness. Luckily Steve and Doug pointed it out to us.
The Trash Cans had the phrase “Keep Omaha Beautiful”
As it turns out, “Keep Omaha Beautiful” is the Mayor’s slogan. It’s a campaign to encourage people to have pride in Omaha and do their part to help preserve it. We thought it was pretty cool.
The people at the event really looked out for us. They gave us water to cool us off and great info about the days events.
All in all today was great day!! We interacted with hundreds of people….gave out who knows how many shirts and cards. We got to experience Omaha in Full Bloom!!!
Tomorrow, we are off to work with the City. They are taking us to a park to participate in a clean up. We have to get up pretty early.
‘Til Next Time,
Miss Earth New York 2007
Driving to Omaha
Posted by: Leslie also check out Marshana’s post about the drive.
While driving we were on NPR. Here’s the Link
Adventures en route to Omaha for the Eco Trippers (and their poor bikes)…
Friday June 15th was a memorable day for us Eco Trippers! We left Denver, CO that afternoon–hoping to arrive in Omaha, Nebraska early enough for McGuire to see his family friends. Along the way we also had planned to visit an eco-friendly car wash (Plum Creek Auto Spa in Lexington, NE).
Sadly, we were unable to do either of those things. Not long into our drive, Hedge and I were in the backseat joking about the bikes strapped to the roof of our car, and how rickety they looked up there.
“Imagine if they flew off!” one of us said.
Well, we didn’t have to imagine.
Within minutes of us cruising on 76 (a two-lane highway), the four of us felt a rumble and the car swerve a bit. I jerked to the side in time to see ALL FOUR BICYCLES FLY OFF THE EDGE and bounce into the road behind us. They were still strapped to the rack, fully intact together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK GOD no one was hurt and McGuire was able to keep steady control of the wheel, because there was a semi-truck to our right, and a line of cars behind us.
We pulled over and luckily the other vehicles were able to dodge the bikes, too. Dwight and Paula Taylor were in a van behind us and they later became the heroes of our story (they were smart not to tailgate us, as our bikes landed DIRECTLY in their path). The good samaritan couple pulled over and helped us drag the bikes to the side, and together we assessed the damage.
Before long a cop came over to the scene, but not because he heard about our accident.
He was en route to go help a stranded cow get off the highway.
THANKS AGAIN, Dwight and Paula!!!
That night we pulled into a historic rest stop to get out some energy and refuel with some grub. There we met two very awesome gals Tanya and Julie (at Village Inn), who were very enthusiastic about our trip. They so generously offered us bottles of cold water to send us on our way, and I gave them two of our ECO TRIP T-shirts as a thank you… In retrospect, that scene was rather humorous given that we had stopped at a TRADING POST!
Other highlights of the day include:
-Hearing a story about us Eco Trippers on our car radio (McGuire had interviewed with NPR news earlier and it was broadcasting from Lincoln, NE)
While driving we were on NPR. Here’s the Link
-The electrical outlet in our car blew a fuse, which left Hedge and I without power (we had 4 hours left of our drive and were working on our computers in the backseat). So we took a pit-stop at Walmart to find a replacement. THAT errand alone could be a whole blog in itself. We’ll leave it at that….
-Later that night we were attacked by a swarm of moths and unidentified flying insects at gas station in rural Nebraska…
-AT LAST, minutes before 1:00 am we pulled into our beloved hotel in Omaha. We clapped and cheered because the bikes had remained fully intact for the remainder of our drive! Luckily reservations were made beforehand, so we were looking forward to crashing in our beds within seconds of our arrival.
Only we didn’t.
For some reason there was a glitch with our reservations and the rooms were given away.
Normally Omaha is a quiet, low-key town, with the exception of the time during the COLLEGE WORLD SERIES. And THIS happens to be that weekend. In other words, there was no room at the Comfort Inn for us Eco Trippers, and all other hotels in the city were booked. We were stranded!!
Get ready for this miracle.
While we groggily pondered our situation in the parking lot, we met a couple named Tim and Kris. They were getting MARRIED later that day (now Saturday June 16). They had reserved and pre-paid for rooms for their wedding guests, but at the last minute some of the guests had canceled. Unfortunately the hotel policy would not refund Kris and Tim for those rooms.
So they GAVE them to us.
Can you believe that!?
