Posts Tagged ‘Earthkeeper heroes’

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.

Room with a View … and a Schwinn

We haven’t been this excited about free hotel amenities since high-speed internet access:  hotels across the country are now getting on the bicycle bandwagon and offering free bike use to hotel guests. 

Photo courtesy of Hotel Occidental

We’ve shared stories before about the benefits of bike sharing; the Green Bike Share program at UC Berkeley, for example, rents bicycles out as an environmentally and traffic-friendly alternative to students … and last summer, Earthkeeper Heroes The Canary Project reported on similar free or low-cost bike rental programs they discovered in places like Seville and Barcelona.

How exciting to learn we don’t have to fly to Spain to get the same experience of sight seeing on two wheels.  Courtesy of our friends over at TreeHugger, here are just a few US destinations willing to give you a bike with your bed:

Boston’s Liberty Hotel
The Bowery Hotel, New York
The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs
San Diego’s Hotel Occidental

Now if we could just do something about those pesky mini-bar charges …

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

The Green Long March

How did you spend your summer vacation?  In China, more than 5,000 students spent it on their feet, participating in the Green Long March – the country’s largest student conservation movement – traveling a cumulative 2008 kilometers and engaging thousands in environmental dialogue along the way.  (We think it sounds a lot like the summer our friends on the Big Green Bus have had … only without the bus.)

Our Earthkeeper Hero Agent 350 shared his experiences with the Green Long March in a recent blog post and also in the following video.  You don’t need to understand Chinese to be able to see and hear the enthusiasm in the students participating on the march; they’re optimistic, energetic, and clearly committed to their effort to preserve the environment.

We live in a marvelous, modern age of technology – technology that has its place and plays a critical role in countless initiatives underway to help stem global warming.  But campaigns like the Green Long March remind us that positive, powerful change can also come, more simply, from putting one foot in front of another.

Congratulations to the Green Long Marchers on a successful journey … and for making the most of their summer break.


Fields of Green

One more reason to love America’s favorite pastime:

Major League Baseball is joining forces with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to support and coordinate environmental stewardship efforts in virtually every Major League Baseball club across the US.  Under the collaborative “Team Greening Program,” Major League clubs will be able to share best environmental practices and information on everything from offsetting carbon emissions from team travel to establishing recycling programs and incorporating environmental language into contracts and purchasing policies.

Our own Earthkeeper Heroes on the Big Green Bus took time out from their cross-country tour to talk with Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist for the NRDC, about the Major League Baseball partnership … and the incredible potential for environmental education and impact that lives within our nation’s greatest ballparks. 

Click here to read Big Green Bus blogger Andrew Zabel’s reflections on the inspiring conversation … and visit the NRDC Greening Advisor™ website for more information about how your favorite team is working to go green.

Beach Cleanup, Olympic-style

The Olympic spirit is alive and well in Qingdao … but six weeks ago, it was uncertain whether this coastal city in east China would in fact be clean enough to serve as the official sailing venue for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

At the end of June, Qingdao was suffering from an outbreak of thick algae that affected 5,000 square miles along the city’s coastline – too thick even for boats to cut through.  Experts say the “algal bloom” is likely the result of recent heavy rains, pollution and climate change.

Algae on the coastine of Qingdao.  AP photograph.

Here’s the bright side to the story:  Agent 350 (our own Earthkeeper Hero), was in China to witness the algae outbreak – as well as the subsequent cleanup effort by more than ten thousand local residents.  You can read Agent 350’s account of the experience here.

Chinese fishing boats have cleared 100,000 tons of algae.  EPA photograph.

Whether the Qingdao cleanup effort came about as the result of Olympic pride (or shame), or because of government mandate or Olympic committee pressure – one thing’s for certain: the result is a testament to the limitless power and potential of engaged citizens.  An estimated one thousand fishing boats helped to remove more than 100,000 tons of algae from Qingdao’s waters … restoring the city’s harbor in time for the Olympic fleets to safely sail.

Our thanks to the Guardian website for sharing these and other inspiring images of the Qingdao cleanup.