Lots of YERTy News!

Dear YERTians,

It has been quite a while since our last update, but we have lots of exciting news to report! Read on for the details…

  • YERT to present at 2010 Bioneers in CA
  • YERT featured on radio shows
  • Recent presentations
  • Plan a YERT presentation this fall
  • Seeking finishing funds
  • Vote for Solar Roadways in GE Ecomagination contest
  • Climate bill needs your help

YERT to present at 2010 Bioneers in CA

We recently found out that we will be presenting the YERT feature film in its near-finished state at the 2010 Bioneers Conference in California, Oct. 15-17. We’ll be screening at 7pm on Friday the 15th as part of their 2010 Moving Image Festival. If you haven’t heard about the Bioneers Conference, we highly recommended you check it out! We found many ideas for YERT destinations through the event, and both Ben and Mark are actively involved in bringing Bioneers to their respective communities in Louisville and Pittsburgh (find one near you here). Van Jones (Green for All) and Annie Leonard (Story of Stuff) presented at Bioneers several years before breaking out into the mainstream. It is an honor to present at the same event!

YERT featured on radio shows
Ben and Mark talked about the upcoming YERT film and the state of our environmental world during a couple of recent radio interviews. Chris Moore, a talk show host on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh, PA, invited us on his show on June 27 to share adventures and solutions we encountered during our road trip. He paired our interview with an hour-long segment featuring Scott Brusaw and his Solar Roadways! Then on July 22 we were interviewed for the premier episode of Live a Damn radio— created by Michael Parrish DuDell (EcoRazzi.com and VEGdaily.com). Want to hear about these interviews BEFORE they happen? Join the YERT Facebook Fan Page!

Recent presentations

One of the most powerful ways we have found to reach out to the community AND support our filmmaking efforts has been to give YERT presentations–at schools, universities, and now government and business audiences! Mark was invited by the Allegheny County Department of Special Events to share the YERT story as part of their “Summer Concerts and Events” series on July 10. Then, on July 13, we were invited to give a presentation to the employees of Centria. (This company makes LEED and “Cradle to Cradle” certified wall panel systems just outside of Pittsburgh.) Here’s a quote from one of the audience members: “Mark, Ben, and Julie have an intense curiosity about the world……..the videos demonstrate their child-like enthusiasm and genuine love of discovery. To a large degree, that’s what makes their investigation of sustainability far more compelling than any other one that I’ve seen; their adventures sparked a great deal of conversation among everyone who attended the presentation.”

Greenify your peeps! Plan a YERT presentation this fall

We are planning up a storm for YERT presentations in the fall to help us fund our YERTy work. Do you know a church, school, or business that might like to invite us? Do they want to join the ranks of previous hosts like Sony Pictures, YALE University, USC, NYU, All Saints Church in Pasadena, and dozens of other planet-minded organizations? Let us know! We can do partial “pre-screenings” of our film along with the best videos, stories, and good times from our adventure. We can also tailor the presentation to the audience, like when we created a business version for green MBA students at Duquesne, or a spirituality-oriented version for the Sustainable Brands conference on Monterey. We currently have a trip planned to Boston around Nov. 10, and trips to Los Angeles and San Francisco planned for September and October, respectively. We’re looking to fill our schedule with events at several colleges and communities, so please let us know if you’d like us to present for you (and bring a little YERTy motivation to your community). Just write to mark@yert.com. We’re also happy to offer a Skype-assisted presentation, where we send some videos to you and then Skype/videoconference into the venue anywhere around the world (Ben just did this for the Dutch Environmental Film Festival and it worked out great!). This saves CO2 AND reduces our speaking fee. Very YERTy. For more information and testimonials about YERT presentations visit: http://yert.com/presentations.php.

Seeking film finishing funds

After years of progress on the film, we can definitely say that our latest push for donations can be categorized as a hunt for “finishing” funds. Ben and Mark are actively bunkered down in Louisville, KY to push through some plot-related knotholes and key narration elements in the film. We have begun to work with a talented, fun narrator, not to mention a spectacular composer to score the film. And we continue to uncover great songs from brilliant, YERTy musicians around the country. Here’s the bottom line: every dollar donated to the project helps us get the film and videos out faster. We take odd jobs to make ends meet and keep the YERT machine running, but that pulls us away from the creative work of filmmaking. So, for the sake of the planet–one that doesn’t have much time–please consider making a tax deductible donation and joining a long list of noble supporters at http://www.yert.com/donate.php .

