Starre Speaks at Pace University’s “Blogging a Better Planet” Class (Video)

Andrew Revkin is one of the reasons I started writing about the environment in the first place, and he is one of the few reporters who was covering environmental issues before they became commonplace (environmental reporting only became widely-covered topic within the last decade, thanks in part to early bloggers’ tenacity and dedication to the issues, and journalists like Revkin.) We were also neighbors back in my hometown of Garrison, New York, for a time.

So I was so honored to be a guest speaker in Revkin’s “Blogging a Better Planet” class at Pace University (well, virtually) last night. Here’s what I had to say in response to his questions about how I got my start with Eco-Chick, whether I consider myself a journalist, and why I think I’m well-suited to the blogging medium.

According to Revkin’s Wikipedia bio: A reporter for the New York Times from 1995-2009, Revkin currently writes the Dot Earth environmental blog for The Times’ Opinion Pages. He is also Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies at Pace University, as well as a songwriter and musician.

Creative Minds Unite at Hatchfest Asheville, 2010


What an amazing experience it was to both speak at and participate in Hatchfest Asheville, 2010! (AKA Hatchville!)

I was brought to the sunny North Carolina mountain city not really knowing what to expect, and came away with more than I could have imagined. Hatchfest originally started in Bozeman, Montana, seven years ago as a meeting place for creative/progressive changemakers and expanded last year to an additional festival in Asheville, so now there’s a fest in each city. The festivals focus on the creative and emerging arts including fashion, design and tech, music, film, journalism and especially the intersection of these worlds.

I was lucky enough to have been found and invited by Jess McCuan, the editor-in-chief of Verve Magazine, to sit on a panel about the future of journalism and the challenges (and joys) of working online with some really cool folks, including Rachael Maddux of Paste Magazine, Jeff Fobes, editor of progressive local paper Mountain XPress, and Fritz Kramer from Frontline. Our group had a chance to mentor a group of journalism students who are working on projects as diverse as first-hand video journals from Haiti to photojournalism. I look forward to continuing to help these newly minted documentarians of our time.

Inside the Eluminati dome

In addition to my own panel, I also had the chance to check out all sorts of panels, discussions and performances. One of my faves was the Eluminati, a fully immersive experience wherein I was re-inspired in regards to my work for the planet (more on this later – it deserves it’s own post).

Linda Loudermilk speaking at Hatchfest

At a Design and Technology panel, got a chance to learn about how to undo creative blocks, which was really helpful as a person who works at the intersection between technology, writing and online communications (all creative endeavors). I heard Linda Loudermilk, the eco fashion designer, describe her journey to couture designer and where her company is headed.

A 3-D ‘printed’ car

I played with a theramin (a musical instrument that works through movement) and other cool musical/techy devices developed by the famous Bob Moog. I checked out objects that had been designed on a computer and printed on a device that produces 3-D objects- a 3-D printer if you will. I had only read about this before, so it was amazing to see the ‘printed’ designs!

I enjoyed two films at Hatchfest, both of which I would recommend highly. The documentary Visual Acoustics was all about Julius Shulman, the foremost photographer or modernist architecture. A surprising number of ecological themes, a profile of an amazing person, and a loving portrait of Los Angeles in the 50’s and the architects who defined its style.

I also enjoyed Creation, directed by Jon Amiel, who spoke about the film after the screening. It’s a great piece of historical drama about Darwin’s personal, familial and scientific struggles in the publishing of The Origin of the Species. Beautiful film!

I also got to meet up at Hatchfest with some local friends! That’s Sarah Brewer, a garden activist, Curtiss Martin of Piedmont Biofuels, Starre Vartan, Eco Chick founder and author, and Stephanie Rogers, Beauty Editor.
Thanks to the old-school and fabulous Grove Park Inn for putting us up; what a gorgeous place to stay when visiting Asheville, steeped in mountain history, with views to die for!