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Apr 16, 2008

Dear YERTians,


There are all sorts of things brewing here at YERT, thus the gap in videos– but there is no gap in news! So we must update you…

- THIS SUNDAY: YERT Party in Brooklyn, NY
- EcoDaredevil Award
- New YERT.com Website
- YERT Earth Day. YERT HDAY? YEaRTh Day?


THIS SUNDAY: YERT Party in Brooklyn, NY


It is true! We’ll be gathering with good friends at 3pm on Sunday, 4/20/08, at 224 Degraw Street, Apt. 1 (garden apartment), Brooklyn, NY. You can check out the eVite here or the Facebook event here. Please RSVP because we’ll be preparing food and we want to make just the right delicious amount! See you there!


EcoDaredevil Award


We recently connected with awesome oceanographer Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and found out that he’s putting together a cool new environmental award called the EcoDaredevil award. He’ll be co-presenting it with Evil Knievil’s granddaughter, Krysten Knievel, at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment on Earth Day (April 22!). One brave Duke student, living on the dramatic edge of environmental activisim, will receive the award. We hope that this snazzy prize will spawn the creation of countless new YERTful innovators around the country, and we can’t wait to learn about them. YERT is a sponsor of the award and we’ve included additional information about it at the bottom of this e-mail. Take a look!


New YERT.com Website


We’re in the final steps of launching a new YERT website, with maps and schedules and shopping and blogs and more YERTy information than you could ever want to know, all in one place. The new site can grow better than the old one, so we hope to share more gradual improvements with you as this project expands. You’ll see it show up sometime during the next week or two, and we hope that you’ll be gentle with us as you try it on for size.


YERT Earth Day. YERT HDAY? YEaRTh Day?


Earth Day is coming up on April 22 and we recently realized that YERT videos could make for a great way to celebrate this aweseome planet of ours. Dr. Nichols will be sharing YERT videos with his audience at the Nicholas School (see the press release below), and our shorts will be making EarthDay appearances all over the country for a few lucky viewers. If you’d like to show some YERT videos for some friends (or even larger audiences) but want to do it with high-quality video, send a note our way– we have all the videos available online in 720×405 resolution (16×9). We’ll let you know where you can find them. In other Earth Day news, Voice of America will be airing web, radio, and TV stories about YERT as a part of their Earth Day line-up. Some portion of their 100 million viewers/listeners around the world will get the scoop on YERT, and we can’t wait to meet them. Our partnership with Care2 is also kicking into gear leading up to Earth Day, and they’ll be showing some YERT ads on their website to spread the word. You can check out our Care2 group here.


We recently shot our 350th hour of footage, and we’re not done yet! In fact, we have nearly 3 months to go before we reach all 50 states. We’re still planning to release more videos throughout the last few months, but once the trip is done we’ll work intensively to release videos for all the remaining states. After we catch up on all of the state-by-state video we’ll embark upon the creation of the YERT film! Stay tuned for more details about that, including ample opportunities to get involved.


Happy YEaRTh Day,
Julie, Ben, and Mark

http://www.yert.com




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Posted: Apr 16, 2008 8:52am
Mar 28, 2008

Click here to watch this video!



Dear YERTians,

A key objective during our visit to Hawaii was to explore the impacts of invasive species on this beautiful, isolated island. How do new plants and animals arrive? Why do they thrive, or fail? And why is Hawaii a hotbed for genetically modified food research? Then it hit us like a ton of bricks—WE are the most invasive of the species!


Our world turned upside down as we began to scrutinize each of our vacation habits, and we learned that measures we previously considered extreme were far from it. Prefer a simple room? Try a yurt, or even a repurposed VW Bus. Low flush toilet? Try a composting toilet, entirely solar powered. Anitra at Lova Lava Land showed us how simple it was to vacation lightly on the planet and still have a blast.


If you seek more comfort than a stylish (but old) VW Bus can offer, then you might have preferred our other destination. We enjoyed an extraordinary bamboo cottage at Kahua Institute’s Maui Retreat Center, using it as a home base while exploring the island—where we found countless human specimens invading the streets to celebrate Halloween! We hunted for invasive insights from lions, clowns, Transformers, and even a life-sized martini.