Vote for Solar Roadways in GE Ecomagination contest

YERT recently released our most popular video ever. By an order of magnitude. “Solar Roadways: The Prototype” has exploded into the blogosphere with over 250,000 views since it was launched on June 2. And now Scott Brusaw has an opportunity to take his idea even further. His project is currently ranked 1st out of over 800 entries in the GE Ecomagination “Powering the Grid” contest (and he is using YERT’s video in his application!). Please take five minutes to vote for him by visiting this page.

Climate bill needs your help

The YERT team recognizes climate change as one of the most profound challenges ever faced by our civilization, and some recent facts shared by 350.org underscore the dangers we face:

  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the planet has just come through the warmest decade, the warmest 12 months, the warmest six months, and the warmest April, May, and June on record.
  • A “staggering” new study from Canadian researchers has shown that warmer seawater has reduced phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain, by 40% since 1950.
  • Nine nations have so far set their all-time temperature records in 2010, including Russia (111 degrees), Niger (118), Sudan (121), Saudi Arabia and Iraq (126 apiece), and Pakistan, which also set the new all-time Asia record in May: a hair under 130 degrees. I can turn my oven to 130 degrees.

We see glimpses of what a climate changed world might be like when we look at the catastrophic floods in Pakistan or the toxic smoke from fires in Russia. It isn’t pretty. What does look pretty to us is a world powered by clean and renewable energy that doesn’t run out or become more difficult and dangerous to extract with time. In fact, just the opposite is true. The longer we work with renewables, the easier it is to harvest energy from them. Climate change legislation is one critical brick on the path to clean energy. Please call your senators and demand that they do their part and enact strong climate change legislation. All future generations of every species on earth are counting on you. No pressure. 😉

Ben, Julie, and Mark


I am a Pro-Life, Conservative, Capitalist!

Speech delivered at MoveOn.org Fight Washington Corruption Rally
Louisville, KY – August 10th, 2010
by Ben Evans

I am pledging to clean up Washington because…I am a pro-life, conservative, capitalist. Strange right? Now say it with me – I am a pro-life, conservative, capitalist. Let me unpack that statement a little bit.

I am pro-life because I believe that not just human life is important and sacred but that all life is important and sacred – that we must stand humbled and awed in the face of this sacred and fabulously diverse web of life that supports and nourishes us and that we should do everything in our power to honor, protect, and support that web and all of its inhabitants. THAT is pro-life and we cannot allow our language to be hijacked by those who would restrict us to some narrow view of what kind of life is valuable.

I am a conservative because I believe in conserving our most valuable assets – our true wealth – our water, air, land, climate, and biosphere. I am a conservative because I reject the utterly rash and unforgivably radical idea that we can use our planet as humanity’s open and unregulated sewer without devastating consequences for us and all life that supports us. Conducting that kind of uncontrolled experiment on the only home we have – an experiment that we are currently carrying out at full-throttle – is the most insanely radical idea I can imagine and it flies in the face of the very word “conservative.”

And finally, I am a capitalist because I believe in the intrinsic value of natural capital – the real wealth upon which all of our seemingly important human wealth is based and without which none of this would exist. I am a capitalist because I believe in the ability of market forces to conserve and utilize this real capital wisely if, and only if, we have a truly open, accurate, transparent and distortion-free market that accounts for actual consequences and costs over all time frames. This means, among many other things, pricing carbon and adding the true and irreplaceable value of natural capital and the ecosphere to the ledger – because right now the “free-market” that we think we have could not be more distorted or backwards. Or, as noted author and economist David Korten once said to me, “What economic growth really measures is the rate at which the rich are expropriating the real resources of the poor in order to turn them into garbage at an accelerating rate to make money for people who already have more than they need.”

