Climate Change and Mountainfilm

A Shepard Fairey Mural in Telluride that Embodies the Spirit of Mountainfilm, Our Mountain Town and So Much Else

Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.

Repeat this exercise slowly, focusing solely on the breath for twenty minutes. Either that or grab yourself a bottle of tequila.

I’ve been doing this a lot lately–the former, although I am known to enjoy a good margarita, sometimes two in times of stress. I had to quadruple my relaxation efforts this afternoon as I watched President Trump brazenly declare that he was leaving the Paris Climate Agreements. Wow, fortunately we had some heads up from “leaked news.” It really felt like he was the one leaving this international accord for reducing carbon emissions. It didn’t feel like it was my country, the United States of America. I’m not big on stats but I believe I saw yesterday that almost seventy percent of the American people believe in climate change and the importance of the Paris Agreements. Plus, there’s more to be gained economically in moving forward with the times than being plunged back into the Dark Ages, or at least the Industrial Age. (There’s no such thing as clean coal.)

Telluride, Colorado: Mother Earth at Its Finest

Jeez, I’m feeling pretty embarrassed, too. My deepest apologizes to my European friends, particularly my Paris friends. To say “I’m choosing Pittsburgh over Paris” is so small. I can’t believe a president of the United States actually said that. It’s not about pitting one city against another or poking one of the most revered world capitals with a demeaning remark. I promise you, this does not reflect the views of most Americans. (Even the mayor of Pittsburgh seemed appalled by this statement in a tweet he sent out shortly after Trump’s speech.)

Breathe. We are bigger than the views of Donald Trump. I apologize to anyone that’s one of his staunch supporters. I just encourage you to look at the science and the facts. He’s obviously a climate change denier (even if it’s just one of sorts), because our planet can’t afford to lose any more time. We can’t delay anymore. The clock is running out. Why renegotiate agreements that require a voluntary participation at best? We need to be the world’s leader in caring for the environment; we need a far greater show of diplomacy. It’s time to stop pushing people and countries around, both figuratively and literally.

A Scene of the Healthy Part of the Great Barrier Reef from the film Chasing Coral

Coral: Where the Little Fish Live

Coral Glory

Do you know that 22% of the Great Barrier Reef died off in 2016? Yes, it’s true. And science proves that this is due to the rise in the temperature of our oceans. From Australia to Hawaii and many waters in between and beyond, it’s happening all over the world. Our oceans are warming up faster than our air. You might wonder why is coral so important? Sure, it’s incredibly beautiful but more importantly, it creates the perfect habitat for small fish and other marine creatures to live. If the coral dies, so do the small fish, then the big fish that feed on them, then it’s the death of a whole ecosystem. Economically, the fishing industry would be kaput! And that will happen within the next thirty years if our oceans continue to warm at the same rate as they have these past few decades.

Next it will be our forests.

I’m not a scientist, but if you know me or have read some of my stories in my blog, you know I’m a passionate person. I’ve been passionate about the environment before recycling ever came into fashion. I think I first started tossing bottles and cans in proper receptacles in the mid eighties when I was living in France. Since then, I’m practically OCD about recycling and living green, which is what you have to do to reduce, reuse and recycle. I haven’t bought a box of Ziploc bags in over fifteen years. Instead, I rinse and reuse ones that appear in my life, treating each one practically like treasured heirlooms. (Yes, I am a little nutty.)

The Scene Last Weekend at Mountainfilm Telluride

A Mountainfilm Presentation at the Historic Sheridan Opera House

But this is what it takes, in addition to signing petitions, sharing information with others and advocating for the environment at every chance. Fortunately I’ve been able to glean a good amount of information and form my values from Mountainfilm, a wonderful festival of films, artwork, presentations, books and ideas that takes place every Memorial Day weekend here in Telluride, Colorado. I so encourage you to attend some day. You can also check out Mountainfilm on Tour to see when or if they might be coming to your town.