Conserving Vacation Days,

Ben, Julie, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com



P.S. And now for the Breadcrumbs! If you’d like to learn more about the topics covered in this video, check out the information below…

  • BioBeetle – If it weren’t for the recent arrival of the BioBeetle to the islands, we might have had an even larger footprint! Both BioBeetle and YERT are not convinced that biofuels are the way to go as “the” solution for our energy woes, but we can all totally get behind BioBeetle’s 100% recycled veggie oil fuel. After helping us rent their cute green diesel VW Bug, these folks even loaned us maps, books, and TUPPERWARE while on the island. We even got hugs. Talk about a full service car rental company…
  • Lova Lava Land – Ben edited most of the Iowa "corn challenge" video (YERTpod14) while at LovaLavaLand, which meant that it was almost entirely powered by solar energy! If you have a good pair of shoes, then you’ll have no problem walking around on the beautiful (but sharp) lava rocks at this simple-riffic vacation spot. Budget vacationers will enjoy the price and you’ll be well hosted by Anitra.
  • Kahua Institute’s Maui Retreat Center – Home to the oldest bamboo farm on Maui and, and according to their website, the first two bamboo structures in the U.S., it also became the site of our very own Step It Up event back in November. This lush Hawaiian haven offers classes and work-study opportunities on sustainability and embodied spirituality for anyone looking to transform bamboo or themselves from an "invasive" into a more sustainable "beneficial non-native".
  • Dr. Christopher Dunn, Director of the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, introduced us to plants that should and shouldn’t be on the islands, and explained why it is important to pay attention to having the right plants in the right places at the right times.
  • Daniel Gluesenkamp, Biologist at Audubon Canyon Ranch, is Ben’s cousin living in San Francisco, and quite possibly one of the more knowledgeable and passionate conservationists we’ve met on the trip. He’s not from Hawaii, but a visit with him in California just before our flight put invasive species high on our radar for Hawaii.
  • Christy Martin gave us the technical low-down on invasive species in the Hawaiian Islands. She is the Public Information Officer for the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS for short), and we learned that she’s constantly on the alert for snakes and other exotic pets/pests that shouldn’t be “vacationing” on the islands. Even the dirt on our shoes can carry the seeds of a new pest. Tread lightly…

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Posted: Mar 28, 2008 10:26pm
Mar 11, 2008

Click here to watch!



Dear YERTians,


(We’re headed to Washington DC soon (3/29-4/6), and want to know what you’re eager to see! Politicians? National non-profits? Maybe even watch us try to meet with President Bush? We need to get started on our DC focus, but we need your input, so send it along today! …And now for the rest of the show&hellip


Welcome to California, the motherland for the mother lode of Mother Earthly events. We knew that we’d be frustrated by the screamin’ YERT schedule while we tried to take in all the green mother-ness in the state, so we did our best to bring the state to us: we went to a couple of conferences. Our first conference was Bioneers, and we were blown away…



The place was filled with creative, intelligent people motivated to change the world. If you’ve never heard of Bioneers, then just imagine a group of pioneering innovators in fields spanning biology, technology, spirituality, sociology, and everything in between. Bioneers are working hard to bring out the best in humanity and make it stick.


We caught up with one of the folks working to make things stick: Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink, who connected the dots between oil, the environment, and—wouldn’t you know it&mdasheace! Amazing what you can do with a few extra billion dollars. We were also delighted to meet Kristin Rothballer, who once worked in development for the Bioneers Conference, and is now the Managing Director of Green For All. The brainchild of Van Jones and Majora Carter, Green For All is working to bring the green revolution to people of all socio-economic backgrounds—not just the Prius driving elite.


One of the most incredible discoveries (at least for a YERTian) was a one-stop shop for all eco explorers: the Ecology Center in Berkeley has a phone number that anybody can call to get any eco-question answered:               510-548-2220        x233. The service is free—you just have to pay for the call to the 510 area code. Now if that doesn’t motivate you to explore a new eco-alternative, I don’t know what will. Give ‘em a call!


With Change,

Julie, Ben, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com


P.S. And now for Breadcrumbs! If you want to learn more about the topics in this video, check out these resources:


Green For All
– We met Kristin Rothballer, Managing Director of Green For All. Knowing the talent that Kristin brought to Bioneers, you can rest assured that Green for All is going to make incredible positive waves in this country. From their website… “Green for All has a simple but ambitious mission: to help build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.” That’s all based on the premise that “a national effort to curb global warming and oil dependence can simultaneously create good jobs, safer streets and healthier communities.”


