Saturday, May 10, 2014

Marie-France Roy - The Little Things




We all live together.

Most people can relate to our current technology-dependant lifestyle, our everyday grind, and such great advances that are made each year in technology, medicine, and communication. We work our fingers to the bone, it seems, and it is easy to get caught up and lose sight of our role in the world. We often have brief glimpses of our species' relation to other species on this planet. For me, I get blown away by bird migration, spring emergence, and camping. The sounds of nature when you go out for the first time in a while and shake off the city-it is deafening and still at the same time. The feeling you get when you are way up in the mountains and backcountry and you realize that you aren't the top predator. It is the sense of man in the world and it's larger than our living room or metro area.

Now step back and think about us as outdoor enthusiasts-be it snowboarders, skiers, climbers, fisherman, swimmers, paddlers, hunters-we put ourselves into these elements and benefit from those elements and natural resources. It is that connection that feeds our soul and is somewhat ingrained. Water sports-people are literally in the water, hunters wake up early to sync with animals' foraging behavior, and snowboarders' love of powdery snow.

Marie-France Roy and filmmaker Darcy Turenne's film The Little Things is coming out this fall and I am super-excited about it! The film focuses on what we can do to live sustainably with the earth and help the environment, but the focus is on us, her, her friends, and us collectively. The film educates and brings awareness to the actions people are taking themselves each day-the little steps. The Little Things we do. This is important because as human nature demonstrates, the competitive spirit of people often drives an "I do more than you" (I logged more days on the snow, I ran further, I have the best gear, I scored higher), go-big attitude that can prohibit people from trying. People feel it all the time. This film doesn't focus on the go-big. Will it be the go-big that saves us anyway? We can't wait for that…

Marie-France answered my questions about the film and shared her insight. I am so grateful for her to share her thoughts below.

1. Tell me about your approach to the film and its positive message. Where did that come from (choosing to focus on the positivity and small actions one can do)? Why go little as opposed to go big?

In my opinion, climate change is way too big of an issue to be resolved overnight and by one person alone. I believe it is humanity's biggest challenge with so many factors involved and there are still many people unaware of it all or simply feel detached from the natural world. The reality is, we are all part of the problem but we can all be a part of the solution. It will only get resolved if we all come together and act as a team, where everyone does whatever they can. If enough people do the little things they can and care, it will influence our families, our friends, the companies and business around us and eventually our political leaders to make the bigger scale changes that we really need. But we have to start at the bottom and there is still a lot of work to be done there.

2.The two movie teasers are made up of riding and people's stories and actions, but outside of the film what other conversations did the crew and riders have off-camera or conservations you've had in general help to demonstrate how little things you can do for the environment add up? For example the city you live in (or any city or community for that matter), have you witnessed individuals doing little things that caught on and grew into something larger

The movie will be filled with narration and stories from interviews we did with each rider, similar to Dr. David Suzuki in our latest trailer. Each rider brings in totally different perspectives, which shows that each person can make a difference in their own unique ways, depending on their situations and assets at the time. From Tamo Campos telling us about his last 2 years traveling on a veggie bus in Northern BC to learn about the pipelines and extraction projects in Northern BC, Gretchen explaining her 21 Day Reusable Challenge campaign or visit at The White House, Jeremy telling us why and how he founded Protect Our Winters (POW), Mike Basich showing us his handmade home from Sacred Geometry plans in Tahoe or Meghann O'Brien introducing us to her cedar weaving art and her reconnection with her aboriginal ancestor's way of living...etc... I find them all so different and so inspiring.

3.The Kickstarter campaign is a way for people to help. What other support or words of encouragement have you received that you may or may not have expected?

I have had so many of my friends contribute and people contacting me to help out.  For many of them, I had no idea they cared about the cause. A lot of parents expressed their encouragement and their wish for good quality of life for their children and grandchildren. The support has been amazing and it is so scary to stand up for something like that. It's almost become a taboo subject where people don't want to hear about it or you aren't supposed to say that you care unless you have zero footprint. We are all hypocrites in a way and I hope that people realize that if we need to have no footprint in order speak or take the charge, that might just mean Game Over for the Planet. We all need resources and energy to live, it's a matter of using them properly with long-term quality of life in mind. 

