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 preparing to walk in the Climate March from New Mexico to Washington D.C.! Stay tuned to Viridorari to learn about my progress and how to help me along the way. Check out www.climatemarch.org

Viridorari is on Twitter! Follow this blog with a mission to be up to date with what's new on Viridorari and the world of environmental activists @viridorari


Classes, fundraising, student journalism, and a job are currently keeping me very busy! I don't have a lot of time to focus on the blog at the moment. I'm thankful for your understanding.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Climate March Update #4

Fantastic news: I am 83% of the way to my goal! I am only $63 away from the $3,800 mark — the cost of my marching expenses. After that, the remaining $700 will go toward my plane ticket, equipment, and emergency expenditures while I'm on the march.

Please, once I have reached the $3,800 mark, do not give any more donations on my fundraising site. Donations given online go directly to the Climate March, so you would be overpaying them. 

You can find my fundraising site, which lists all my donors and a progress bar, here.

More great news: The Climate March had a very successful start in Wilmington, CA on March 1st. Over 1,000 people turned out to the rally! The marchers have recently left California and entered Arizona, and the next big rally will be in Phoenix, AZ on April 7th. The mayor of Tucson, AZ has declared April 8th as Climate Action Day in honor the Climate March. I cannot wait to join the march in Taos, New Mexico on May 25th! 

Sponsors
I would like to recognize and thank all of my awesome sponsors. A special thanks to Heron Hill Winery on Seneca Lake for a very generous $10/day sponsorship! Click on the names in the list to check out their websites.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Letter to Gov. Cuomo — LPG Facilities on Seneca Lake

I grew up in the Finger Lakes Region in Geneva, which is at the north end of Seneca Lake. A company called Crestwood (formerly Inergy) has proposed an expansion of liquefied petroleum gas storage in the old salt mines on the Western shore of the lake near Watkins Glen (on the south end of the lake).

Not only are these facilities incredibly dangerous, with potential for leaks and explosions, but Crestwood has plans to transform my home into the "gas storage and transportation hub [of] the Northeast," threatening the health of our tourism and wine industries, which are deeply intertwined. The last time I checked, open brine pits, a flame stack, noise pollution, and increased truck and train traffic are not appealing to the tourists that our region relies upon so much.

Furthermore, this project would only provide 8–10 permanent jobs (not for locals), whereas Hazlitt 1852 vineyards alone employs about 60 people (keep in mind this is one of our many wineries on Seneca Lake).

Over my spring break, I attended a public forum organized by Gas Free Seneca about this issue in Watkins Glen called "Seneca in the Balance" on March 11th. At this forum, local businesspeople, scientists, legal experts, health experts, local officials, and activists all spoke, and every one of them, despite their varying backgrounds and ideologies, agreed that this project would be terrible for Seneca Lake and the 100,000+ who rely upon it for drinking water.

At the forum, pre-written letters to send to Governor Cuomo were distributed for attendees to sign and return to be sent in. I filled out one of these letters, but I wanted to write a more personal one that told my story as a lifetime resident of the Finger Lakes Region. I have sent in that second letter, and I wanted to share it with you hear.

After the letter I will include information on how you can help this cause and learn more about it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Comment sent to Secretary of State John Kerry

The following is a comment I submitted to John Kerry, who will be advising President Obama on his decision about Keystone XL. I wrote this shortly after I returned home from D.C. I was sending out a pre-written message to Secretary Kerry through an activist organization, and there was an option to add in my own words. I ended up writing a small letter while the inspiration from XL Dissent was still coursing through me.

The deadline for the final comment period on KXL was March 7th. According to 350.org, over 2 million people submitted comments opposing KXL, outnumbering supporters 2 to 1.

I wanted to share my message to John Kerry with you. Here it is:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Arrested for the First Time at XL Dissent

 “Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”
― Howard Zinn

** This blog post and my action of civil disobedience are dedicated to the amazing people who took the first steps in a very long walk on March 1st in the Great March for Climate Action. Good luck to all of you and I can't wait to join you in New Mexico in May. The next time I will be in Washington, D.C. will be in November after walking 2,000 miles to get there. www.climatemarch.org If you are interested in helping me on my cross-country journey, email me at viridorari@yahoo.com. You can donate online at anytime here.   

