August Update for YERT

Dear YERTians,

We know it is almost over, but HAPPY SUMMER! We’ve been a little quiet this season, but the YERTy activity continues and we have lots of goodies to share with you. First off, however, we’d like to take a moment to consider some heavy news about this summer’s extreme heat. We promise the rest of the news will make you smile!

SPECIAL NOTE TO OUR SUPPORTERS: Bill McKibben recently wrote a heart-and-mind-wrenching article about climate change for Rolling Stone Magazine, and we urge all of our friends and supporters to read the article, take it to heart, and consider sharing it with those they love. It is titled Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, and you can grab the link here. We can make and watch eco-oriented movies all day long. We can even take action in our personal lives, neighborhoods, and local and national governments. We encourage ALL of that. And yes the science still indicates that unless we ALL do ALL of that– and make sure it is enough to shift some major cultural norms and supporting legislation– then the problems will only grow worse. Alas, science isn’t prone to be cheery when confronted by insufficient action on a global scale. There is no time like today to take an extra step or two (or five) to give our descendants a planet that we, and they, can be proud to cherish.

And now on to the YERTy news!!

  • YERT is on IMDB! (Can you vote for us?)
  • Official Selection at 2012 AASHE Conference (Los Angeles)
  • Official Selection at Planet in Focus Film Festival (Toronto)
  • Building Earthships and Other Summer Adventures
  • Recent YERT Reviews
  • Next Steps with Distribution
  • Official Screening/Festival/Award Count

YERT is on IMDB! (Can you vote for us?)
We finally took the plunge and paid a little money to update YERT’s official profile on (IMDB is basically a handy database of movies, and a repository of ratings and reviews). And that’s where we need your help! We’re currently rated “8.9/10 by 24 users.” That’s good, but many of the films in our domain have over 100 ratings, and we’re hoping to reach that goal. Would you be willing to quickly log-in and give us a rating? And if you want to go the extra mile, you can leave a lovely review our film. And if you have no time, just give it the ol’ Facebook “like.” It’ll take you five seconds. Here’s our IMDB page again:

Official Selection at 2012 AASHE Conference (Los Angeles)

YERT had an un-official screening for attendees of this sustainability conference last year, but this year we received the OFFICIAL stamp of approval and acceptance by AASHE: the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. It is basically the premiere conference for university-level sustainability coordinators and green-activated students to learn about the latest tools and trends they can use to make their campuses greener. We’ll be screening the new 58-minute “educational cut” of the YERT film on Oct. 15 starting at 2:50pm in Room 411 of the LA Convention Center, and YERT Producer Mark Dixon will be there in-person for the event. Please share the news with anybody you think might be at the conference, and hopefully we’ll see you there! (And if you’d like to bring YERT to your school, buying a license just takes a few clicks. Visit our screenings page for more details.)

Official Selection at Planet in Focus Film Festival (Toronto)
Our latest film festival acceptance came from a top environmental film festival in Canada, the “Planet in Focus: Toronto International Environmental Film & Video Festival!” This festival puts us in good company, as PiF has previously screened films like Revenge of the Electric Car, Urban Roots, Queen of the Sun, Bag It, and Dive. We’re hoping that the 2012 festival will help us get a foothold with some international distribution options– and we’ll certainly let you know if that happens. To that end, YERT Director Ben Evans will be attending the festival and getting to know everybody he possibly can!

Building Earthships and Other Summer Adventures
Ben had a whole smattering of screenings and Q&A’s in upstate NY this summer, while Julie was performing two plays at Merry Go Round playhouse in Auburn, NY. Auburn (x5), Ithaca, Syracuse, Cortland, Homer, and the Loquacious Locavores all showed enthusiastic support for the YERT film with various screenings. The Evans clan reconnected with some old friends (like EcoVillage Ithaca’s Liz Walker and Sustainable Tompkins’ Gay Nicholson) and made some wonderful new YERTian friends including Fingerlakes Bioneer Nick Vaczek, fierce YERT supporters Kristen Aust, Bill Hecht, the homesteading Sara & Greg Holden near Auburn, and two couples building earthships in upstate NY. Ben & Bailey headed up near Watertown for a day to help Anthony & Melissa Cronk pound tires for their earthship and got to see the incredible progress that Chad and Courtney DeVoe are making on their “Freeville Earthship” just outside of Ithaca. Not a bad way to spend a month or two… Now back in Louisville, Ben and YERT co-editor Scott Irick have embarked on a mission to build Louisville’s first Earthship and are working with community leaders to find the best place to build. Until then, they’ll be outfitting Ben’s garage with a bottle/can wall and a Will Allen style aquaculture system – like in the YERT film.