4. What has been your favorite thing about filming this movie as opposed to a feature-focus on riding specifically? 

It has been a challenging ride for sure, but such a rewarding one. I wanted to create something to give back to snowboarding while insuring that the next generations can enjoy it like I do. 

5. Any lessons learned? 

I learned so much in so many ways. I learned that big changes will only happen once the people demand it or once the situation gets bad enough that we are left with no other choices. I also learned a lot about the whole public relations side of it. You could be the most exemplary person out there or the most talented snowboarder in the world, but if you don't put yourself out there, nobody benefits from that inspiring potential. With social media these days, we can share knowledge and ideas in no time all the way around the world and I feel like we have to use it for the better good. 

6. What are your hopeful outcomes for the movie?

Our biggest hopes are that people feel inspired positively from these outstanding stories. The last thing we want is that people feel guilty or preached on. That leads nowhere. 

7. Can you describe for us how being outside in nature makes you feel? 

It makes me feel alive and the happiest I could be. I have been spending a lot of time on my computer everyday lately for this film and whenever I get the chance to go snowboarding or go hike in the forest, it's like a recharge of nutrients and energy. Many people forget but we are nature too and we all directly depend on it.  It's where we are meant to be!

All proceeds of the film will go towards Protect our Winters and the David Suzuki Foundation.

Make sure you check out the Kickstarter page here ------->Kickstarter Projects The Little Things Movie and consider pledging. 



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Be About It Now

Chelsea posted this story on me last year on her amazing blog called Be About It Now.
Please check it out! Just a little bit of background on why I started this blog. Hope you are having a great winter!!

Northstar fun

Went to Northstar last week in Cali with my friends and despite the lack of slopes open had a blast! The snow was great, but I am from the ice coast, so go figure…

So many great riders and their terrain park set-up was great! Hope the Sierra's get the big snow that they are expecting!!

video

Music: The Lees of Memory, Open your arms up
Video: Yours truly, 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Beyond Boarding

Make sure you check out the good folks at Beyond Boarding to take the pledge towards making positive change through humanitarian and environmental activisim.  I took the pledge towards awareness and education through keeping up this blog. Believe it or not, keeping this blog fresh and updated is the hardest thing for me. That's not to say that tackling my transportation issue isn't easy, but I all ready have an addictive competition to recycle, compost, and have captured the low-hanging fruit at home (that's another post). I could stand to make a capital investment in sealing my ducts (discovered during an energy audit) and it would be awesome to install solar since we have a great system where I live (I currently purchase green power through my distributor)…those things will come.

I would like to continue my efforts in research, so there you go…my pledge to keep this going. I encourage you to make a pledge! Even if it's a small one, the power of one is where it's at.

Check it out here ----->> Beyond Boarding

Final commute results…worth the effort!

I wanted to share my final results of the Commuter Challenge. I had hoped and planned on biking a partial route to work to raise awareness and offset my total greenhouse gases, but injured my shoulder... so the bike commute didn't happen. I did, however, get a chance to collect more information from local bike stores and outdoor stores that support biking and what I found was a thriving community that has produced some great educational literature and maps for commuting via bike. I would still like to bike in one day and will make sure to cover that when it happens.

The last two weeks, I honestly lost momemtum after hurting my shoulder and spent the last two weeks sulking and went back to driving. Pretty lame, but I could use the data for the final couple of weeks as a control for comparing the time that I did try commuting options. Here are the results:

Alternative Commuting (bus, carpooling, telecommuting):

Total miles traveled alone via car-406
Total miles carpooled-301
Total GHG produced-489 lbs
Total GHG saved-234 lbs
Total spent $120
Total saved $58

versus

Regular old commuting (car):

Total miles traveled via car-429.2
Total GHG produced-466 lbs
Total GHG saved- 0 lbs
Total spent $115
Total saved $0

After looking at the totals, I am considering the purchase of a hybrid or electric commuter car for my next purchase. The cost savings alone would make this a great investment, but most importantly I could reduce or offset my greenhouse gas emissions. I have to admit, it really felt great to reverse the greenhouse emissions. I could see how this action could drive some people to want to try to offset their emissions. I plan on continuing to taking the bus when it fits my schedule. Until you try something, you'll never learn. I'm very happy that the Commuter Challenge was a driving force to get me to try this and that I kept up the momentum. I wish that my crazy yoga injury would not have happened, but life happens. Just because the challenge is over doesn't mean I have to stop, so I will try biking.

