The Butterfly Effect: Julia Butterfly Hill in Magis October 20, 2011Posted by Tracy in : Uncategorized , 1 comment so far
By Tracy L. Barnett
“Fierce winds ripped huge branches off the thousand-year-old redwood, sending them crashing to the ground two hundred feet below. The upper platform, where I lived, rested in branches about 180 feet in the air … As the tree branches whipped around, they shredded the tarp that served as my shelter. Sleet and hail sliced through the tattered pieces of what used to be my roof and walls. Every new gust flipped the platform up into the air, threatening to hurl me over the edge.”
— Julia “Butterfly” Hill, The Legacy of Luna
It’s hard to say what was the most dramatic moment in that 738 days that Julia “Butterfly” Hill spent atop that platform in a redwood tree named Luna. Perhaps it was the day of that bitter storm and many others that ensued. Perhaps it was the day that a massive helicopter buzzed her tree and nearly blew her to her death with the 300 mph winds created by its updrafts. Perhaps it was the day that a fellow tree sitter had the rope he was standing on cut out from under him by “Climber Dan,” a logger hired by the timber companies to antagonize and remove intransigent activists from the trees they were trying to save from the loggers’ blades.
Giving Thanks, Making Peace November 25, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Colombia, El Salvador, Esperanza Project, Guatemala, Mexico, Mexico City, Travel wisdom , 5comments
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Thanksgiving day – I awoke this morning far from home and family but filled with a profound sense of gratitude.
Grateful for the sun that was just beginning to brighten the sky outside my window; grateful for the dear friends who have given me a home in this city of cities. Grateful for the health and the support of my family, who continue to love me faithfully despite my wandering ways.
Most of all on this day, I’m grateful for the path I’ve been given this year, a path that has led me from inspiration to inspiration as I traveled from Mexico to Argentina, seeking to learn from those who are each changing our world in their own way.
Colombians changing the world with color and style November 6, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Colombia , 1 comment so far
My time in Colombia was so full of amazing people and organizations that it didn’t leave me time to write as much as I would have liked. This roundup gives a little information about each of them, with hopes to come back to each of them with more information later.
Perhaps more than any country in Latin America, Colombia has suffered the pains born of a savagely unequal distribution of wealth and the gross distortions of humanity that can evolve such a system. Colombia is a land of extremes: beginning, as the entire story of Latin America does, with the Spanish conquest – but more recently, with La Violencia, the decade-long wave of violence unleashed by attempts at land reform in the 1940s and ’50s. This brutal backlash laid the groundwork for guerilla, military and paramilitary violence that wracked the country for four decades, laying the groundwork in turn for the narcotrafficking that accelerated the violence, until recently, to the point of paroxysm.
A Mother’s Day greeting from the Racoons May 11, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Guatemala , add a comment
Mother’s Day is celebrated here in Guatemala on the 10th of May, regardless of what day of the week it falls on. So today was the big day – and I do mean big.
It began at 6:30 am with a mobile loudspeaker blasting an upbeat blessing from the streets, mañanitas-style. That was followed by fireworks, and all day I continued to receive kisses and hugs and very sincere blessings just for the fact that I have a beautiful daughter – which is already blessing enough.
A Mother’s Day thanks to Guatemalan world changers May 11, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Guatemala , 3comments
QUETZALTENANGO, Guatemala – I awoke this sparkling Mother’s Day to the sight of the Santa Maria volcano from my rooftop, rising green and conical over the mountains that surround this charming city in the highlands. Quetzaltenango, known to Guatemalans by its indigenous name, Xela, is quite literally a breath of fresh air.
The slap-slap-slap of the ladies in the kitchen next door “tortillando,” making tortillas, is punctuated by laughter and chitchat.
Surfing the couches in Guatemala City May 1, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Consumer travel, Guatemala , 1 comment so far
GUATEMALA CITY – The city sparkled below me like a carpet of diamonds, flung carelessly over the valley and clinging to the surrounding mountains. This is probably as beautiful as Guatemala’s capital city gets, I thought, then scolded myself for the unwelcome thought. I only know the city from reading about it, and from a single pass through to the airport. Hardly enough to judge. I should know by now that you can’t judge a city by the media coverage – look at Mexico City, for example, which I’ve come to love.
And indeed my first night in the Guatemala City has put the lie to the widespread condemnation of Central America’s largest megalopolis. Thanks to Couchsurfing.com, I had friends waiting for me with dinner and directions, maps and guides and ideas for my project. I took a taxi to their beautiful home next to a park in a leafy neighborhood in Zona 2 and received a family welcome.
Guadalajara Guerreros: Fighting for a better world February 19, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Esperanza Project, Guadalajara, Mexico, Sustainability , add a comment
Today I awoke in the verdant mountains near Tepoztlán in Central Mexico, far from the commotion of city life in Guadalajara. Before I move on, I want to take a few moments to acknowledge the work of 24 extremely dedicated, talented and creative people I met during my time in that city, people who touched my life and gave me hope for a better future.
To read about them, please visit Guerreros de Guadalajara, a bilingual entry in my Flickr account.
La Minerva, warrior woman of old and symbol of modern-day Guadalajara, photo courtesy of TheLittleTx, Flickr Creative Commons.
It’s not enough to be biodegradeable… January 31, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Guadalajara, Mexico, Sustainability , add a comment
Life in Guadalajara is not so different from life in Houston. Sometimes, only the language is different.
My friend Alicia, like me, struggles to remember to bring the cloth shopping bags when she goes to the supermarket. This day, she remembered. Here’s a little reminder she likes to keep handy:
“It’s not enough to be biodegradeable; it’s necessary to be bioAGREEABLE.”
I liked the way this clever slogan captured one of the most important principles of sustainability: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” In that order.
Southward Bound January 6, 2010Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Esperanza Project, Latin America, Mexico, ecotourism, voluntourism , 12comments
I’ve made my list and checked it a million times; selected and reselected my gear; said my goodbyes and received good wishes and safe travel blessings from near and far. I’ve left my car keys, my smart phone and my GPS behind. I’ll be making my way by foot now and by mass transit; everything I’ll need is either in my pack or shoulder bag, or it’s something I’ll have to find along the way, or live without.
A special appeal December 31, 2009Posted by Tracy in : Esperanza Project, Latin America, Sustainability , add a comment
Somewhere to the south of us, an indigenous farmer is raising his voice against the eradication of ancient seed stocks by corporate interests. An army of volunteer gardeners is sowing a food security system on rooftops, patios and abandoned lots. A tribe in the Amazon is using Google Earth to give virtual tours of its ancestral forests in a bid to build global support for their preservation. A troupe of young bicyclists is plotting colorful new ways to capture the public’s attention and steer its city policy toward the path of sustainability.
As forests burn, icecaps melt and sea levels rise, people at the grassroots aren’t waiting for the government to fix things for them. Nowhere is this more evident than in Latin America.