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, November 15, 2014

Risky Business

"There it is," Doug announced as we pulled into the rail yard.

I wondered how many people drive by and mistake it for a snow drift. Some parts of the pile were even stained brown, much like how snow drifts get dirty as the winter goes on.

Large, fluffy flakes were falling from the pale grey sky. Although the snow wasn't sticking yet, the gravel that Doug's tires crunched over was already dusted in a layer of white. It was sand that coated the ground, much sharper and finer than the lovely puffs of water crystals descending from the heavens.

Doug pulled closer so I could take a picture. My phone clicked and the shutter closed, capturing the evidence.

"I can't believe it's just sitting out here in the open," I muttered. Doug pointed across the road.

"That's our city's premier family park. When the wind kicks up it blows over there."

As we fell silent again, I could feel the tension building. We were trespassing, after all. Our ruse of being lost tourists would only last so long. A freight truck had pulled into the rail yard ahead of us, and the driver must have noticed us by now.

It was now or never.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Obama, did you hear us knocking?

If you received word that there was a group of people walking 3,000 miles across the United States, and their end destination was your house, would you take the time to greet them when they arrived? If one of these cross-country adventurers wrote you a letter every day of this journey, describing to you in detail the lands she traveled through and the beautiful stories of the hundreds of people she met, would you write back to her?

Friday, October 31, 2014

When all else fails

When I was in Ohio and I called my dad to tell him I was coming home from the Climate March early, I was in a state of both sadness and disbelief. I couldn't believe that Houston-based Crestwood Midstream had received federal approval to store methane in salt caverns along Seneca Lake, my home, and I did not want to leave my March family. He assured me I was doing the right thing.

"You'll still be fighting the same fight."

Seneca Lake

I know he's right, but it's hard to believe that it is the same fight. The type of work and the mood of the situation here at home is entirely different from the Climate March. The March is addressing the broader issue of climate change, which encompasses gas storage on Seneca Lake along with hundreds of other projects around the country and the world. Our primary activity is walking and experiencing our world and the stories of the people living in it. It is our responsibility to bring the concerns, questions, hopes, dreams and prayers of the American citizenry to President Obama's doorstep.  We live in community, and we are constantly surrounded by love and friendship.

Back here in Upstate New York, the story is much different. Although I am making many new friends (none of them my age) and finding a place in a new community of inspiring people, the tone is more focused and serious. While the Climate March is mostly an awareness-raising, mind-awakening crusade across the country, the fight to save Seneca Lake is exactly that; a fight. A battle. We are waging a weaponless war.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Mom is Bartender — Social Stigmas & Climate Change

With a heavy heart, on October 10th I left the Climate March on the same day it crossed into Pennsylvania, and I returned home to New York. Recently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Texas-based company Crestwood Midstream's proposal to store methane in old salt caverns along the Western shore of Seneca Lake. This, I had told myself, would be the one situation that would draw me away from finishing the Climate March early. So, here I am.

I soon discovered that I was not only returning home to a lake in crisis, but also a mother in crisis.

My mom and I during her visit to the Climate March in Ohio

Two nights ago my heart was broken as my mom broke down in tears and sobbed in a panicky voice about the outside pressures she was feeling in her life.

Friday, October 3, 2014

First Amendment Rights Don’t Come First


The day after the largest climate march in history flooded the streets of New York City, a group of 3,000 impassioned citizens flooded Broadway outside the entrance of Wall Street, and a little over 100 of them were arrested after a long day of occupation. Five of the people arrested were my fellow Climate Marchers. 
Here are Marchers Sean Glenn and Mack McDonald, two of the five arrested

Marcher Kelsey Juliana carrying Simon, 6, on her shoulders during Flood Wall Street

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Car-Centered Society


The 1986 Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, which was also a cross-country march seeking to change the world, lost one marcher to a vehicular collision. The Great March for Climate Action has gone for seven months without incident, but that awesome track record came to an end on Friday, Sept. 26. While walking along Route 65 out of Maumee and toward Toledo, a pick-up truck operated by a sleeping driver struck me head on. Unlike the unfortunate Peace Marcher in 1986, I can live to tell the tale.

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.