And so I am truly a pro-life, conservative, capitalist – and we need more of those in Washington. We can no longer allow our language to be co-opted by those who would distort and destroy it, anymore than we can allow our government to be. We need to take back Washington and remind them that they work for US. We need a government that recognizes that humanity does not live in a vacuum, that a sustainable human economy and a healthy vibrant ecosphere are not mutually exclusive but, rather, mutually essential – and we need a government that can legislate that way.

We can all do a tremendous amount as individuals in our own lives and communities to protect this planet that sustains us – and I’m definitely all for that. But there are certain essential things that only our government can do. Only our government can enforce true-cost accounting by putting a price on carbon to move us away from our dead-end fossil fuel obsession. Only our government can set renewable energy standards to allow the energy marketplace to function wisely and in our long-term best interests. And only our government can negotiate climate treaties with other nations to preserve the enduring health of our species. We need an effective government, and so long as Washington is run by those who see mowing down our forests, blowing up our mountains, and polluting our water in order to make a buck for the top tax-bracket as “economic progress”, we will not have an effective government.

BP is not a person. Goldman Sachs is not a person. Massey Coal is not a person. And yet, they have more rights than any person – without the same responsibilities. We cannot continue to live in a world run by the likes of BP, Goldman Sachs, and Massey – or we will simply not have a world to live in.

Now say it with me one more time: I am a pro-life, conservative, capitalist. And I want an honest and fair government that knows what those words REALLY mean, and acts like it.

New Video– Solar Roadways: The Prototype

Lots to share in this update…

  • Exclusive New YERT Video– Solar Roadways: The Prototype
  • YERT Featured Tomorrow at Dutch Environmental Film Festival
  • Ben Performs in “4 1/2 Hours: Across the Stones of Fire” in New York City
  • YERT to Interview Janine Benyus in Bar Harbor, Maine (and Mark needs a place to stay!)

Solar Roadways: The Prototype
A few months back we heard that Scott Brusaw was busy building a prototype of his solar roads, and we just had to see it for ourselves– so we visited him in Idaho to give you an exclusive sneak peek.

For the first time ever on video, check out Solar Roadways: The Prototype

While building the prototype, Scott quickly realized several opportunities for improvements to the design, and he discusses a few of them in the video. Our favorite is to laminate glass panes together to effectively “sandwich” the solar panels and LEDs inside the road surface. This adds both strength, solar panel surface area, and improved visibility to the design. Scott also has plans to set the glass panels on a sturdy mixture that includes plastic garbage pulled from the oceans. Quite an upgrade from traditional asphalt– power-generating glass roads that use up garbage from the ocean!

This video also features Dr. Carlo Pantano, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Director of the Materials Research Institute at Penn State University. Finally, we also meet Scott’s wife and co-founder of Solar Roadways, Julie Brusaw.

YERT Featured Tomorrow at Dutch Environmental Film Festival
Ben has assembled a fresh collection of YERT shorts and chapters from our feature film for screening on opening night (June 3) at the Dutch Environmental Film Festival in Amsterdam. This isn’t the final YERT film, but it is a very significant “walk” in the “crawl, walk, run” path to film completion. If you have friends in Amsterdam, tell them to swing on by for a great time! We’ll be sitting in good company, as the festival will also be featuring Josh Dorfman a.k.a. “The Lazy Environmentalist,” “Carbon Nation,” “No Impact Man,” “Dive!,” and “Sweet Crude,” to name a few familiar TV and film faces.

Ben Performs in “4 1/2 Hours: Across the Stones of Fire” in New York City
Ben is visiting his pre-YERT hometown of NYC for all sorts of excitement. First, he is performing with Jeff Biggers (HuffPo blogger/author) and Stephanie Pitello in “4 1/2 Hours: Across the Stones of Fire,” an original multimedia play about mountaintop removal mining. The show opens on Friday, June 4 at 9pm and goes for a week. Find more information here. Ben is also hunting for connections to help get the YERT film out into the world when the time is right. And if you’re in the mood for a YERT presentation while he’s in town, he’s game– particularly if you’re a college or high school. Send him a note at ben@yert.com to discuss details!

