July 4th, 2008: 50 Down, NONE to Go! YERT Completes Initial Travel…

50 States in One Year? CHECK.
Happy 4th of July, 2008! So here we are – one year later, one year older, and one year wiser. We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last 366 days – through 50 states and nearly 45,000 miles of travel (excluding the ferry from Alaska and the plane to/from Hawaii), we’ve logged over 450 hours of footage and interviewed more than 800 people. And we’ve only accumulated a mere 43 pounds of trash & recyclables over the course of 12 months – including junk mail! We’ll be taking suggestions of what we should do with it – perhaps sculpt it into a giant “garbage unicorn.”

Life-Changing? CHECK.
We left on our 50-state YERT adventure on the 4 of July, 2007 and, my oh my, how our worlds have changed in just 12 months! Julie and I are expecting our first child any day now – conceived and “baked” on the YERT trip. Mark, through this adventure, met Erika, who valiantly jumped in for Julie and me as baby duties took over in these final weeks. And we’ve all gained some really good new habits and learned an incredible amount about how better to live on Planet Earth – all of which we will continue to share with you over the coming months. We still have all sorts of fun videos to create before we declare this project complete, and our first priority is to finish at least one video per state. So to those of you out there in Ohio, Texas, Alaska, and the 25 or so other second-half states: HANG IN THERE! Your videos will be coming out ASAP. We’ll be targeting one video per week, with a few breaks built into the schedule.

World-Changing? CHECK.
While our lives may have changed, the world around us has also changed dramatically. Gasoline prices have risen about 50% in the last year from an average of $2.93/gal in PA when we started to $4.57/gal in CA today (and $4.07 in PA). Oil futures have more than doubled in the past year from about $70 to $145 per barrel. Only San Francisco had banned publicly funded bottled water when we started – ten days ago, a majority of 250 US mayors voted to “phase out” government use of bottled water. Only one US city (San Francisco, again) had banned disposable plastic bags when we started – now that movement is spreading across the globe and numerous cities and organizations around the world have either severely curtailed or begun to ban the use of plastic bags. Numerous “green” TV channels, shows, and environmental initiatives and legislation have taken off in the last year – “green” is going mainstream…big-time. This country is finally turning a corner, and it’s been exhilarating to witness this over the past 12 months – to “hang 10” on the “green wave” as it sweeps the nation – and to have helped turn the tide in some small way. It hasn’t been a perfect process, and huge challenges lie ahead, but there are certainly encouraging signs that people everywhere are starting to wake up.

Party! Party! Party!? COMING…
To celebrate the completion of the road trip, YERT will be holding two finale events, and you’re invited to both. You can expect stories and videos and photos and fun, at special venues with unique environmental features.

The first is a shindig in San Francisco at The Temple – the perfect location for a sleek meet and greet. It kicks off at 6:00 P.M. on Friday, July 11, at this renowned club with its very own sustainability coordinator and a slew of groundbreaking initiatives in place and on the way. And the place just looks cool. Please RSVP on eVite or Facebook.

The second is our Grand Finale in Pittsburgh at the Rachel Carson Homestead – Join us for our final gala at the home of the famous author of “Silent Spring,” on Saturday, August 9 at 3:00 P.M. Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book opened the world’s eyes to the unintended consequences of chemical pest management and essentially jump started the modern environmental movement. YERT’s first stop was her home, and it will be our last stop, too—at least on this particular adventure. Please RSVP on eVite or Facebook.

YERT’s Feature Film? COMING…
It seems that there are few better ways to tell a story these days than in the form of a feature-length film. So for as long as we can scrape up enough money to pay for food, we’ll be working to compile our footage down into a feature-length film with YERTy zip and eco-fun built into every moment. We’ll need plenty of help for the film, so if you’d like to volunteer for a role, make yourself known by writing to us at team@yert.com. We’ll need outreach coordinators, video watchers, musicians, editors, and some angel investors – not to mention things that we don’t even know we need yet.

Start Spreading the News!
If you think that YERT’s story is worth spreading around, we’d love it if you did just that—spread it around! We’ll be presenting audience comments at our finale events, and we’d love to include yours. Just send a note to team@yert.com. You can also help us enter film festivals, screen our videos at your school, tell all your facebook friends about us, or invite us to give a presentation to your community. We’re open to ideas and want to share, so drop us a line. Make it YOUR Environmental Road Trip.

Thanks to YOU!
This trip wouldn’t have been what it’s been if you hadn’t been a part of it – if you hadn’t tuned in, given us suggestions, helped us when we needed it, inspired us, fed us, housed us, and given so generously of yourselves in so many ways. If nothing else, this year on the road has reaffirmed our faith in the incredible goodness of the American people and of humanity in general. As we heard recently in the New Mexico video, “we’re all in this together” – and together we can meet any challenge. This entire journey has done nothing but confirm that. Our deepest gratitude to all of our YERTian friends out there who have helped make this entire project possible made this adventure truly special. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! And stay tuned – this is just the beginning…

sincerely,

Ben, Mark, Julie, and Erika – Your YERT Team

4 thoughts on “July 4th, 2008: 50 Down, NONE to Go! YERT Completes Initial Travel…

  1. Horray for the YERT Folks! You made it!
    Hooray for the World! We WILL make it better!
    And Julie you look so pretty with your big green belly in the photo above!
    I hope I can make it to Pittsburg-only 9.5 gallons of gas in the Prius!
    COngrats all of you!

  2. Ya’ll are amazing! Patty and I will be performing “Incontinent Proof” at the Fringe Festival of the National Storytelling Festival in Gatlinburg Aug. 9 about the same time as your celebration.:)

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