Ecology Center
(and Hotline!) - Amy Kiser, Development Director for the Ecology Center (in Berkeley), gave us the rundown. While we are ticked by their eco-hotline, they also provide a variety of other community services that they can describe best: “We address the public need for non-commercial information about ecologically-sensitive practices and the numerous toxic threats to society and the environment. In addition to our Environmental Resource Center, we provide direct services including Berkeley’s residential curbside recycling pickup, the three Berkeley Farmers’ Markets, the Farm Fresh Choice food justice program, Terrain magazine, the EcoHouse demonstration site, and a wide range of fiscally-sponsored projects.”


WiserEarth.org
– We were entertained by Adam Burkett, Web Designer for WiserEarth.org. When he pulled out his leaf business card, however, we knew that we had a magic man on our hands. He’s currently helping make magic at WiserEarth, too… which is essentially a community networking website devoted to social change.


ChicoBag
– Meet ChicoBag before they became a YERT sponsor! We caught up with Founder Andy Keller, who shared the scoop on ChicoBag’s birth. We still think it is the ultimate re-usable bag, but you can decide for yourself… We’ll be offering official YERT-branded ChicoBags for you to buy in the next month or so. Stay tuned!


Medea Benjamin has made a name for herself as the Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink. You’ve probably seen her on TV singing for social change in a pink shirt. We can’t get enough of her, and we always like to find folks who can eloquently connect the dots between war and sustainability. Also, if you haven’t heard, Global Exchange (among other things) runs fair trade stores in SF, Berkeley, and Portland, OR.


Conscious Goods Alliance
– This bus tour is spreading the word about a variety of eco products. We enjoyed the fact that they’re also on a road trip of sorts, though you can never
replace Rachel (the Car) Carson. The website explains it well: “The companies that make up the Conscious Goods Alliance follow a Triple Bottom Line approach, a business philosophy that partners with, and is committed to, the social and ecological bottom line in equal partnership with traditional bottom line financial returns.” Catch a list of their partners, including Theo Chocolate, here.


YERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERT

Mar 11, 2008

Click here to watch!



Dear YERTians,


(We’re headed to Washington DC soon (3/29-4/6), and want to know what you’re eager to see! Politicians? National non-profits? Maybe even watch us try to meet with President Bush? We need to get started on our DC focus, but we need your input, so send it along today! …And now for the rest of the show&hellip


Welcome to California, the motherland for the mother lode of Mother Earthly events. We knew that we’d be frustrated by the screamin’ YERT schedule while we tried to take in all the green mother-ness in the state, so we did our best to bring the state to us: we went to a couple of conferences. Our first conference was Bioneers, and we were blown away…



The place was filled with creative, intelligent people motivated to change the world. If you’ve never heard of Bioneers, then just imagine a group of pioneering innovators in fields spanning biology, technology, spirituality, sociology, and everything in between. Bioneers are working hard to bring out the best in humanity and make it stick.


We caught up with one of the folks working to make things stick: Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink, who connected the dots between oil, the environment, and—wouldn’t you know it&mdasheace! Amazing what you can do with a few extra billion dollars. We were also delighted to meet Kristin Rothballer, who once worked in development for the Bioneers Conference, and is now the Managing Director of Green For All. The brainchild of Van Jones and Majora Carter, Green For All is working to bring the green revolution to people of all socio-economic backgrounds—not just the Prius driving elite.


One of the most incredible discoveries (at least for a YERTian) was a one-stop shop for all eco explorers: the Ecology Center in Berkeley has a phone number that anybody can call to get any eco-question answered:               510-548-2220        x233. The service is free—you just have to pay for the call to the 510 area code. Now if that doesn’t motivate you to explore a new eco-alternative, I don’t know what will. Give ‘em a call!


With Change,

Julie, Ben, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com


P.S. And now for Breadcrumbs! If you want to learn more about the topics in this video, check out these resources:


Green For All
– We met Kristin Rothballer, Managing Director of Green For All. Knowing the talent that Kristin brought to Bioneers, you can rest assured that Green for All is going to make incredible positive waves in this country. From their website… “Green for All has a simple but ambitious mission: to help build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.” That’s all based on the premise that “a national effort to curb global warming and oil dependence can simultaneously create good jobs, safer streets and healthier communities.”