YERT to Interview Janine Benyus in Bar Harbor, Maine (and Mark needs a place to stay!)
That’s right, we’ll be interviewing internationally acclaimed biomimicry guru Janine Benyus for the YERT feature film. To save every penny, Mark is looking for a free place to stay in that town. If you have a friend up there, he’ll need floor space for two on the evening of 6/15 and 6/16. Thanks for helping out!

That’s all for today– thanks for reading!

Mark, Ben, and Julie

Wow! You donated $20,000 in December!

Dear YERTians,

Thanks to you and dozens like you, YERT received just over $20,000 in donations during December. This is an extraordinary breath of fresh air into the film– one that we plan to use very wisely. We have news about this and more in this latest YERT update!

    In This Update:

  • EVENT: YERT featured on FireDogLake TONIGHT, 8pm EST
  • EVENT: Coal Free Future Project and YERT film preview on 2/11 in Pittsburgh
  • Mark & Ben featured on “The Wall” by Repower America
  • Film Festival Update
  • Marketing Survey Results + ChicoBag Winners!
  • How YERT raised $20,000

EVENT: YERT featured on FireDogLake TONIGHT, 8pm EST
YERT was recently asked to appear on FireDogLake.com– our second appearance on that site. FireDogLake has a regular “movie night” event, and tonight, Monday 9/18, they’ll be featuring three YERT short films with Ben, Julie, and Mark available for Q&A in chat form. Come join us! http://firedoglake.com/booksalon/ . Oh, and here are the three films for discussion:

EVENT: Coal Free Future Project and YERT film preview on 2/11 in Pittsburgh
We have a very special event coming up in Pittsburgh– Ben is a key performer in and has created short film “faux-mercials” and visuals for the Coal Free Future Project’s presentation of “Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal,” an original multimedia play by Jeff Biggers, American Book Award winner and frequent contributor to Huffington Post and The Nation. From the Coal Free Future Project’s website: “The performance draws attention to the national scandal of mountaintop removal mining, and the grave health impacts of coal mining and coal-fired plants, and the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate destabilization triggered by CO2 emissions.” In addition to Jeff and Ben, the play features and is directed by Appalachian Voices National Field Coordinator and actress Stephanie Pistello, and is set to songs by some of coal country’s finest songwriters. After the performance, we’ll be screening selected “sneak peek” chapters of the YERT feature film– chapters featuring Joel Salatin, Wes Jackson, and other favorite personalities from the trip. We’re eager to get your honest feedback to help shape the creation of the film!

Picture from Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal
<-- Here's a picture from "Welcome to the Saudi Arabia of Coal," courtesy of the Coal Free Future Project.
The event happens from 8-10pm on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 at the Union Project Great Hall, 801 N. Negley Ave., Pittsburgh, PA. Contact mark@yert.com for more details. For more information about the Coal Free Future Project and additional events around the country in Louisville, KY, Asheville, NC, Washington DC, Columbus, OH, Lexington, KY, and NYC, visit http://CoalFreeFutureProject.org.

Mark & Ben featured on “The Wall” by Repower America
Through a bit of magic performed by our friends at Repower America, Mark and Ben have been given exclusive “big boxes” to highlight the videos posted on “The Wall,” a collection of countless videos by activists sharing their views about the need for action on climate change. Ben and Mark created videos sharing our views, and our small squares were upgraded to more easy to see “large squares.” Browse around here and then click on the picture of Mark or Ben to listen to our messages! Here’s The Wall. Or if you want to cheat and go right to our video messages (with, oddly, small squares for us), click for Mark’s message and Ben’s Message.

Find Mark and Ben on The Wall!

Film Festival Update
Scott and Ben have been working their tails off on the latest cut of the YERT film, with our most recent film submission going into the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. The next big entry date is the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride, CO. We’re still waiting for results from the South By Southwest entry. In the meantime, we’re working to get the time of our film down to 90 minutes, with the next big developments likely to be the addition of additional narration and some motion graphics to move the story along more effectively. After that we’ll drop in some custom music. We are currently trying to get the film fully baked by the summer of 2010.