**This also happens to be my 100th post on Viridorari :) I also recently reached 10,000 views. Thank you everyone! 

It felt like a dream as I pulled up to the quaint house tucked away in a lovely neighborhood in Columbia, Maryland. A little over a half a year earlier I had pulled out of that same driveway and began a long six hour drive home by myself, saddened by the idea that I might never see my new friends again. But here I was, showing up at four in the morning with little more than a week's notice with two fellow travelers peering with sleepy eyes out the windshield at the front door of the house.  

I turned off the car and we gathered our things. As we approached the front door Ron opened it for us. We had called them a half an hour ago at their request so that they could be awake to greet us at this ungodly hour. I gave Ron a huge hug, and I would have given RoseMarie one too, but she politely declined because she was sick and didn't want me to catch whatever she had. I introduced them to Katharine and Bill, who originally got in touch with me over an online ride board.

RoseMarie quickly transformed into super-host, showing us to our rooms, providing us with snacks she had prepared specially for our arrival, and asking us what we wanted for breakfast in the morning. She had even put out three different colored sets of towels in the bathroom, one for each of us to choose from. Ron gave us maps and pamphlets to help with navigating the city. Katharine gave me an astonished look that said: "Wow, you weren't kidding when you said they were amazing!"

After driving for a little over five hours straight after a full day of class and work, the guest bed felt like a cloud. But I couldn't fall asleep for almost another half hour; I was too excited. When I woke up in just a few hours I would be heading into Washington, D.C. to be arrested in a peaceful protest.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

XL Dissent: Are You Doing Enough?

Hey all, the following is a post I wrote for the XL Dissent website — xldissent.org. XL Dissent is a student/youth led event that is happening this Sunday, March 2nd, in Washington, D.C. So far, over 1,000 youth are expected to come to the event, and about 300 of us (including myself) will be risking arrest by staging a sit-in in front of the White House. This is to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Bill McKibben, a leading environmentalist, being arrested for protesting the KXL Pipeline in front of the White House using civil disobedience (2011). 

This may be the first time I will be arrested for the cause, but I don't expect it to be my last. I will be dedicating this action to my friends in the Great March for Climate Action, who will begin their amazing journey from California on Saturday, March 1st. Learn more about the cross-country walk at climatemarch.org

If you like the post I wrote, be sure to go to the website and browse the posts written by other participants.

Here it is, let me know what you think in the comments:


XL Dissent: Are You Doing Enough?

August 12th, 2013 was the first time I risked arrest — it was to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline. I left at four in the morning and drove about six hours to Maryland, just outside of D.C., and pulled into a total stranger’s driveway. I sat on the trunk of my car, waiting for him to get home from church, hoping the neighbors wouldn’t get alarmed and call the police in the meantime. Although the idea of lodging with people who I had never met in person was initially a little nerve racking, the kind couple that took me in turned out to be two of the most amazing people I had ever met. My hosts were just one of many incredible parts of that unforgettable weekend.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Climate March Update #3

Hi everyone! I have lots of exciting news with this update!

With only 41 days left to go before the march starts, it's crunch time! I'm so excited for the people who are starting in California, and I wish I could be there with them as they take their first steps. May 23rd cannot come soon enough!

The Climate March recently received a donation of $20,000 to go toward a food truck. That is half of the cost, and the march is currently looking for an organization or business to sponsor the other half. If you know an organization or business that might be interested, please email Zach Heffernen, the Marcher Director, at zach@climatemarch.org.

As for me, I have reached 25% of my fundraising goal! I owe a very special thank you to an anonymous donor who gave $500 to my cause. Your generosity is above and beyond and if you're reading this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You can view a running list of my donors on my CrowdRise fundraising page

I have also received two more gold sponsorships! One comes from the Ithaca Hemp Company in Ithaca, NY, near my college. Ithaca Hemp Company carries lots of awesome hemp products, including clothing. Hemp is one of the most versatile and sustainable materials out there, and can be used to make over 25,000 products! Unfortunately, hemp gets a bad rep because of its close relation to cannabis — or marijuana — and currently it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States. To learn more about hemp and all of its awesome benefits, check out this past Viridorari post. To learn more about Ithaca Hemp Company and all of their epic products, check out their website. Thank you, Ithaca Hemp Company, for becoming the first business to sponsor my march!