Ecology Center
(and Hotline!) - Amy Kiser, Development Director for the Ecology Center (in Berkeley), gave us the rundown. While we are ticked by their eco-hotline, they also provide a variety of other community services that they can describe best: “We address the public need for non-commercial information about ecologically-sensitive practices and the numerous toxic threats to society and the environment. In addition to our Environmental Resource Center, we provide direct services including Berkeley’s residential curbside recycling pickup, the three Berkeley Farmers’ Markets, the Farm Fresh Choice food justice program, Terrain magazine, the EcoHouse demonstration site, and a wide range of fiscally-sponsored projects.”


WiserEarth.org
– We were entertained by Adam Burkett, Web Designer for WiserEarth.org. When he pulled out his leaf business card, however, we knew that we had a magic man on our hands. He’s currently helping make magic at WiserEarth, too… which is essentially a community networking website devoted to social change.


ChicoBag
– Meet ChicoBag before they became a YERT sponsor! We caught up with Founder Andy Keller, who shared the scoop on ChicoBag’s birth. We still think it is the ultimate re-usable bag, but you can decide for yourself… We’ll be offering official YERT-branded ChicoBags for you to buy in the next month or so. Stay tuned!


Medea Benjamin has made a name for herself as the Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink. You’ve probably seen her on TV singing for social change in a pink shirt. We can’t get enough of her, and we always like to find folks who can eloquently connect the dots between war and sustainability. Also, if you haven’t heard, Global Exchange (among other things) runs fair trade stores in SF, Berkeley, and Portland, OR.


Conscious Goods Alliance
– This bus tour is spreading the word about a variety of eco products. We enjoyed the fact that they’re also on a road trip of sorts, though you can never
replace Rachel (the Car) Carson. The website explains it well: “The companies that make up the Conscious Goods Alliance follow a Triple Bottom Line approach, a business philosophy that partners with, and is committed to, the social and ecological bottom line in equal partnership with traditional bottom line financial returns.” Catch a list of their partners, including Theo Chocolate, here.


YERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERTYERT

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Posted: Mar 11, 2008 3:57pm
Feb 22, 2008

Click here to watch!


Dear YERTians,


We’re back! During the last couple of weeks each one of us managed to get knocked around by the flu or a serious cold or both. We used up our cloth hankies like they were paper! We made garbage by purchasing a bottle of chewable vitamin C tablets! We slept more than we’ve slept in months! We wondered why we couldn’t just detach our aching, stuffy heads and replace them with new ones! Perhaps it was a sign. Perhaps we had run ourselves ragged. Perhaps there’s just something in the air here in the South. Whatever the cause of our suffering, the video schedule suffered along with us – but now we’re all happily back to health with a brand new YERTpod!


This week we take a close look at Oregon. For those of you familiar with Vermont, we think you’ll find that Oregon is like Vermont except wetter, warmer, and with fewer secessionists. And, dare we say, better public transportation?


We explored public transportation in Portland and Eugene, and we’re now convinced that Oregonians are literally moving the right way – moving towards efficient transport that, in turn, moves them around sustainably. It’s all very moving.


Whenever we arrive in a city that’s doing all the right green things—bike paths, speedy public transportation, beautiful public spaces, and pervasive recycling—we begin to look for one thing: the 20 year city plan. Back in the 1970’s Portland had an opportunity to expand its highway system along its riverfront. Instead it chose the road less traveled— in fact, the road not traveled at all. Rather than build another monstrous road, the people of Portland elected to create more urban open space, light rail, an urban boundary, and legislation to help fund and build a comprehensive network of bicycle paths in and around the Portland area. According to TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch "someone was smart a long time ago, and we’re reaping the benefits."


Not to be outdone by its big brother to the north, the city of Eugene recently borrowed a page from Curitiba, Brazil’s acclaimed urban planning handbook and took a quantum leap forward in its public transportation by building the United States‘ first Bus Rapid Transit (EmX) system that runs on specially designed diesel-electric hybrid buses with dedicated right of way. Somewhere a city planner is cheering in Portuguese.


Meanwhile, we’re cheering the city planners in Oregon.


Cheeriously,

Ben, Julie, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com





P.S. And now for Breadcrumbs! If you want to learn more about the topics in this video, check out these resources:


1. EmX. Essentially, the coolest bus system we’ve seen all year, handily explained by Andy Vobora, Marketing and Communications Director at the Lane Transit District. That said, we haven’t been to Curitaba, Brazil, and you can compare the two for yourself– there is an interesting film about the brilliant public transportation system (busses included) created in South America, and we highly recommend that you watch the trailer here.


