10 October 2010
Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP)
1300 West Park Street, Butte, MT 59701 (406) 496-4897; (406) 491-0922
Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D.
California Academy of Sciences + OceanRevolution.org
POB 324, Davenport, CA 95017 (831.239.4877)
We're All EcoDaredevils Now
We are pleased to announce the 2010 EcoDaredevil Award recipients, Jerry Moran, Leilani Münter and Tyler Hess (bios follow).
WHAT: 2010 EcoDaredevil Awards
WHEN: The 2010 EcoDaredevil Awardees are announced online on 10.10.10 at 10:10:10 am PST, coinciding with the Global Work Party when "people will be doing very practical things on 10/10/10," according to 350.org founder Bill McKibben, "but they will also be sending a pointed political message: 'We're getting to work, what about you?'"
The three 2010 EcoDaredevil Awardees are:
Photographer Jerry Moran, a fine art, music and architectural photographer from New Orleans. When the BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, he turned his camera to the coast, the animals and the people impacted by and working on the response. With his camera and generous spirit, he connected people with an ecological tragedy we won't soon forget. Jerry has put himself in harms way physically, emotionally and financially while making his images widely available. "Some pictures are very, very painful to look at. [The birds] look like dead angels in the sand."
Activist, educator and racecar driver Leilani Münter is well known for speaking out about environmental issues. On her blog Carbon Free Girl she documents her efforts to become carbon neutral and discusses environmental issues and clean energy. Leilani was named by Discovery Channel's Planet Green Network as the #1 Eco Athlete. Leilani was one of the first celebrity activists to visit the BP Oil Spill, she arrived in Venice, Louisiana on May 2, ten days after the Deepwater Horizon sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the same day President Barack Obama arrived. She spent a week at the spill, documenting her experience there. On July 13, 2010, Leilani returned and toured the oil-stained areas of Louisiana devastated by the BP Oil Spill as part of a Sierra Club sponsored event involving 10 current and former athletes. "Just because you're green, doesn't mean you can't be fast."
Student activist Tyler Hess of DePauw University, a leader in the efforts to bring sustainability to his university. This includes a successful ban on the sale of plastic bottled water on campus, one of the first to do so in the nation. Tyler points out that his efforts have grown beyond the university, “A few people have contacted me to say that their families have banned bottled water after hearing about this." Not everyone agrees with his efforts, but Tyler is an EcoDaredevil who holds his ground and as he's a Sophomore there's plenty of time for more progress on campus and beyond.
The first annual EcoDaredevil Award was presented on Earth Day 2008 by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols to Duke University doctoral student Elliott Hazen. An honorary award was also presented to Krysten Knievel, granddaughter of Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel in recognition of Evel's inspiration for the EcoDaredevil Award. Mr. Hazen was one of the co-founders of GreenWave, a student-led sustainability movement at the Duke Marine Lab. He also instituted a Green by Design class at the Marine Lab bringing in all sorts of experts from business, fisheries etc. to come and share visionary ideas about sustainability.
The 2009 award honored two EcoDaredevils from the legendary Evel Knievel's home state of Montana, with a presentation on the campus of Montana Tech University coinciding with World Water Monitoring Day, an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.
Bios of 2009 EcoDaredevil Awardees:
Kathryn (Katie) Makarowski, an aquatic biologist, sustainability advocate and a recent graduate of the University of Montana’s Masters of Science in Environmental Studies program. Her advisors and peers describe her as innovative, courageous, determined and exceptionally effective in her work to sustain and restore our nation’s rivers, watersheds and fresh water ecosystems. One recommender commented that “Katie used a combination of politeness, persuasion and persistence” to get the job done on behalf of Montana’s environmental future. See Katie in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MbYiJsRVhE
Kathleen Kennedy of Big Sky High School in Missoula, MT, an educator through and through, loved by students and teachers alike. In her Wildlife Biology class she challenges students to think beyond the textbooks and critically consider the environmental costs associated with the status quo. For her efforts raising awareness of important and contentious environmental issues, in particular, screening the award-winning short documentary “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard (viewed more than 7 million times online), she received many bitter personal attacks, felt abandoned and betrayed by the school system and considered quitting teaching. The debate and associated controversy reached the NY Times and filled many pages in local newspapers. But Kathleen, to the delight of many, recommitted herself to teaching. In the face of great adversity, Kathleen stood her ground and emerged as a stronger and better teacher. The kind of teacher that will lead the next generation into a more sustainable future. Read more about Kathleen's efforts here: http://bit.ly/eRImG
The award winners are chosen by a selection committee of nationally and regionally recognized environmental scientists/ activists.
OpEd: We're All EcoDaredevils Now
On October 17, 1938 Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel was born in Butte, Montana.
Following his sophomore year in high school he got a job in Anaconda's copper mines as a diamond drill operator then as driver of a large earth mover. As the legend goes, Knievel was fired when he did a motorcycle-type wheelie on the earth mover and drove it into Butte's main power line, leaving the city without electricity for several hours.
After stints in rodeo, ski jumping, the army, semi-pro hockey, back-country guiding and insurance sales he settled into a career as a professional Daredevil.
Hundreds of jumps and dozens of spectacular crashes later, on February 28, 1971 he set a new world record by jumping 19 cars with his Harley-Davidson XR-750.
Such is the colorful mix of reality and legend spanning Knievel's life. He took his place in history as rock star, action hero, athlete and folk legend all in one. His death-defying jumps awed millions around the world.
But back in 1961, before he achieved worldwide fame, Knievel hitchhiked with the rack of a bull elk from Montana to our nation’s capital to protest the culling of elk in Yellowstone. The Kennedy administration responded and countless elk were saved.
While no one would argue Knievel's conservationist credentials, his fearlessness, grit and persistence were world class.
In the face of new, daunting challenges, his response was all action, full-speed, non-stop.
Today, we face ever more serious crises—loss of biodiversity, contaminated rivers and lakes, a warming planet, collapsing fisheries, looming food and water shortages, and a growing population that bodes for more of the same. Left to the status quo, scientists forecast a “2050 Scenario” in which our planet is hotter, dirtier, and overcrowded with nine billion people who are left to wage wars for what little remains.
Jumping this eco-chasm will be the greatest challenge we have ever faced. It will require revolutionary changes in society and technology.
To succeed, we must be brave, creative and outspoken. We must undertake the audacious, the impossible and the dangerous. We must risk our financial, social, and physical comfort. We must state the heretical, radical truths about our present situation. We must not be dissuaded, cajoled or convinced that our greenest dreams cannot become reality.
In other words, we must become EcoDaredevils.
Changing light bulbs, inflating tires, eating organic and toting reusable bags are each important gestures. But it’s going to take action far more thrilling to make it over this canyon. But, we must do something for the planet—something that invites personal risk.
It's not enough to leave the solutions to our most pressing environmental problems in the hands of the professionals, the experts or the government. That strategy will surely continue to fail.
The lack of adequate response to this deepening crisis means that we are all EcoDaredevils now. Like it or not.
They say that Evel Knievel broke every bone in his body at one time or another. But, he kept on jumping. His steely will kept driving him back to the bike and up the ramp.
This week in Butte, Montana we'll honor two exemplary EcoDaredevils for their work, persistence, and commitment to protecting our planet in the face of personal and professional risk.
Inspired by the spirit of Evel Knievel, motivated by our global ecological crisis and called to action by future generations. We are all EcoDaredevils now. Strap on your helmet, let's ride.
Wallace "J." Nichols is a scientist, activist, community organizer, author, and dad. Blog: www.wallacejnichols.org