Posts Tagged ‘Changents’

Leading Eco-Change From the Ground Up

Project Dirt’s co-founder Mark Shearer affectionately describes it as, “a small environmental website with big ambitions and huge capacity.”

We couldn’t have said it any better.  In recognition that good green intentions are plentiful – but that opportunities and resources to make those intentions actionable are often more scarce – Mark and business partner Nick Gardner started Project Dirt as a means of organizing and mobilizing individual action around climate change.

The Project Dirt website currently serves the green community of South London (hoping to expand in the near future), providing information about local environmental projects, connecting community members and serving as an online forum for burning questions, great ideas and sharing of best practices.  A year into it, the site has 1,000+ members, and continues to grow.

Co-founders Nick and Mark show their unbridled excitement for Project Dirt

You can follow Project Dirt’s progress, along with the rest of our Earthkeeper Heroes, on  And if you’re Earthkeeping in the greater London area, check out Project Dirt for details on where and how to find all the best green projects.

Back on the Bus

We’re excited to have a repeat performer in the ranks of Earthkeeper Heroes this year: the Big Green Bus is back and better than ever!

The bus itself is new and improved.  The specially-modified 1989 MCI coach boasts wireless internet and surround sound, solar panels and bamboo hardwood flooring … and runs on waste vegetable oil. 

Most exciting, the Big Green Bus contains 14 Dartmouth College students bound and determined to spend their summer changing the world.  Over the next few months they’ll travel through 30 states coast to coast, making more than 40 educational stops along the way to show off their green mobile classroom and spread the good word about alternative energy and sustainable living practices. 

The Bussers kick off their cross-country tour this week, and may well be rolling through a city near you; check out their tour schedule at  And, to follow their travels and travails anytime, you can find them on

The Filthy Campaign for Clean Oceans

Our Earthkeeper Hero Christopher Swain is gathering an unusually passionate fan base … in solidarity with his own swim journey through dirty water, check out how others are pledging to “get dirty for Swain:”

You can follow Christopher’s progress in his 1,000 swim for clean water on  And, stay tuned for regular updates on Christopher – and news about our other Earthkeeper heroes – here on the EK blog.

Safe Haven for Dead Gadgets

When he’s not logging swim hours in the Atlantic Ocean, Earthkeeper Hero Christopher Swain takes to dry land to educate the public about pollution and the need for cleaner waterways.  In Philadelphia last week, Christopher staged an Ethical Electronics Recycling Event where more than 11,000 pounds of discarded and outdated consumer electronics (commonly known as “e-waste”) were collected for recycling and, when possible, reuse.

What’s the link between your old computer and the clean ocean Christopher Swain is advocating for?  In his own words:

If these devices get tipped into a landfill, or dumped on the ground in Asia or Africa, they vomit their toxic contents–mercury, lead, arsenic, barium, hexavalent chromium, and other nasty compounds–into the environment.  This pollutes nearby lands and waterways, and eventually, the ocean.

Dead dolphins and porpoises have been found with high levels of manmade toxics like brominated fire retardants in their blubber.  Have dolphins been fighting fires?  Maybe.  But a more likely explanation is that they have eaten fish from oceans contaminated with the same chemical powders that grace the insides of our cell phones and laptops.

That’s scary enough to make any Earthkeeper give up his or her electronic gadget habit … or at least find a safe home for those dead iPods and laptops.

You can read more about Christopher’s work to clean up our e-waste in his blog post on  And if you’re interested in organizing an electronics recycling event for your community, visit Christopher’s website.

The Pen is Mightier Than a Kick in the Pants

It’s been one week since Earthkeeper Hero Christopher Swain started his swim journey from Marblehead, MA to Washington DC.  You can catch up on news, photos and Christopher’s own thoughts about the first several days of his project on

Christopher’s dedication, both to the physical challenge of swimming 1,000 miles through some seriously dirty water and to the more intellectual challenge of educating students in over 2,000 classrooms along the way, inspires us.  Guess what inspires him?

Two words of encouragement, written on his nautical chart by his 5-year old daughter Celilo on the morning of his swim:

As if anyone needed more motivation than that.

Swain Swims for Clean Water

“Once I finally get in the water and start taking strokes, I often feel relieved.  The hard part is over.  There is nothing left to do but swim.”