Marketing Survey Results + ChicoBag Winners!
Thank you all for the excellent feedback that you contributed through the marketing survey that we released in December. It was extremely helpful to our planning and marketing efforts– so much so that I’d like to share it with you and put the knowledge into the public domain to help other filmmakers out there. You can check out the data about pricing and demographics here. And there were some wonderful suggestions for marketing an environmental feature film in our open-ended question, with the top 99 suggestions collected in our blog here.

And, as promised, we’ll be shipping out a YERT ChicoBag to five special survey participants, chosen at random (via random number generator in Excel). Congratulation to the winners, specifically…

  • Joan Hare
  • David Buscher
  • Callie Williams
  • Aaron Meyers
  • Ellie Gordon

How YERT raised $20,000
We are thrilled and a little stunned by the incredible flow of donations from YERT supporters all around the world. We received contributions from over 30 brand new donors in December, bringing the total number of donors to 119, raising just over $20,000 in December. We blew away the matching donation of $3,000, and apparently that got the ball rolling with people coming out in waves to support the project. Most (95%) of the money came through checks written to Pittsburgh Filmmakers, with 5% coming through PayPal.

We were wondering how we were going to find the funds to finish the film, and this round of support lets us worry much less about that and focus on finishing the film. We still need more money to do it right, but this keeps the core team in gear for the foreseeable future. It also gives us more options for marketing and distribution when that time comes around– increasing the impact of the YERT film even more.

We can’t thank you enough for all of your incredible support. May you have a happy, GREEN new year, and please keep in touch.

Ben, Julie, and Mark


Just $650 of matching funds left!

Since we announced our $3,000 matching contribution on Dec. 17, we have received an amazing $2,350 of contributions. Doubled, that comes to $4,700 raised in less than two weeks! Can you make a donation to use up $650 of remaining matching funds before the end of the year?

Click here to make a tax-deductible and MATCHED donation to YERT!

And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the “YERT Filmmaking Lair,” take a look! You’ll see Ben, Scott, and Mark discuss the nitty gritty elements of eco-filmmaking.

Click here to watch the “YERT Filmmaking Lair”…

This is your last chance in 2009 to put your money where your mouth, or your mind, or your heart is. Every penny removed from the “extractive” economy and delivered to YERT helps to bring about a more sustainable world in a direct, loving way. Can you help us reach our year-end goal of $10,000?

Count my donation as a vote for a more sustainable world!

As always, we’re funded by love, encouragement, and your financial contributions. Thank you for sending them our way!

Happy New Year,

Ben, Julie, and Mark


WATCH: Inside the YERT Filmmaking Lair

Dear YERTians,

We’ve created a new video to give you an inside look at the “YERT Filmmaking Lair,” where our feature film is coming to life– see our grand plans on the giant whiteboard, meet our editor, Scott, and then find out what gives him his secret powers!

Click here to watch the “YERT Filmmaking Lair”…

We also just received a generous matching offer from an anonymous YERT donor: $3,000 of funds to double donations given before January 1st!

Click here to make a tax-deductible and MATCHED donation to YERT!

We’re trying to raise a total of $10,000 by the end of the year, which will give us the funds to pay our editor for a few more months and kick start our grass-roots distribution and fundraising plans for the new year. Can you spare a dime? Please consider making a year-end tax-deductible donation at

We believe that the planet and those working for her care deserve a voice, and the YERT feature film will do just that. We’re funded by love, encouragement, and your finacial contributions, so please help us keep the message alive and well by making a MATCHED donation.

Thanks for your support!

Ben, Julie, and Mark


YERT Submits to SXSW Film Festival

Just wanted to let you all know that Ben and Scott submitted a fresh new cut of the YERT feature film to the SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival! They pulled a butt-kickin’ all nighter last friday and today I received official notice that our submission was received. So now we wait. Looks like we’ll find out it we’re in the festival on or before February 12, 2010. Stay tuned!!


And the Sundance results are…

We finally received the results from Sundance and they are:

YERT was not accepted…

…but all is certainly not lost. (In fact they only took one environmental documentary film out of nearly 10,000 total submissions.) This just makes all of you, our grassroots supporters, all the more important. In fact, we’re convinced more than ever that the feature film will move countless environmentalists to action– both new and battle-tested activists alike. We just need a little more time to get it ready for prime time. We’re seriously examining the possibility of self-distribution, but we need to collect more information to do it well.