The second gold sponsorship comes from the Palmyra-Macedon Rotary Club. This sponsorship is very special to me because I have been involved with Interact and Rotary throughout my high school career. Interact, the high school version of Rotary, inspired a love of community service in me and taught me invaluable lessons about leadership. I have learned so much about myself through Interact, and I look forward to becoming a Rotary member someday. I am staying involved and participating in my college's Rotaract Club. It means the world to me that an organization that has influenced me so profoundly has made a generous contribution to my march — which I'm sure will be a life-changing experience that will develop me even further. Thank you, Palmyra-Macedon Rotary Club, for becoming the first organization to sponsor my march!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

State of the State Ban Fracking Rally


On January 8th, I traveled to Albany on a bus with other New Yorkers from Buffalo and Rochester. We protested hydraulic fracturing and demanded a statewide ban at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State Address.
            There were people there protesting/advocating for other things, such as the NY S.A.F.E. Act and medical marijuana. However, the anti-frackers definitely had the greatest attendance, with the final count coming to over 2,000 people! Our chanting definitely drowned out all other simultaneous protests. As we gathered in the hallway in front of the Convention Center, the police had to keep extending the protesting area farther and farther down the hall to accommodate all of us.
Me and my sign

 An awesome little girl standing up for New York

            There were lots of awesome signs, and I saw a group of people from Gas Free Seneca protesting. It really warmed my heart to see them there and spreading the news about what’s happening with our lake. To learn more about Seneca Lake and the potential danger of liquefied petroleum gas storage, go to gasfreeseneca.com.
This was probably the best sign I saw. It was beautifully painted!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Climate March Update #2

Hello readers! I have another fundraising update for you.

I have received my first gold and silver sponsorships! Ron and RoseMarie, who participated in the Keystone XL sit-in with me over the summer, are my first silver sponsors. My grandmother, Cindy, is my first gold sponsor. Thank you so much for your generous contributions to my cause!

A silver sponsor donates 50 cents for each day I march, or $81, and a gold sponsor donates $1 for each day I march, or $162. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, email me at viridorari@yahoo.com. You can donate to my cause directly any time at http://www.crowdrise.com/FaithMeckleyTaosNM-DC

Thank you to friends and family who donated to my cause instead of getting me a physical present this Christmas! My dad is donating by taking me out to buy equipment I will need for my march. Thanks, Dad!



So far, I have sold 22 bracelets! Help me get rid of the other 178. They cost $2. If you're interested in buying one, or you know a business that might be willing to sell them at their check-out counters, email me and let me know!
My dad wearing his Climate March bracelet
Picture courtesy of: Me

I have received a couple of orders for items out of the Nature's Vision fundraising catalog. Give the catalog a looksie here and email me if you'd like to order anything.

I am currently working on writing out sponsorship request letters to companies. I hope to send them out within the next week! If you know a company or own a company that might be interested in sponsoring me, email me and let me know. 

Remember, if you want to receive postcards as I walk across the country, email me and let me know. There is a suggested $15 donation to cover the costs of your cards and postage. Please keep this donation separate from any other donations you make, and DO NOT donate your postcard money onto my Crowdrise site.

Thank you everyone who has supported me and who will support me! Have a very happy New Year! If you're looking for ways to be greener in the New Year, check out this post.

The Green Resolution

I've never really been one to have a New Year's resolution. I've always seen it as something that people promise to do and then give up after a week or two of commitment. Also, I don't think we should wait for a new year to make much needed changes in our lives. I believe a resolution or a promise for change can happen at any time, when it's needed most. But, if you are inspired and committed to having a resolution this year, this post is for you!

For those of you who want to have a serious resolution but haven't thought of one, there's a change that's needed desperately right now. The human race needs to have a resolution to reduce our negative impacts on the planet and increase our sustainable habits. Instead of buying an expensive gym membership that you'll only use for a week, make a commitment to living a greener lifestyle for 2014.

Going green can help you be healthier too: physically, mentally, and spiritually. And, an awesome thing about going green is that for many initiatives, it won't cost you any money or it will save you money!  

There are lots of money saving, free, and cheap things you can do to be more sustainable, and I will try to list as many as I can think of here. Feel free to add more in the comments if I miss anything!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Recycling Project: Light bulb ornaments


Happy holidays everyone! Today I am writing to you from the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where I am spending my Christmas with my grandparents.


Picture courtesy of: Me

Today I wanted to show you an awesome recycling project for Christmas. The next time your light bulb goes out, don’t throw it away! You can make it into a lovely ornament for the tree or for the garlands.


Materials needed:

Lightbulb
Acrylic paints
Paint brush
Wire
Wire cutters and pliers
Hot glue
Marker (optional)