I would like to encourage readers to try explore the alternatives yourself and see what you think. It may take a lot of courage and self-motivation, but you can learn something!

Keep trying!

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and all articles and opinions contained within are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or commuter challenge. Examples of the analysis are only examples as they are based on limited data. Assumptions made within are not reflective of anyone's position but my own.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Commute Update

Week #2 of the challenge has flown by! This week was a little less adventurous than week #1. I carpooled with some friends this week as we traveled for our jobs and telecommuted one day. Great ways to save money, use less gas, and improve productivity!

I stopped into one of our local bike store this weekend to ask how many of their customers commute from roughly where I live to downtown where I work. There are actually quite a few; however, most don't bike the entire 20 miles, but park at their store (~ 5 miles away from downtown) and ride the greenbelt. I wondered to myself if this was in the true spirit of commuting to work? It would burn more calories through exercise and be a nice ride, but probably not save a lot of money and maybe just a little bit on gas. According to Bicycle Universe, it take only 13 extra minutes to bike that far, so my commute time would be roughly equal. I wonder how many more lbs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions it would save? I've thrown down a challenge to a co-worker to bike the greenbelt with me into work. We'll see if this happens!

Statistics:

Telecommuting- 17.9 lbs of greenhouse gases saved for the week
Carpooling-we traveled 300 miles in the carpool, so rid -sharing for the trip saved 198.4 lbs of greenhouse gases and saved ~$20

Total savings for the past two weeks- approximately $60
Total GHG-333 lbs. produced
Total GHG saved-234 lbs.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I wish there was a grease bus here


Usually my mornings consist of a picturesque tour of the concrete jungle. Retaining walls, exit ramps, merge lanes, the continual hum of the engine behind my playlist of choice. Driving the interstate everyday is just depressing, no other way to put it...it's not the Appalachian Trail. Afternoon gridlock and freak-outs to get there in time is a norm that makes me visual cortisol being expelled from some poor jaundiced gland in my body. 

Today wasn't too bad. 

Yes, I almost missed the first pick-up because I had to drive to the park-and-ride and managed to hit every school zone and red light on the way, but in the end I made it on time by a hair. I had the bus to myself for the first 15 minutes. I found out that there are some commuters that work downtown that ride in. There are also a lot of students that ride the bus to the university. I didn't have to worry about anything except for the content of the book that I started. I listened to my playlist and the next thing I knew I was there...about 50 minutes later. It normally takes me 20 minutes, so yeah I lost some time; however, I got to work the same time I normally do since I left earlier. Two observations, I felt like I was transported back to my college years in some ways. Maybe it was the Greenpeace book and REM I was listening to. Maybe it was the carefree nature of not having a car and pulling the chain to request a stop and walking into work that made things feel different. Second thought was how I imagined drivers. It was almost like this western sense of "I have a car, therefore I should drive".  I also realized that I could've picked the bus up closer to my office if I would've looked up at the bus stop signs. I've been noticing more of bus and bike signs the past three days. That's kinda cool. It's like I am learning how to navigate my city for the first time. 

Final tally for today-18 lbs of greenhouse gases saved! $3.71 saved on gas, which pretty much was negated by the bus ticket price. Half a gallon of gas saved. It appears that the monthly total will tell the truth.

If you think you know your city, try something different. Change your point of view and rediscover how to navigate it aside from your norm. 

I'm going to call the bike shop. I'm pretty sure these folks have it figured out. I'm pretty sure that they have a different view than the retaining wall and the tales of the Rainbow Warrior. I want to hear their stories and to be honest I want to see this commute from that point of view.

Chillax in the tube