Please take our “YERT MARKETING SURVEY” by answering 10 quick questions here:


As a thank you, we’ll give away five YERT ChicoBags to five lucky survey responders, selected at random.

Our submission to Sundance was very rough and incomplete– nothing compared to what we expect to create with a little more time (and money). Now we have our sights set on several other solid festivals – SXSW, Florida, and Tribeca. While the film remains far from done, we’ll keep whittling away at it until it finds its way successfully out into the world.

In the meantime, stay tuned for continued updates and thank you for helping us get this far. And don’t forget to fill out the YERT MARKETING SURVEY!


Happy Holidays,
Ben, Julie, and Mark

P.S. Many thanks to our awesome unpaid marketing intern, Vidya Sarma from Chicago, for assembling the survey!

YERT in CA – Full Report!

Dear YERTians,

YERT had a fantastic visit to Los Angeles and San Francisco, just before Thanksgiving. We gave sneak peeks to a few chapters from the upcoming YERT feature film and received extremely positive reviews across the board, from average citizens to industry professionals– from Sony, Warner Brothers, and Disney! Read on for highlights…

While Ben and Scott pulled multiple all-nighters to finish key chapters in advance of our Sony screening, Mark gave 11 YERT presentations in one week, introducing the project to hundreds of people– many working in the heart of the entertainment industry. Ben was planning to join me in CA, but a last-minute bout of family flu on the home front kept him in Kentucky to hold down the fort. I missed him on the trip, but his editing efforts at home that week were invaluable…

Here’s a quick outline of what you’ll find in this update:

  • All Saints Church in Pasadena
  • The Great Waste Challenge
  • Warner Brothers
  • Sony Pictures
  • EPA and Berkeley
  • Green Festival
  • Presidio Green MBA Friends
  • Wrap-up
  • ChicoBags for Sale!

All Saints Church in Pasadena
Things got off to a great start with a presentation packed by 50+ eager audience members at All Saints Church in Pasadena. All Saints is a hotbed for activist activity, and the audience was delighted and inspired by the footage and stories from the road trip– so much so that we’re going to try to visit again for another presentation. That event sparked all sorts of interesting activity, including a presentation at USC (University of Southern California) and a private screening for eco-activist friends of Don and Mary Thomas on Wednesday of that week.

The Great Waste Challenge
We also made some headway in the long process of presenting inside elementary, middle, and high schools in the Los Angeles area. A connection through Pittsburgh’s own Carl Kurlander (writer of “St. Elmo’s Fire” and producer of “My Tale of Two Cities” ) put us in touch with Janet Loeb, a parent and green consultant working to bring sustainability to schools in Los Angeles via the “Great Waste Challenge.” They’re working on innovative ways of reducing waste in schools (similar to YERT’s “one shoebox of garbage” challenge), and planning to eventually integrate composting and farming projects to the mix. We love what they’re doing and hope to work together down the road as they bring environmental awareness to schools in fun, creative ways. If it takes off in LA, then we hope to see it expand nationwide!

Warner Brothers
Janet also put us in touch with friends of hers in the media industry, who promptly invited me to their home for a private screening. The husband in that friendly couple is an executive at Warner Brothers, and he was extremely impressed by the YERT project and immediately started brainstorming with me on ways to get our film funded and our footage out into the world. We’ll keep you posted on those efforts as they develop.

Sony Pictures
The Sony presentation was a highlight of the week, and I spent most of the day on-site at their massive studio facility in Culver City. It was a “green Sony day” of sorts, and after lunch with my friendly hosts, I proceeded to attend an event in which they discussed all the ways in which Sony was going green. Kind of amazing to see such a massive business grapple with the early steps of greening their entire organization. They introduced the YERT project by name and encouraged all attendees to go to our screening later that evening! Next I spent a couple hours downloading newly finished film chapters from the all-nighter-pulling dynamic-editing-duo of Ben and Scott, integrated the footage into the presentation, ran through it a couple times, then wandered off to meet my hosts for happy hour, and then on to the screening room for the presentation. I had two full hours in a beautiful screening room– perhaps the most beautiful setting of any YERT screening to-date! I ran through a handful of film chapters, combined with short films, brief video clips, photos and stories. The audience (probably about 25 people) was delighted by the results and I stayed for a while afterwards meeting with viewers who were eager to offer their support and assistance. I’m still busy following up on all those leads as I write this…