Kris had left her bridal gown and the bridesmaid dresses in the bathroom and entrusted us (4 strangers!) to keep an eye on them for the night. Is that unbelievable or what?
That night we slept soundly knowing we would soon be returning our rental car to the dealership. Though grateful we didn’t have to cross the plains in a covered wagon (like my ancestors), the Eco Trippers and I have less worries and responsibilities by relying on public transportation for the remainder of the trip. Hopefully our bikes will be fixed soon (they’re currently at a repair shop in Omaha)!
Pictured here are two fellows we met at our hotel. They are high school baseball coaches who brought their teams here for the College World Series. Which brings us to our next event… The next day we went to Rosenblatt Stadium (Sunday June 17) to hand out eco-friendly T-shirts and tip cards to promote environmental awareness! http://www.cwsomaha.com
Stay tuned for more!
..hope you dads had a great FATHERS DAY!!!
Berries, Biofuel, and Beer
posted by Michael McGuire
Berries, Biofuel, and Beer
My second day in Denver was an up and down sorta thing. We went to the 16th street mall downtown to distribute the organic strawberries we had procured the day before, but it was surprisingly challenging! It went something like this:
Me: “Would you like a fresh organically grown strawberry picked yesterday.”
Random stranger: “No thanks.” (he/she walks away)
Me: ”You don’t want any of my fresh, delicious, FREE fruit!? Okay, freak!!”
But I didn’t really say that last part. It was more like:
Me: (meekly) “Okay…have a nice day.”
(Leslie tempts a stranger to sample some fruit…rather biblical sounding, isn’t it?)
I guess we are so inundated with stealth marketing, commercials, and internet pop-ups that everyone immediately thinks you’re trying to sell them something when you approach them on the street. It was a little depressing getting rejected when we were GIVING AWAY this wonderful locally grown produce.
(Our sweet display on a beautiful day)
Since it took a long time to dole out the berries (yes, “BERRIES,” Hedge), we started giving away larger quantities of berries – frequently accompanied by our rockin’ organic cotton Eco Trip T-shirts, and that seemed to work.
The bright side of the day for me was splitting from the group to make a pilgrimage to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, CO. I took a bus out to NREL and went to the visitor center. They have a number of informative displays that break down renewable energy in its various incarnations to an easily comprehensible level.
(The entry way of the NREL vistor center)
I spoke with Sean McVay, a volunteer, about NREL and his interests. He is a consultant interested in promoting renewable energy (RE), and pointed out that the visitor center receives visitors of all levels of interest and knowledge regarding RE, from neophytes to experts in the field.
(Above: The NREL facility; Left: A Bergey 1500 Wind Turbine; Below: Volunteer Sean McVay assists NREL visitors)
Although I was not able to visit the actual lab (security is a high priority due to the threat of corporate and foreign spies! Cool!), I did meet an NREL staff member on the bus ride back to Denver. Noah Weiss, a wacky young biochemical engineer, (who tests and develops biofuels like cellulose, ethane, and biodiesel) told me that decided to pursue a career in renewables after he stayed up late one night during his sophomore year of high school and chose his life path!
Noah says that everyone needs to really contemplate his or her carbon footprint – that every consumer purchase and lifestyle decision has a “carbon tax” – and learn to adapt our lifestyles to reduce this footprint.
In other words, we need to be more aware that every magazine we read, every shirt we buy, every bottle of water we drink produces CO2 from its production and transportation. It’s up to us to start making lifestyle choices that reduce the amount of CO2, such as biking instead of driving, drinking local water instead of imported varieties, and using more efficient appliances.
Noah really earned a special place in my heart when he handed me a token good for a free pint of beer at the Wynkoop Brewery! Thanks, Noah!
(I’m a proud holder of a Wynkoop “wooden nickel” good for a free handcrafted beer)
Watching the sun go down over a pint of locally produced beer was a satisfying end to a challenging but rewarding day.
16th Street Mall EventJune 14
People at Berrypatch Farms
While at Berrypatch Farms we met lots of people. Jennifer and Vanessa from Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union we glad to talk, and Tim and Claudia, the owners of the farm, were happy to talk with us as well. And some local children didn’t want to miss their chance to say something for the camera.
While there we met up with Tim and Cluadia, the owners of the farm. Berrypatch Farms is a fully organic farm with a Pick-Your-Own style.