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Mountainfilm, The Last Ocean and Travel to Antarctica

The Last Ocean Penguin

The Last Ocean Penguin

I’m grateful to live in Telluride, Colorado, a town that’s both environmentally aware and full of social consciousness. We’re far from perfect, although as I travel to other parts of the world, I realize how down-to-earth and forward-thinking most of us Telluriders are  and how that effects the way in which we live. From our desire to embrace the outdoors on a daily basis to championing a cause such as eliminating the use of plastic bags, most of us live more tuned in to our little slice of paradise—as well as the rest of the world—each and every day.

Mountainfilm, an important Telluride festival founded thirty-five years ago, is perhaps part of the reason for this awareness. Or, maybe it’s the reverse in that Mountainfilm is able to flourish in Telluride, a community that greatly values the outdoors and being a steward of your surroundings. Regardless, Mountainfilm and Telluride go hand-in-hand and whether here in T-ride or on the road, Mountainfilm is dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter both in Telluride, Colorado and all over the planet.

There’s so much to glean from Mountainfilm that it’s hard to zero in on one particular film, talk or art exhibit. I typically do, however, and this year “The Last Ocean,” a documentary about the last most pristine body of water on earth, touched me the most. From the opening scene of a penguin scampering across the blinding-white ice to glorious views of whales, seals and other remarkable creatures frolicking in crystal-clear water, I dove into this film with great enthusiasm. As the film played on, I became increasingly heartbroken about how man is impacting this seemingly unspoiled sea, known as the Ross Sea, located in the Southern Ocean. I learned that although Antarctica, the land mass that borders the Ross Sea, is protected by international accords, the water surrounding it is not. Sadly, commercial fishing has made its mark in recent years, so much so, in fact, that this remarkable marine ecosystem is now in peril.

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Right to Play, Learn and Inspire at Mountainfilm in Telluride

Mountainfilm Telluride

Here it is Friday afternoon and plus it’s almost summer. Many people in the United States are gearing up for the weekend, starting it full-on actually. This is the time when most of us exercise our God-given right to play. Recreation, sport, play—have you ever contemplated how important this is in our lives? Most of us first learned to play when we were little kids. Play teaches us so much—how to get along, how to compete, how to follow rules and more. It’s not just about fun although fun is a key component to any game.

Right to Play

So imagine being a child in a war-torn country where play of any kind is nonexistent. Frank Marshall, part-time Telluride resident, renowned Hollywood producer and director of the ESPN movie “Right to Play,” talked about his film and the necessity of play last weekend at a coffee talk at Mountainfilm Festival here in T-ride. Mr. Marshall told the story about how one kid in a far flung, ruined country became popular because he had a long sleeve shirt that could be rolled up into a ball and used for play. Contemplate that when you’re out on your boat this weekend.

Thank goodness there are heros like Johann Olav Koss, an Olympic speed-skating champion from Norway that used his drive and influence to create the global organization Right to Play. Now over 700,000 children in about two dozen countries are benefiting from the joy and discovery of play made possible by Johann Koss, a score of other Olympic athletes and teams of workers from around the world. Frank Marshall captures the indomitable spirit of this Olympic champion and the hope and love he brings to the children touched by Right to Play. Best of all:  You can watch the forty-two minute “Right to Play” film tomorrow afternoon, Saturday June 2nd, on ABC. Check your local listings for the correct time in your zone. It’s such a wonderful film that I’d guess it will be played again on other outlets at other times. more »

More Online Shopping Recommendations

Beautiful and Edible Treats for the Doggies

The heck with ordering from Amazon or Lands’ End, why not be more original and shop from a quaint online boutique? I’m thrilled to see that mom-and-pop Internet businesses continue to open daily, so let’s patronize them as much as possible. These little shops and shopping offers—whether online or on your street corner—make up the soul of America.

For pampered pups, order some freshly-baked dog treats from My Dog’s Bakery, a business recently located to Ridgway, Colorado. I can’t say they’re delicious, however, they are yummy-looking and surely lovingly made.

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Seasonal and Savory: A Delightful Blog Chockfull of Recipes for All Seasons

Saffron and Honey Rolls

I began following Angela Cooks on Facebook a couple of months ago and found myself constantly clicking through her FB links to posts on her Seasonal and Savory blog. I haven’t made a single recipe but I have enjoyed many heartwarming culinary moments through her sharing.

