Know the poorest of the poor are among your neighbors, in your neighborhoods, in your town, in your city, perhaps in your own family. We must look first to our own streets. — Mother Teresa
The dynamic Kenyans we met demonstrated that the first place to make a difference is in our own neighborhoods—in our own country. For those with greater wherewithal the help can and should extend further. In the big picture, our greatest hope is to educate as many people as possible in the areas where our world is struggling and losing balance: clean water, sanitation, wildlife poaching, climate change, poverty, illiteracy etc.
Pete McBride and Jake Norton teamed up to film the trip. Their talent is exceptional with stunning imagery that captures the path of water from its origins on Mt Kenya, which supplies the country with 70 percent of its water, through the bush to the city where it runs dry in the slums. This film will show even those in the first world that there is a lot at stake as we lose our watersheds.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each week. We call it the Osprey Round Up.
Osprey’s marketing director, Gareth Martins, has spent the last week in British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains with Evan Stevens. Between Facebook photos and video blog posts, the two have made it pretty clear that they’ve been finding plenty of powder despite the sketchy conditions. Thanks for rubbing it in, guys. Stay safe out there!
“It requires a rare vision, perhaps one bordering on delusion, to perceive the possibility of change in the monochromatic world of the hope-blind.” — Timmy O’Neill in Elevation Outdoors.
In another corner of the world, Osprey athlete Timmy O’Neill is in Kathmandu, Nepal for the next two months studying to be an ophthalmic tech at the Tilganga Eye Institute working on behalf of the Himalayan Cataract Project and Dr. Geoff Tabin. After his stint in Nepal, Timmy will travel with Dr. Tabin to Ethiopia to put his newly learned skills to work. Read more about what Timmy is doing with the Himalayan Cataract Project in his recent story in Elevation Outdoors.
Also exciting news this week a little closer to our own backyard, Polartec launched a contest giving away an all expenses paid trip to the 5Point Film Festival next month. Free airfare and travel, lodging at Avalanche Ranch Resort, $500 and Patagonia and Polartec gear… it doesn’t get much better than that. All you have to do is enter. Good luck, we hope to see you at 5Point!
Have a great weekend and happy Friday!
The Gift of Sight: Timmy O’Neill Studies at Tilganga Eye Institute on Behalf of Himalayan Cataract Project
I am in Kathmandu, Nepal for the next two months studying to be an ophthalmic tech at the Tilganga Eye Institute working on behalf of the Himalayan Cataract Project and Dr. Geoff Tabin. I made it after more than two days of 725-mph aluminium tubes cruising at 35,000-feet above sea level with intermittent groveling on greasy airport carpets. I just finished my first day of training and I have class six days a week with Nepali language class another three nights a week.
This town seems to both simultaneously ensconce and entomb me: at once offering the majesty and curiosity of the many stupas with burning sandal wood incense, ringing bells and garland covered lingams; monkeys, cows and dogs stirring up pigeons into the firmament alongside the offerings to the multitudes of gods and goddesses; narrow roadways winding past dust-caked brick walls that obscure wizened city denizens practicing ancient forms of prayer and life.
by Chris Kassar via The Cleanest Line
Every time I kneel down next to a river – even if just for a moment – I swear I can hear it speak to me. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I also know I’m not the only one who hears wise murmurs rising from the ripples of wild waters. For many of us, the rhythm of a river can mesmerize our soul, capture our spirit and force us to really stop and listen.
The Baker River, nestled deep in the mountains of Chilean Patagonia, is no different. I spent weeks walking its banks, riding its waves, and crunching through the epic ice fields that feed it. I even floated over the exact spot where its journey as a river ended and it emptied into the sea – a feat in and of itself given that so many rivers, including my very own Colorado, no longer even make it all the way to the ocean. But, this trip from source to sea was much more than just a fun adventure. We – team Rios Libres – immersed ourselves in the landscape so we could arm ourselves with the knowledge needed to join the fight to protect Patagonia’s wildlands and the people who depend on them.
During our excursion, the mighty Baker spoke volumes and gave us a glimpse into what the world used to be like – full of untamed lands, untouched rivers, intact forests and people who depended on the land and each other to survive. Spending a month at the edge of the world was like traveling back in time to an age when things were simpler and nature remained largely unaltered by the trappings of man.