To find out more about the farm go to www.berrypatchfarms.com
And also check out Leslie’s extensive photo album from the day:
Train to Denver
Traveling by train again to Denver, CO with all our bags and our bike boxes.
Music By KYTE
Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office
Today the Eco Trippers went to City Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah to meet with Jordan Gates. He is the Environmental Advisor to Mayor Anderson. Jordan was kind enough to take the time to meet with us to discuss environmental issues.
Visit http://www.slcgreen.com/ for more SLC Green info.
Visit Marshana’s Blog for more info about the day:
Miss Earth New York 2007
Salty Lake, Green City
Music by Strangers Die EverydayWe awoke to a beautiful morning in SLC. We biked 4 miles to our first Green Challenge of the day was at the Day Riverside Library with the great people from TreeUtah. Kendy, Rachel, and Andrew are building a community garden in back of the library alongside the Jordan River that will provide the community with fruit, vegetables, and herbs to anyone in exchange for volunteering to maintain the garden.
(above left: Marshana’s a flower child at heart; right: McGuire and Kendy talk shrubs; bottom: some of the foliage to grace the garden’s soil)
The garden is a permaculture project, meaning that it has been designed to be functional, ethical, and long-lasting in addition to beautifying the area. For instance, delicate plants that require lots of care (such as flowers and herbs) are closest to the adjacent building while more hearty plants (like the fruit and shade trees) are furthest away.
We got our hands dirty (in a good way) planting willow trees. Marshana found an earthworm, named it Brooklyn (after her ‘hood), and placed it at the roots of one of the saplings. We also learned how to build a proper terrace around a group of plants so that when water runs down the hill it will collect and help water the plants better in this arid climate.
(above: Marshana plants a willow tree)
After a few hours, we biked our way back downtown for our second Green Challenge, stopping to peruse the wares at the first ever People’s Market – a new farmers’ market featuring locally grown and prepared foods as well as handmade clothing and jewelry (but we forgot to take a picture there!).
Bend in the River has a two-acre park committed to shoreline preservation, maintaining native greenery, and educating the public. Our mission: (this might sound familiar) To weed out the invasive species! In this case, it was Russian Napweed [sic?]. We got down and dirty and pulled up several bags full of the noxious plants (they kill off other plants, aren’t eaten by any animals, and spread like wildfire!). Who thought environmental projects would involve killing plants!?
(left: Steve and Rebekah, volunteers, bag the slain weeds; right: the Eco Trippers jump over their kill)
At the Bend, we worked with a great group of young adults including a college student, local environmentalists, and a biomedical engineer.
We finished off the day by going to dinner with our Eco-Hosts (Kim, Tara, Steve, Rebekah, and Rachel) at One World Everybody Eats. It’s an all-organic, non-profit restaurant (with several locations in the US) whose mission is to feed the public and reduce food waste. To this end, they will give you a meal (yes, for free!) if you are in need. They also have a program where you get a meal for every hour you work. We participated as customers in this unique setting where you simply pay what you feel the meal is worth! (left: One World’s store front sign; right: McGuire, Rachel, Tara, Kim, Rebekah, and Steve enjoying their organic meal on the front porch)
We are glad to have done some good work, met a lot of awesome people, and ate a good meal. We’re looking forward to tomorrow when we visit SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson’s Office!
Go Green Go Fabulous!!!
Going Green does mean that you have to give up any of the creature comforts that you have come to know and love
We got to see “Green” with a little bit of luxury. At first sight the hotel doesn’t look different from any other.
This is a guest room at the Orchard Garden Hotel…looks comfy to me!
The rooms looked great and relaxing…but a closer look revealed the room’s “Green” elements.
The Carpets, toiletries and even the way the laundry is done, are all done in eco-friendly ways…there was even a recycling bin in the room!! But is was still a fabulous room..take a look!!
So, my friends, the lesson today is that “Green” doesn’t fit into any one mold. You can still be “Green” & Fabulous at the same time. So don’t be afraid, do something to be more “Green” in your life today.
Tomorrow Morning we get on board the California Zerphyr on Amtrak to Salt Lake City, Utah!!!! I am excited and looking forward to the approximately 18 hour journey. Traveling cross country by train has been most enjoyable for me…I kind of wish the ride was longer….LOL. I will be reaching out to you all on the train tomorrow…so until next time.
Go Green, Go Fabulous!!!!
Marshana and the Eco Trip Team
Miss Earth New York 2007