YERT: The Film – Trailer

Get ready for YERT: The Film. This is going to be the full road trip story you’ve all been waiting for jam-packed into a powerful feature-length film, and this new film trailer is the first real glimpse into what it’ll be like. We’re shooting for Sundance, so spread the word to all of your friends and family – we want this trailer to travel around the world.

We need your help!

  • We need transcribers. (you earn some cash)
  • We need donations. (tax deductible)
  • We need your friends. (and their friends)

Also, be sure to check out the synopsis below for a less-quick look at what the film is all about.

Please Transcribe (we just might pay you!)

We’ve got a tight deadline for the first possible entry date into Sundance, and boy do we have our work cut out for us! We’ve been working to transcribe our footage for months, but still have quite a ways to go, and we need an army of helpers– yourself included. And if you can sign up for at least three tapes a week we will pay you $10/tape. If you’ve ever wondered how you can help Mother Nature, now is the time– and she’s paying cash. Send an e-mail to for more information.

Please Donate (get your name in the credits!)

We’ve put over $160,000 of our own money towards the YERT project and creation of this film. Now we’re asking you, our favorite planetary supporters, to put your money where your angst is and pitch in $20, $50, $100, $1000, or more to help us finish this film while the planet still stands a chance. We think we’ll need between $60,000 and $200,000 to finish as quickly and professionally as possible. You can make a tax-deductible donation to YERT by making out a check to “Pittsburgh Filmmakers” and noting “Conduiting Program: YERT” in the memo line of the check. Then mail the check to “Mark Dixon – YERT, 327 Denniston Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15206”. All donors who request it will get their names added to the credits of our feature film. For donations of $100 or more we’ll send you a free, autographed copy of David Korten’s new book: Agenda for a New Economy, or you can choose an autographed copy of his YERT-inspiring book The Great Turning. Many thanks to David Korten for donating the initial batch of autographed books to make this offer possible!

Tell 5 Friends (in 10 seconds)

If you’ve ever wondered when a tiny action on your part can make a huge difference to YERT, now is that time! Please tell five friends about this new trailer by simply sending them this link: . That’s all. It takes 10 seconds. You’ve done it before, or maybe you haven’t, but we hope you’re inspired to do it for us right now. Extra points if you “favorite” us in YouTube. Even more extra points if you Digg, StumbleUpon, or share us on Facebook (use the links to the right of the video player one this Trailer Page).


YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip) is a groundbreaking adventure and a celebration of the American spirit in the face of adversity – a thought-provoking, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious, documentary about the courageous and creative individuals, groups, businesses and leaders of this country who are tackling the greatest environmental threats in history. Called into action by the ever increasing threats of planetary catastrophe (from climate change to toxic pollution, from water scarcity to habitat destruction), the three of us – Mark Dixon, Ben Evans, and Julie Dingman Evans – upended our lives, pooled our collective life-savings, and set off on a first-of-its-kind, 50-state, year-long journey of discovery to personalize sustainability and to answer a critical question: ARE WE DOOMED?

On July 4th, 2007, with camera in hand, tongue in cheek, and packing ourselves, our supplies, and our filmmaking equipment like sardines into a used hybrid car, the YERT team set out from the Rachel Carson Homestead in Pittsburgh, PA to document environmental sustainability in every state in the union in a single year. We wanted to find out: What can Americans do to save the planet? What are they already doing? Why aren’t we all doing more? Is it possible that doing right by the planet is more economical, joyful, and fulfilling than not?

But this film isn’t just about documenting change, it’s about living it. We were on a mission to personalize sustainability, and as the National Academy of Sciences pointed out back in 1990, humanity is currently “conducting an uncontrolled experiment with the planet.” So as we traveled and filmed, we decided to BE the experiment – we would never turn on an incandescent light bulb, we would radically reduce our water usage by any means necessary, and, above all, we would attempt to generate zero waste, keeping all of our garbage (and recyclables) with us for the entire year…in our packed-to-the-gills hybrid. To pull this off, all of our garbage each month would have to fit in…a shoebox. We scoured the country, conducting over 800 interviews, amassing nearly 600 hours of footage, and bathing ourselves in America’s unique approach to environmental sustainability – the good, the bad, and the weird. We found everything from a 92 year-old caveman who’s built an entire cave community in the mountains of Idaho to an electrical engineer working to repower America with solar roadways; from outrageous green personalities like Missouri’s Eco-Elvis and Florida’s Earth Man to incredible new businesses like Tom Szaky’s Terracycle in New Jersey that’s making a mint turning garbage into almost anything; from the utter devastation of Mountain Top Removal coal mining in Appalachia to the revolutionary agricultural genius of Wes Jackson and the Land Institute in the Kansas heartland.

Several months in, an unexpected pregnancy instantly and dramatically changed life for all of us (particularly Ben and Julie, who had been told they could never have children) and pushed the team to the brink. Facing the potential derailment of the entire project, the team had to grapple with new challenges and questions – How long could two dudes and a pregnant woman survive in an enclosed space? Would we all be able to finish the trip? Would the needs of the pregnancy wreck the team’s environmental goals and challenges? Were Ben and Mark up for birthing a baby in the Alaskan wilderness? As both Julie and the garbage expanded, would the car actually explode? And as our personal journeys progressed and we dug deeper into the causes of climate change, it became clear that creating a sustainable world is about much more than simply combating global warming. Everything is tied together, and we began to connect those dots. Efficiency, renewable energy, and technological advances are critically important, but we can’t begin to address climate change unless we also address how we grow our food, how we use our water, how we measure our economy, how we approach human health, how we create/protect community, and, ultimately, how we find fulfillment and understand ourselves. Global warming is but the most dire symptom of some very fundamental issues about how our species functions on the planet. As the godfather of green building, Bob Berkebile, reminded us, we must “move beyond the current environmental movement which is about doing less harm. Our responsibility is not to do less bad, but to do something creative, and regenerative, and restorative, and loving.”

It’s taken more than 150 years to get ourselves into this mess, with America leading the way. The science tells us we have 5-10 years to get ourselves out of it. The question is, will America be leading the way or…are we doomed? You’ll just have to watch the movie to find out.

YERTfully Yours,
Ben, Julie, and Mark – Your YERT Team

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