2. Bicycle Transportation Alliance. According to their website, the BTA is "working to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon and SW Washington." We spoke to Executive Director Scott Bricker at the BTA about all things bikes – possibly the most efficient form of transportation! By the way, he’s not the only Scott Bricker leading bicycle advocacy for a major American city – check this out. What are the odds?


3. TriMet. This is a municipal corporation responsible for most of the public transporation in Portland’s metro area. We spoke to Mary Fetsch, Communications Director for TriMet, and you can find all sorts of cool facts about this organization here. Facts like this one: "TriMet carries more people than any other U.S. transit system its size."


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Posted: Feb 22, 2008 5:05pm
Jan 25, 2008
Click here to watch!

Dear YERTians,

Ok, ok, we’re sorry for the excessive dam jokes. We’ve just fallen in love with the oceanic nutrient delivery vehicles called salmon. If you watch the video you’ll know what we mean…


Washington State, particularly the city of Seattle, contained a mother lode of environmental stories that we’re just giddy to share– but we had to choose one, so we focused on the Elwha River Restoration Project in Olympic National Park. Once this thing is complete, you’ll see smiles on most faces– the National Park Service, the Lower Elwha Klallam Indian Tribe, and particularly on salmon faces (yay sushi!), not to mention the countless living things that depend upon such a wonderfully peculiar upstream swimming habit.


You’ll also see a smile on the face of our friend Amy at Xeko (you saw her in Trailer 1), who reappears to creatively describe Xeko and the superpowers of salmon. Kathleen Drew, Executive Policy Advisor for Sustainability for Washington Governor Gregoire, gave us a bit of perspective on these issues. And we were blown away by the single-handed and mindedness of Sue Joerger and the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance as they patrol the Sound to make sure that businesses along the waterfront are following the law– leaving a cleaner habitat for those struggling salmon.


Swimmingly,


Ben, Julie, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com



P.S. And now for Breadcrumbs! If you want to learn more about the topics in this video, check out these resources:

  • Xeko - We admit it. We absolutely love Xeko and all the folks working there. Ben and Julie will be teaching their new kiddo all about animals with this eco-adventure game, and Mark just enjoys looking at all the pretty pictures.
  • Puget Soundkeeper Alliance - We thought that the government was the organization responsible for monitoring pollution in the sound… but it appears that we’d be up a creek if we left it entirely to Uncle Sam. According to the Soundkeeper website, “The mission of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is to protect and preserve Puget Sound by tracking down and stopping the discharge of toxic pollutants into its waters. The Alliance is the only organization that actively monitors and patrols the waters of Puget Sound to detect and document sources of illegal pollution.”
  • The Elwha River Restoration Project - The National Park Service is working to pull down a couple of dams built on the Elwha River nearly 100 years ago. They were initially built to create electricity, but in this case, the value of the ecosystem outweighs the need for that power from those dams, so they’re coming down. Check out the old but more informative NPS website here, and the newer but unfinished website here. There’s also a nifty PDF that narrates the details of the project here.
  • More on our Blog - Julie tackles most of the issues covered in this video in more detail in her blog entry: Day 92, 93: WA: On to the Heavy. Saving the Sound, and Salmon.

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Posted: Jan 25, 2008 5:28pm
Jan 6, 2008

Click here to watch!

Dear YERTians,


Happy New Year! We think that this year could well be happier than the last, despite the delicious Nobel Peace Prize winning and overwhelmingly earthly reporting that made it onto the front pages of newspapers around the world—even in the United States!

We think that this year, people all around the country, from all political walks of life, are finally going to see past the “tree” in “treehugger” and embrace the universal appeal of a sustainable lifestyle. Hug your neighbor, hug your free time, hug your family values, hug your fresh water, hug a tasty banana. You might save a planet, and you just might find it appealing.


Oh yeah—don’t hug your junk mail.


In fact, do everything you can to avoid it! Junk mail was one of the big challenges during the last six months, in our otherwise frugal quarter. We explain this and more in our second quarterly “check-in,” complete with new challenges and new highlights for a brand new year.


Resolutely,

Mark, Julie, and Ben (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com


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Posted: Jan 6, 2008 6:16pm

 

 
 
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