EPA and Berkeley
The next big event was a lunchtime presentation at the EPA in San Francisco. I shared stories and videos with the employees there, and made a few contacts with scientists who may be able to help us fact-check elements of the film. Then I drove over towards Berkeley for a private presentation at the home of YERT fans and family Erin and Dio. We had over 20 people that evening, and once again the response was overwhelmingly positive. People laughed and smiled and reflected and talked about what they saw.

Green Festival
I spent the remaining days connecting with friends in San Francisco, including a visit to the SF Green Festival, where I met up with YERT friends Joey Shepp (green new media consultant/entrepreneur – http://www.joeyshepp.com/ ), Theo Chocolate, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and a few others. I also found a couple of new things that I felt were worth sharing with you: DogFlushies.com sells water-soluble dog poo baggies that you can flush down your toilet after walking your dog. Amazing. And Rentalic.com, a website that lets you rent items that you own (or want to borrow) (like lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, garden tools, video projector, or other tools that you may use once in a while) for a small fee– helping people do more with less consumption. Everything else was green and interesting, but didn’t jump out like Rentalic and DogFlushies.

Presidio Green MBA Friends and More
I also want to give a shout out to Ali Hart and Ted Ko from the Presidio Sustainable MBA program for helping to spread the word about YERT throughout California. They were instrumental in getting the Sony presentation set up and continue to be thoughtful inspirations and sounding boards for YERTy ideas as they surface. And I also want to thank Damien Somerset (http://Zaproot.com and http://ShiftLogic.org) for more great connections and helpful brainstorming in Los Angeles.

It is difficult to put into words the support and encouragement– not to mention the joy– that I felt and received from enthusiastic old and new YERT fans during this recent adventure. It put wind into the YERT sails and gives us a good feeling that the film to which we have (yourselves included) dedicated so much time, money, blood, sweat, tears, will make a powerful difference in the lives of those who experience it. All we need to do is finish it up and get it out there– and that will surely come in the months ahead.

ChicoBags for Sale!
We’re still low on funds and need thousands to properly finish the film. Please consider a tax-deductible YERT donation this holiday season: http://www.yert.com/donate.php . A healthy, YERTy planet may well be the best gift you can give to your children. We are also sitting on an inventory of nearly 300 YERT ChicoBags, and would love to sell them to continue funding the film. They make great holiday gifts (and gift WRAPPERS) — please check them out and buy a few at our online store: http://www.yert.com/shert_shop.php .

Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm and support for YERT and our planet. It’s going to get more and more interesting as these days pass…

YERTfully Yours,
Mark (and Ben and Julie!)

Can you help us get a Webby?

YERT will be applying for a Webby award this year– but first need to raise $255 in donations for the application fee. Can you help?

To donate, go to http://www.yert.com/donate.php

We traveled to all 50 states in one year to document fun and uplifting stories about sustainability across the country. You’ve contributed thousands of dollars to keep us afloat. Now we’re working hard to get more eyeballs on the project to expand support for the feature film! One way we hope to do that is to apply for a Webby award (like a Grammy, but for the web). If nominated, we’ll get thousands of new visitors to the site, many of whom will walk away with a different perspective about the environmental movement. If we WIN, then thousands more will see how serious we are about having fun with sustainability.

We think we’ve got the right stuff to get nominated, and even to win– we just need some funding help in order to apply. $255 of funding to be exact.

Can you contribute $10 to help us change the public’s perception of the environmental movement? To introduce YERT to thousands of new eyeballs?

To donate, go to http://www.yert.com/donate.php

Thank you for your continued support!

Humbly Yours,
Mark, Ben, and Julie (The YERT Team)

(To learn more about the Webby Awards, click here: http://www.webbyawards.com . We’ll be applying in the Online Film and Video category for Documentary:Series.)