Viridorari is an environmentally focused blog. The mission of Viridorari is to help you incorporate healthier, "greener" habits into your life, to benefit you, the people around you, and the environment.

I am walking in the Climate March from New Mexico to Washington D.C.! Stay tuned to Viridorari to read about my adventures! Also follow bluegirl3666 and climatemarch on Instagram for picture updates. Check out www.climatemarch.org

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Letter to the Future

During my time on the Climate March I have come to realize that the climate crisis is more dire than I could have ever imagined. The reality of the situation has affected me very deeply and has begun to lead me down paths I didn't even know existed. Since this transformation in my thinking about the future has been very personal, I thought it would be more appropriate to share this in a letter rather than a typically-formatted blog post. The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Chris, the Climate March's Colorado State Coordinator and my companion, while on the bus from Montpelier, Ohio to New York City.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pushing My Weight


A response to the Climate March I hear a lot is, "Isn't it hypocritical to say you're walking to fight climate change while you're using all of those gas-guzzling vehicles?"

Yes, you caught us. The Climate March is not fossil-fuel free. We have a gear truck, a kitchen truck, a truck to haul our Eco-Commodes and several personal vehicles. We rely heavily on these vehicles to make it through our days, and attempts to reduce our number of vehicles are often stymied due to the wide variety of needs from our diverse community.

In response to people being skeptical of the March because of our vehicle use, I'd like to quote two of my fellow Marchers. During one of our emotionally-intense group meetings about our fossil-fuel usage, Jeffrey Czerweic pointed out that it takes fossil fuels to produce wind turbines and solar panels. My fellow marcher Mack McDonald often cites the following statistic: if every single American started living a truly sustainable lifestyle tomorrow, it would only cut about 20 percent of our emissions. The other 80 percent comes from industry and corporations.

It's true; we need to drastically cut our carbon emissions if we have any hope of even a bearable future on this planet. While it is important to make changes in our own lives, it is even more important to tackle industry, consumerist capitalism and wasteful individualism. Currently, our daily lives and the resources we use and think we 'need' encourage this system, and one way we can bring down the giant is to remove our monetary support from it.

That's why, inspired by my fellow marcher Kelsey Erickson, who has been carrying her own gear in a cart or a backpack for most of the March, I decided to start using a cart in Nebraska and I am still going strong now.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Fruits of Our Labor — Crossing the proposed KXL route

Q: What is the Keystone XL Pipeline?
A: The Keystone XL Pipeline, or KXL, is a proposed 1,179 mile pipeline from a Canadian company called TransCanada. It would carry crude tar sands oil from extraction sites in Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb., where it would connect with the southern section of the pipeline to run to refineries in Texas. Tar sands is dirtier than other crude oils and emits more carbon dioxide in its lifetime. Not to mention, if spilled, it is nearly impossible to clean up due to its heavy, sticky nature, especially in water. Because it crosses an international border, the pipeline requires presidential approval.

Q: When the KXL project was first proposed in 2008, it was considered a 'done deal.' Why hasn't it passed yet? 
A: Activists and concerned citizens.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Double the Trouble

As I marched my way across the gorgeous state of Colorado, I couldn't get over the mountains, the wide open spaces, the crazy rock formations, the gentle forests and the big blue sky. At that time, I was still settling into March life and was perpetually amazed by the kind and welcoming spirits of my fellow Marchers. I noticed something else too; I couldn't stop thinking about how much my friend Rob Lister would love the Climate March.

One night as we camped in the San Isabel National Forest — which remains to be one of my favorite campsites so far — I sat down beside a bubbling stream near our campsite, dipped my feet into the cool water and wrote Rob a letter. I described to him the beauty of Colorado, the physical challenge of walking 15 to 20 miles each day and the incredible new family I had acquired in the Marchers. I ended the letter by begging him to come out and see it for himself.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Crossing Over — Colorado to Nebraska

Note: This post has been in the works for far to long. It should have gone up long ago, and I apologize that it hasn't. I am currently focusing most to all of my time on the Climate March and my responsibilities here. Keeping the March going logistically, financially, and successfully takes a lot of work, and we only have about thirty to forty people to spread it between at any given time. I am re-committing myself to catching up on my blog, and I hope you'll bear with me as I work to catch you up from Nebraska to now (Iowa)!

****

Today I am writing from a gas station in Benkelman, NE, during our second day of walking through Nebraska. Yesterday, our crossing from Colorado into Nebraska (which also happened to be the Climate March's halfway point) was absolutely magical, and the day only got better from there.