Unfortunately, the experience we had may not be available for future generations unless we raise our voices and speak for the river. Huge walls of concrete threaten to choke the furious turquoise flow of Chile’s most voluminous river, the Baker and its rugged sister, the Pascua. If allowed, big business will ruin pristine old-growth forests, destroy the gaucho culture and silence the beautiful sound of these waters only to replace them with the disheartening din of ‘civilization’ – bulldozers, power lines, reservoirs and dams… all to provide power for the destructive mining industry in the north.
But this doesn’t have to happen. Perhaps, if we could just sit and listen more carefully, we might hear the river speak and fully grasp the idea that it is more important to protect the river’s power than harness it. Chile has the opportunity to learn from mistakes made in the past; they can act as a model for the rest of the world by seeking alternatives that allow them to gain energy independence while still maintaining the character of Patagonia.
We’ve written about this in the past and our team made an award-winning film called Power in the Pristine that documented our source-to-sea adventure and highlighted the various threats to the region.
So why are we writing now? We’re writing because this fight is far from over and we need your help in giving this river and its people a voice once again. A lot has happened over the past year and it seems that the wild character of the entire region – which was once endangered – is now closer to extinction than ever before. The following video will catch you up on the issue. We hope it inspires you to read on and to act. The river speaks and so can you!
Synopsis of recent happenings: In May 2011, the government approved the dams. Tens of thousands of Chileans took to the streets in opposition and six weeks later, the Court temporarily halted all construction due to a pending appeal. This was especially significant since the Court was the only Chilean authority to challenge the project since its inception in 2008. However, in October, the Chilean appeals court ruled in favor of the dam project causing the volley to continue as opponents who want to protect this unique environment brought their challenge to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the project still requires a permit for more than 1,250 miles (2,000-km) of transmission line to carry the 2,750 megawatts generated from deep in southern Patagonia to the capital Santiago. Earlier this week (Dec. 5), HidroAysen – the company behind the dam project – released initial plans for the powerline and the environmental analysis will begin in March 2012.
Clearly, the fight to protect Chile’s pristine rivers and wildlands is not over; protests continue and polls show that over 74% of Chileans oppose the dams. This Saturday, December 10, thousands will return to the streets in Coyahique and other cities in Chile to show the government that they oppose this decision. If you cannot make the event in Chile, please show your solidarity by taking action through these groups:
- Rios Libres: Join the ‘virtual march’ to keep Patagonia Wild!
- NRDC: Tell Chile’s President to stop the HidroAysén project from destroying Patagonia (Learn more)
- International Rivers: Demand Democracy for Chile – NO to HidroAysén!
The river speaks and so can you!
For more info go to: www.rioslibres.com.
Two years ago, Shannon Galpin became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan, a country where women are no longer allowed to ride bikes. In 2010, she rode across the Panjshir Valley, a 2-day journey of more than 150 km that tested the perception of women riding bikes, while highlighting the beauty and potential for adventure in this remote area of the world.
On October 8, riders across the US used their bikes as vehicles for social change by participating in the Panjshir Tour — showing their support and raising funds to fuel Mountain 2 Mountain‘s programs in Afghanistan. Well, now it’s time to celebrate.
If you’re anywhere near Denver, don’t miss the finale ride tomorrow at Bear Creek Lake. Show up wat 10a.m. on Saturday, October 15, to empower women and children in Afghanistan. Look forward to delicious refreshments from New Belgium Brewing beer, and Oogave – The original agave soda, sweet gear from from Osprey Packs, a wheel set from Stans NoTubes, and gorgeous red frame from Niner Bikes. All up for grabs and in support of Mountain 2 Mountain.
Shannon wrote on the prAna blog:
It was my goal to challenge perceptions and invite conversation on both sides of the equation. Challenging the stereotypes of women and Americans in Afghanistan, while challenging parallel stereotypes of Afghans as a people and as a nation in the United States. Bridging cultures and communities on two wheels… by coming together with our bikes, we can fight for justice, we can battle for change, and we can do it one pedal stroke at a time.
The Denver Art Museum is hosting Streets of Afghanistan this Thursday, April 28, in an effort to connect communities and cultures in a country that has endured nearly four decades of conflict. Proceeds from the exhibition, created by Mountain2Mountain (M2M), a Colorado-based nonprofit, will support programs including girls’ education, efforts to help imprisoned women and children and support for the Afghan youth movement.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. Since we just wrapped our “Instead of driving, I…” contest, we’ve decided to pay homage to pedal-powered transportation for all of March. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!