Mark and his wife Christie drove up to Huntington, VT to get their hands dirty for a week on a real-live Earthship build known as the “Ecclesiastes Project.” After paying $100 for the privilege of working for free, they found themselves pounding tires along-side Earthship creator Michael Reynolds, building can walls, moving concrete, leveling dirt, and generally using their bodies in unusually punishing ways. The pair came away with blistered hands, sore muscles, and a wealth of experience (and photos) that will help them realize their dream of building an Earthship near their current home in Pittsburgh. And for those of you wondering, “Why all this fuss about Earththips?,” we encourage you to check out this summary: “Ecological Impact of Earthships.” After a too-short week in construction mode, Mark and Christie took refuge at Mark’s brother’s Meadowhawk Homestead, also in Vermont, where they healed while soaking up the natural tranquility of lovingly cultivated chickens, bees, goats, and mushroom logs, not to mention a massive garden and its nutritious, delicious bounty! (If you’d like to visit Meadowhawk yourself, you can via (And if you’d like to work on an Earthship yourself, check out this page for upcoming projects.)

Recent YERT Review
Our latest film review is a fun one from a guy named Bill Arceneaux. Here’s a blurb from the full text that you can find here:

“YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip” features three individuals who put shame to my Earth saving attempt. See, they spent a year on the road, going through all 50 states of this country, documenting people and organizations dedicated to ecological progress and anything/everything green. Along the way, they cut down on their personal trash, gauged electricity use and lived out of a hybrid – man do I feel lazy.

Next Steps with Distribution
While we’re thrilled that the YERT film has been screened 162 times in the last year, not to mention all the other real and virtual “thumbs-up” we’ve gotten along the way, that is all just the beginning phase of our ever-evolving distribution strategy. With the help of our rep, Circus Road Films, we’re actively pursuing opportunities for distribution with several different companies in the industry, particularly in the DVD and VOD (video-on-demand) arenas. At some point we’d love to get onto Netflix, particularly if we can do it on favorable terms (stay tuned for ways to help with that!) After that, we’ll be looking at international markets while we pursue outreach to as many colleges, universities, and libraries we possibly can. If you’d like to help us with our outreach, we could use a few volunteers. Just contact and let us know you want to help!

Official Screening/Festival/Award Count

We have experienced an extraordinary year of community and festival screenings, not to mention a few awards. We thought we’d share the details with all of you so that you can know what your support has enabled us to do during the past 5 years. Most of all, THANK YOU for helping our little film get this far!

Total Registered Screenings: 162
Total Festival ACCEPTANCES: 26
Total Festival Awards: 10
Countless New Relationships and Ideas: Priceless 😉

  • Audience Award, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
  • Audience Award, Environmental Film Festival at Yale
  • Best Environmental Documentary, DocuFest Atlanta
  • Chris Award, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
  • Hon. Mention, Best Documentary Director, Cincinnati Film Festival
  • Best Environmental Film, Southern Appalachian Int’l Film Festival
  • Best Documentary Feature, Costa Rica International Film Festival
  • Best Regional Documentary Feature, Cincinnati Film Festival
  • Hon. Mention, Best Documentary Feature, Cincinnati Film Festival
  • Hon. Mention, Best Feature Film, REEL EARTH Environmental Film Festival
  • “YERT – Your Environmental Road Trip” is an official Selection at 26 film festivals, including the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Heartland Film Festival, Planet in Focus International Film Festival, Dallas VideoFest, Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY), Southern Appalachian International Film Festival, Costa Rica International Film Festival, DocuFest Atlanta, Take One Action Film Festival, Charlotte Film Festival, EcoFocus Film Festival, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Twin Cities Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, deadCENTER Film Festival, Cincinnati Film Festival, Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival, Route 66 Film Festival, Building Change Film Festival, REEL EARTH Environmental Film Festival, FiLUMS International Film Festival, Oneota Film Festival, New Hope Film Festival, and the St. Louis International Film Festival.

    That’s all for our late summer update. If you’ve been up to some fun and/or green activities and/or reflections this summer, please send them our way. We might just share them with the whole YERT family in upcoming newsletters. And don’t forget to check out the latest latest news at our Facebook page.

    Enjoy your August!

    YERTfully Yours,
    Ben, Mark, and Julie

    P.S. We can’t help but mention that YERT editor, Scott Irick, has also been on an Earthship building tear this summer, working on three different Earthships over three weeks, and we hear might try out the Earthship Academy if he free up the time. Way to go, Scott!

    Our work is supported by DVD sales and screenings.
    Click here to buy the YERT Film on DVD!

    Click here to host a screening!

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