Our last full day in Colorado ended in an unforgettable sunset, and we all gathered around to sing our sunset song, which goes like this:

Golden sun going down
Gentle blue giant spin us around
All through the night
Safe till the morning light
This pretty planet spinning through space
Your garden, your harbor, your holy place
(repeat)


 Singing our song

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Vow of Silence


A marcher named Sean took a vow of silence at the start of the march. Her original intention was to march the entire 3,000 miles, from LA to DC, in complete silence. She recently ended her silence early, as she needed a change in energy, but she and another silent marcher, Mack, asked the marching community to take shifts with silence. The purpose of constantly having someone silent on the march is so we can represent those who have no voice in this issue.

It is my turn to carry this torch. Ben just finished his 10 day silence, and in his place I will be silent for a week (at least that’s what I’m thinking now). Earlier in the march, before I was here, the marchers organized a week of actions that anyone around the world could participate in to show solidarity with the Cowboy and Indian Alliance. The Alliance camped out in D.C. for about a week to demand climate action. One of the daily actions was a day of silence, which I partook in. I really enjoyed it, and all of my friends were impressed, but it was really hard and I slipped up a few times.

Despite the difficulty of the task, I was particularly inspired to do this after yesterday’s march, in which we witnessed a concentrated animal feeding operation. We walked by another one today. 

They are overcrowded, do not have much space to move in, and are standing in deep mud and manure.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Come What May

As we are now entering summer in the Midwest, the Climate March is preparing to deal with major storms, including tornadoes. Last night after walking about 16 miles we arrived at our camp — the beautiful Riverside Park in Fort Morgan, Colorado. It seemed like a small paradise, with lots of trees and a pond and a swimming pool with showers. But not long after dinner our little paradise turned into chaos.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

America the Beautiful


Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of what it takes to power the American way of life. I think, judging by this sign we encountered, you can tell it wasn’t pretty.
We did a poor job of following the sign's instructions. Sorry not sorry.

During our first day out of Denver, a 15.5 mile trip to Prairie View High School, we passed through Suncor Energy and the industrial park in which it is housed. Suncor’s name is deceiving; it actually has nothing to do with sunlight. Suncor is a tar sands oil refining company, the same stuff that would be pumped through the KXL Pipeline if built, and the same stuff that is destroying Alberta, Canada via the extraction process.

When we arrived at Suncor’s main office building, 4.8 miles into our walk, we staged a small performance. We were all wearing surgical masks over our faces, and my fellow marcher, Berenice, started to cough. Saying that she couldn’t breathe, she went to take her mask off, and everyone yelled:

“No, Berenice, no! The air is polluted! Keep your mask on!”

But she took it off and coughed harder, and then collapsed to the ground and “died.” Someone held a sign over her that said “Suncor-pse,” and we all grieved around her. This all took place on the lawn in front of Suncor’s company sign.

We carried Berenice to the cemetery across the street and laid her to rest in front of a tombstone, and I gave eulogy for her.

“Here lies Berenice Tompkins, dead from pollution from tar sands oil refineries like Suncor. She breathed the air and it killed her. What world are we living in where we have no clean air? Let Berenice’s death be a reminder to all of us of those who have been silenced, sickened, and killed by air pollution, and other forms of pollution that come from the oil and gas industry. Rest in peace, Berenice, you beautiful martyr.”

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Colorado Springs

On June 10th we had a very successful rally in Colorado Springs with over 150 people in attendance. Some are saying that it's the best rally we've had so far. Since I haven't been here the whole time, I can't really speak to that, but I can say it was pretty damn awesome!


Marcher Marie with a young local activist! 

 Jerry with a Climate March banner!
Just before the rally started, I got my first care package from home! Thanks Mom!

 The Climate Justice Gypsy Band performing at the rally

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Faces and Stories

In Fort Garland, Colorado, we had a stay day and camped for two nights across the street from the old fort, which is now a museum. On the second day locals came to visit us at the museum, and we spoke to each other and watched a documentary together.

That day I gave a speech (which you can view here), and afterward many people approached me individually and told me how much I had inspired them and how much my words had resonated with their own lives. I was deeply touched, and all I could say in response was how they were the inspiring ones, not me.

Fort Garland was my first one-on-one interaction with locals along the route since starting my journey in Taos, NM. In my speech, which was unplanned, I told them about what was happening at my own home with the threat of dangerous gas storage looming over my lake. After telling my story, I made a promise I had not expected to make — I told the people of Fort Garland that just as I had given them my story, I would take their stories and carry them with me as I walked. Their stories have renewed my passion, and I want to share some of them here.