In the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we have seen many news articles with photos of people moving their belongings by bicycle and yesterday, CNN posted a video about an 82-year-old woman who escaped the massive tsunami… on her bicycle. While the wounds of last week are still fresh and a nuclear disaster is looming, we found some of these photos to provide a bit of hope.
Already one of the world’s great bicycle nation, Japan is seeing a bicycle boom in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. Here are some photos featuring bicycles in the ravaged tsunami zone.
For more ways to help our friends in Japan, visit our post from earlier in the week here.
Welcome to Pedaling Change! There’s a lot of good work being done in the world of bikes, to alternative transportation advocacy to international development. To highlight some of the great action that’s going on out there, once a month we’ll be profiling a non-profit in the bike world to look at just how they’re working to make positive change.
“You can go anywhere.”
Dedicated to providing bikes to young people in developing countries, 88Bikes is certainly built on the idea of empowerment. Remember the feeling you had the first time you successfully pedaled around by yourself? That sense of freedom? Imagine bringing that sense of freedom and exhilaration to communities that have been challenged by obstacels such as war, poverty, disease and conflict. You can imagine the joy that a bike can bring.
Another key component of 88Bikes is that the organization is focused on one-to-one philanthropy, empowering not only the recipient, but the donor as well. $88 covers the approximate cost of a bike in developing countries, and donors are not only asked to provide a photo of themselves to accompany their bike, but even encouraged to take part in volunteer trips to hand deliver bikes to the donation sites, making the donation process come full circle.
Founded only 4 years ago, 88Bikes has already a long list of accomplishments. They’ve delivered bikes to Peru, Cambodia, Mongolia and Uganda and they’re currently working on their 88Bikes Villages project which will reach out to children in rural locations. Over 700 bikes have been donated, and even after a quick look at some of the organization’s photos of smiling and laughing children on their new bikes, it’s easy to see why using sustainable transportation to empower youth is such a powerful thing.
We caught up with one of 88Bikes’ founders, Dan Austin, to learn a little more about the organization and the work they’re doing.
What have some of 88bikes’ biggest accomplishments over the last year been?
Getting bikes into the hands of kids who’ve been through really difficult challenges, in really rural areas, has been very fulfilling. Kids who’ve survived slavery in rural India, Ghana, Nepal and elsewhere are now using bikes to help reconnect with some of the lost fragments of their childhood. To see these heroic kids who’ve been through so much smile wide and take off on their new rides, that’s a good feeling.
In the United States, we have built one dam a day every day since Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence. That’s a lot of dams. We’ve dammed the most majestic and powerful rivers running through our country for the sake of energy, irrigation for industrial agriculture and transportation to name a few. And today, we’re seeing dams come down. They’re an aging infrastructure — no longer worth the cost of keeping them. But the change is coming slow… We’re still a long way off from recovering our rivers and wild places from the missteps of our past.
In Patagonia — half a world away — instead of working to restore their rivers, they’re fighting to save them from getting dammed in the first place. Patagonia, a beloved place in the hearts of many in the outdoor industry, is fighting to stay wild.
With alternatives energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and more, the damming of rivers seems outdated — “it’s old technology”. Hydropower may not emit carbon emissions, but the power sure isn’t “clean”. Think of how many rivers we’ve dammed — how many species we’ve pushed to extinction, how many communities we’ve flooded or cut off from their rivers and how many people have lost their way of life because of it.
What’s at stake in Patagonia? Two pristine rivers dammed by 5 proposed dams, 2,400 km of forest clear-cut and road switchbacks blasted into the canyon to make way for the world’s largest transmission line. This project would destroy the people in Patagonia.
“I think it’s the overall loss of wilderness that we’re talking about here,” Osprey athlete Timmy O’Neill said.
So why should we care? Because it’s not just about the rivers in Patagonia. It’s about the rivers in our backyard. We, as people, have the power to make a change. And it starts now. There is power in the pristine, and we’ve got to stand up for it.
Learn more about protecting Patagonia’s rivers: http://rioslibres.com/.
I’m here at Klængshóll Lodge in Iceland with photographer Grant Gunderson for 2 weeks of ski touring and we’re skiing some big peaks with with the help of Artic Heli Skiing. The snow is great and the evening light is amazing. The mountains here are much larger and rugged than we expected, and the geography of this place makes for a color skiers only dream of — with vertical folds in nearly every peak. Add the maritime snowpack, which bonds to the rock, and and we’ve got a perfect canvas for skiers to paint.