The resourceful folks at Earth Day Texas, organizers of the country’s largest Earth Day, have created EDMo, a monthly series of interactive actions ranging from panel discussions to outings (known as EDTx-EXP, for Expeditions) to keep the momentum going all year long. This month’s EDMo featured David Booth Gardner, founder and CEO of Planet Experts, as well as Dallas-based visual artist and oceanographic activist Jeremy McKane, globetrotting documentarian and Planet Experts contributor, Rick Baraff and Planet Experts’ Senior VP, Ariane Sims, to talk about “The Reality of Now and the Hope of the Future.”
As David says, “Unfortunately, the reality isn’t pretty,” but that’s exactly why he founded Planet Experts — to coordinate news, resources and information to ultimately empower everyone and spur action in the fight to turn the planet towards more sustainable ways and means. Thus, teaming up with Earth Day Texas to provide information and share resources in such a forum as EDMo is a great way to multiply and amplify the message and the action.
In front of a full crowd at Times Ten Cellars in Dallas, Texas, the panel touched upon subjects ranging from the rainforest to the oceans – not just to harp on the seemingly insurmountable ways in which they are being negatively affected, but to talk about what many people are doing to create change and the ways in which everyone can do their part with just a little knowledge and some gumption.
Jeremy McKane has created Lucid, an interactive visual project that takes viewers directly into the oceans to see and experience the beauty as well as the pollution (in his project, the viewers’ minds control what they get to see). Having filmed documentary-style projects from the Himalayas to the jungles, I pointed out that it is not about compromising our current lifestyles or ways — something that many folks now think because the solution seems to be to cut out so many of our modern comforts — it’s about simply seeking out the many alternatives that are available to “business as usual,” such as shopping at a farmer’s market versus a chain grocery store.
As of this writing, David, myself and a small crew will be heading to Indonesia to investigate the ongoing destruction of the rain forests for palm oil and its derivatives, which can be found in such a huge percentage of the food, cosmetic and other products in our daily lives. Palm oil is a cheap filler or additive in many food products from chips to cereals (and, yes, soup to nuts, see Better ’N Peanut Butter) and is found in many cosmetic products.
The reality may seem overwhelmingly doom and gloom, but as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”