- Christopher Swain

For those of you who don’t already know him, we’re pleased to introduce Christopher Swain – environmental educator, activist, and Earthkeeper Hero.  Christopher has spent much of the last 5+ years swimming some of the country’s most notable waterways (including the Columbia River, the Charles River, the Hudson River and Lake Champlain) in the name of cleaner water and water quality education.

Photo courtesy of Carrie Branovan

Christopher recently joined the ranks of the Earthkeeper Heroes — a select group of environmental change agents who, through a partnership between Timberland and, tell their amazing stories in real-time while building a network of fans around the world to help them.

Tomorrow, Christopher will embark on the first leg of his next adventure – a 1,000 mile swim journey from Marblehead, Massachusetts to Washington, DC.  We’ll be providing regular updates and insights from Christopher here on Earthkeepers, and you can follow his journey anytime on

A Different Kind of Summer Camp

In Chicago, a group of 13-year old kids are spending their summer not singing campfire songs or tying lanyards, but learning about geothermal heating and cooling, greenroofs and other elements of sustainable design.

The best part?  The program has inspired these teenagers to draw up plans and make recommendations for how to green the cultural center building where they meet twice a week, turning their summer learning into sustainable action.

Earthkeeper hero Elizabeth Redmond spent a day with these teens last week to talk alternative energy and share her POWERleap technology, resulting in a great hands-on, active learning experience for everyone.

Elizabeth shares more photos and her thoughts about the day over on  For more coverage of POWERleap, check out this recent blog post on EcoGeek or last week’s alternative energy program as heard on the Boston-based National Public Radio show, Here and Now.

Christmas in July

… At least that’s what it looked like when some of the Big Green Bus team took skis and snowboards to Imogene Pass, Colorado (outside of Telluride) last week.  The bussers took a much-needed break over the July 4th weekend and enjoyed the result of last winter’s record snowfall.

Big Green Bus blogger Andrew Zabel notes, however, that even the simple pleasure of skiing down a snowy slope on a sunny day is not without guilt:    “… the carbon dioxide emissions from lifts, or in the case of our July adventure, an SUV, reduce the likelihood that we’ll get to enjoy a similar experience in the future.  In a warmer world, mountain snowpack in the Rockies will rarely if ever last into July.”

The good news?  The experience left the bussers relaxed, rejuvenated, and all the more committed to their journey in the name of alternative fuel education.

Click here for more breathtaking snow photos and here for the rest of the blog post about the Big Green Bus team’s summer ski adventure.

Solar in Seville

A picture’s worth a thousand words.

At least that’s the notion behind The Canary Project – one of our Earthkeeper Heroes – a husband and wife team that use artwork and visual media projects to convey the impact and urgency of climate change.

The Canary Project in Spain

Susannah Sayler and Ed Morris have traveled all over the world (recent trips include Antarctica and Madrid), photographing both landscapes that are being impacted by climate change and those working to either adapt to it or mitigate it.  The result is powerful, thought-provoking images intended to raise environmental awareness and inspire action through a medium that is universally understood.

Ed and Susannah’s most recent excursion took them to southern Spain, where they photographed the Abengoa solar installations and learned first hand about the 300 megawatt platform currently under construction which, when complete, will be the largest in Europe – drawing enough energy from the sun to power the entire city of Seville.

The solar receptor tower at the Abengoa’s solar plant

Learn more about the Canary Project, their climate-inspired journeys and the artwork they create at

Earthkeepers Take on Bonnaroo

Our thanks to Timberland’s own Brian Coleman for sharing with us his recent experiences at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, including hanging out with the team from the Big Green Bus and talking All Things Earthkeeping with entertainers and fans alike:

Rural Tennessee in mid-June is not necessarily someplace you’d want to spend a day outside. Night time isn’t so bad, but during the day it’s fairly punishing. I think that the people who put on the Bonnaroo Music + Arts Festival know this.

But they’re in a tough situation. If they waited until later in the summer or later in the year then it would be hard for upwards of 80,000 (mostly) high school and college students to carve out the time between school and jobs to get to Manchester, Tennessee (which, during the Festival, apparently rises from a speck on the map to being the sixth largest city in the state).

Bonnaroo Crew \'08

Timberland’s “Bonnaroo Crew,” 2008

Still, while the blazing sun is beating down on the colorful “county fair”-fashioned Bonnaroo site, you really have to want to be there. And the tens of thousands of people who attend every year most definitely do want to be there, which is why it continues to be one of the most popular and engaging music, film and comedy festivals in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »