Friday, November 22, 2013

Kevin Laue movie and Nat Geo piece on roadkill

I like meeting people who have a good excuse not to try something hard, but then go out and do it anyway.  Last night, a few friends and I watched the movie, “Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story” at the AMC theater in New York City’s Times Square.  It’s a documentary about the struggles of a teenager who dreams of playing on a Division 1 college basketball team.  That’s an ambitious goal for anyone, but Kevin’s challenge was made all the harder by the fact that he only has one arm.  I won’t give away any more details.  You should do yourself a favor and just see this movie:

I felt lucky to have watched the film, but I felt much luckier when I walked out of the theater and saw, towering over everyone else, Kevin Laue!  Of all things, I was struck most by his smile (see pic below).  He was gracious with his time, chatting with my friends and me for a while and taking photos with us.  Something powerful happens standing next to an inspiring person.  You feel an energizing sense of possibility and hope.  And you look at your own options with a deeper sense of gratitude.  Thanks Kevin.


When my two kids and I cycled 1,700 miles of the Lewis & Clark Trail this summer, we worked with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) to document roadkill along our route in the hopes of reducing the impact of roads on wildlife.  ASC is a nonprofit organization that connects outdoor adventurers with scientists in need of data from the field.  How cool is that? 

ASC’s founder Gregg Treinish just published a piece on National Geographic’s  Explorer’s Journal about our work together.  He included a short account I wrote about the trip.  How do you think my 12-year-old son finished his quote, “I learned that so many animals don’t have to die, if…”  You can find the answer here:

Here are some pics:

This is me standing next to Kevin Laue

Kevin with my friends Alison Berna, Lillian Schlein and Rachel Roberge

This time with my friend Alison's patented high kick (who can kick that high even while wearing a boot for a leg injury)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Who's better looking? You decide.

For those of you who speak Dutch and are following the climate change negotiations under way in Poland (how's that for whittling down your audience to a tiny handful :-), the Brussels-based magazine De Morgen just published an interview with me as a United Nations Climate Hero.  More important than the substance of the article is the fact that I'm featured on the same page as international supermodel Gisèle Bündchen watering a plant.  I learned two things after using Google Translate to read the articles:  Gisèle and I share similar views on the importance of protecting the environment, and she's remarkably better looking than I am.

Here's Gisèle:                                                        Here's me:
The article describes me as "an energetic New Yorker" (that pretty much goes for everyone living here...) and describes how my then 8-year-old son and I became UN Climate Heroes in 2009 when we cycled 2,500 miles across Japan, raising money for the Billion Tree Campaign.  Many governments, companies and individuals supported that campaign, which resulted in over 7 billion trees being planted, one for every person on the planet.  

I also described my work at Intel Corporation on clean technology and my opinion that the private sector has a key role to play in addressing climate change.  One of the reasons I take my children on crazy bike trips around the world is to help them develop a sense of connection to nature and a desire to protect the wilderness that remains.  When you love something, you don't procrastinate as it is steadily ruined, like our politicians are doing today.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mountain Man

I spent last weekend hiking in the mountains of Nevada with Brad Graff, a friend from college.  We call this annual get-together “Mountain Man,” as we attempt to test our fitness with four days in a row of vigorous, all-day hikes.  We usually seek out places with no trails, using cairns and written guides from other hikers.  

I love the feeling of struggling up a steep mountain, then being rewarded at the top with a view that makes me feel so small.  The ego and drive that got me to the top drift away with the wind, and I sit quietly for a while, appreciating what a beautiful world we live in. 

We do get lost on these hikes from time to time.  We’ve always found our way back, although sometimes after the sun has gone down.  The trick is to be prepared with extra layers, rain gear, a compass, lights, etc.  

When climbing back down from Hayford Peak, we spent the final hour hiking in the dark.  At first we used our lights to find our way down the rocky wash.  Then we turned them off and looked up.  The Milky Way was painted overhead, and there were so many stars visible that they made it harder to make out the major constellations.  We found the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, and Orion's Belt.  But most remarkable of all was a bright light shining just over the canyon wall to our left.  At first we thought it was a plane.  When it didn't move, we speculated that it must be a lighted tower.  But it was actually Venus, brighter than I've ever seen.  When we left the summit that afternoon, I had worried about getting "stuck" out in the dark.  But this experience turned out to be one of the most memorable moments of the weekend.  Sometimes the greatest joy can come simply from looking up.
Here are some pics:
Hiking up Hamblin Mountain

Brad Graff hiking on Hamblin Mountain

View from top of Hamblin Mountain

Hiking up Mt. Charleston

Hiking up Mt. Charleston

Hiking up Mt. Charleston.  Near the top, there was about 8 inches of snow

This bristlecone pine tree on Mt. Charleston may be over 5,000 years old

From the top of Hayford Peak

Red Rock Canyon from the top of Turtlehead Peak

The top of Turtlehead Peak