I came to discover that Angela Cooks is actually Angela Buchanan, a professor at CU Boulder where she teaches rhetoric. I didn’t even know that was a course. “It’s a Communications Class,” Angela explains to me in the below Travel Fun interview. And yes, there is a connection with food, this enthusiastic cook’s passion both in and out of the classroom. In the first part of our chat, she talks about a Food & Culture class that she teaches in which students must do a food memoir. Tune in to hear what she says. Aren’t some of our best memories, especially travel-related ones, associated with the memory of certain foods?

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23 Aug 2011, 3:51pm
Being Green Podcasts Travel:
Comments Off on Wallace “J.” Nichols: Marine Biologist Extraordinaire

Wallace “J.” Nichols: Marine Biologist Extraordinaire

Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols

If you love our world, click on the play button below and listen to my interview with Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols, one of the world’s biggest defenders of the big blue. Inspired by Jacques Cousteau at an early age, J. is an effective communicator about what’s going on with our planet from an ocean perspective.

“Our ocean is in trouble,” J. tells me in this Travel Fun interview. “We’re putting too much into it, taking too much out of it and destroying the edge,” he continues. Tune in to learn about his three calls to action.

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Welcoming Summer and Contemplating Climate Change

Telluride House Band Including Sam and Béla at Bluegrass

Telluride House Band Including Jerry, Tim, Sam and Béla at Bluegrass

Some 12,000 people ushered in summer over the weekend at the thirty-eighth annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival here in my pristine mountain town. That’s about four times the year-round population of Telluride, a town that has remained picture-perfect partly due to its remote location. Just over 4,000 of these folks were campers, many of whom came from all over the country to attend this world famous four-day happening of sun and song, free spirited-ness and fun. If you look around T-ride today, you’d hardly guess that the town of Telluride and Planet Bluegrass had put on such a party just a couple days ago. Even throughout the festival, there’s scant evidence of un-managed festival waste and even fossil-fuel burning vehicles are kept at a minimum. (Lots of bicycles and enthusiastic walkers though.) Indeed, the organizers of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival know that our majestic mountains and verdant valleys are as much a prized part of this great summer solstice gathering as the picking and strumming of festival regulars Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan and Béla Fleck. Festival organizers have imparted this love and will for preserving the environment to their devoted festivarians and best of all, facilitate people’s ability to reduce waste at every turn.

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Bag It and Green Travel

Suzan and the Bag Monster

Suzan and the Bag Monster

In honor of Earth Day, next Friday, April 22, I wanted to once again draw your attention to “Bag It,” the award-winning documentary produced and directed by Telluride local Suzan Beraza. April is also an important month for this informative and highly entertaining film since this is when PBS has chosen to make it available to their viewers.

I sat down with Suzan last fall and interviewed her for Travel Fun, my talk radio show on travel. I highly encourage you to click on the link below to listen to what Suzan says about “Bag It” and why we should all pay more attention to our consumption and use of plastic. There’s no lecturing in this movie—or in the interview for that matter—but Suzan and her work (as well as my chat with her!) politely reveal that plastic doesn’t just go away. Where is away anyway? In honor of Earth Day, which I try to celebrate every day of the year, please listen to our interview by clicking on the below link.

Click to play the Suzan Beraza interview

If you tuned in to the interview, you should now be on your way to realizing that buying water in a plastic bottle is a silly concept. Suzan started “Bag It” by making a short film about the plastic bag challenge between Aspen and Telluride a few years ago. Her project grew in scope as she discovered to what extent plastic impacts our environment. “Bag It” began with plastic bags and then expanded to reveal how single-use items such as plastic forks wreak havoc in our world. It follows one man’s journey, played  byTelluride local, Jeb Berrier, as he learns more about plastic, how it’s unhealthy for us and the environment.

Cutting down on our consumption of plastic and being green overall can sometimes be challenging. The task often becomes an even taller order while traveling. But in all cases, the reward is great and isn’t it our duty to at least try to be better stewards of our environment? In our interview, Suzan chats about her experiences traveling the world, promoting “Bag It.” Be sure to tune in to hear some of her observations about how other countries are faring in their efforts to be green. We also share how all of us can become more eco-friendly travelers.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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