About the Project
During the last 15 years that I’ve been writing about the environment, I’ve watched an energy transition take place. First, I started out writing about mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, then fracking in the Marcellus and across the West, then the Keystone XL pipeline, and now plans for oil and tar sands mining in Utah near some of my most beloved places on Earth.
A war over energy is being fought in backyards across the country as millions of Americans are being impacted. The era of cheap and easy energy is over. Now, the price is higher and so are the stakes.
I've talked to people all across the country who have seen their neighborhoods turned into industrial zones because of extreme extraction and they are scared. It not only locks us into a future of catastrophic climate change, but is already endangering our health, our communities, our food, precious resources like water, and the safety of workers in virtually every state in the country.
If we are going to have any hope of breaking the political divide that stymies progress on environmental issues, we are going to have to understand the personal aspect of our energy decisions. I decided to launch Hitting Home to chronicle the growing number of moving personal stories that can shift the debate on energy.
The Nitty Gritty
I plan to spend three months traveling with Meghan Nesbit who has worked for over a decade helping to empower communities and social change movements. We'll be journeying across the country documenting the reality of extreme extraction -- meeting people in their homes and on their land -- to truly convey the gravity of what we stand to lose. We will also chronicle the growing public movement fighting against dirty energy and their powerful backers.
As we know, frightening statistics from scientific studies hasn't ignited enough action -- we need a deeper societal shift that can move the political mountains. It will take a kind of compassion for our fellow humans (and fellow creatures) that I believe can be spurred by personal stories.
Our journey is a project of the nonprofit news organization AlterNet where I have worked for the last six years as a senior editor and writer, heading up AlterNet’s coverage of environmental issues. We'll be documenting our experiences with updates from the road, including a travel blog, video profiles of the people we meet, photo essays, and in depth-feature stories. The end of the trip will culminate in a multi-media e-book that shows the human face of our energy decisions, the power structures that keep fossil fuels afloat, and the rising movement that is taking action and creating alternatives.
This trip is simultaneously about diving deep into the personal, listening to people talk about their experiences, hopes, and fears. But it's also a big picture look at how our energy decisions are playing out right now and what will happen if we do not change course.
I believe the stories from this project will have a broad reach. They will be published on AlterNet which has more than 2.5 million unique monthly visitors and we will be partnering with print, online, and broadcast partners to reach as many people as possible.
What We Need
We already have a generous donor to help with our vehicle, an amazing Cricket trailer, and support from AlterNet to pay my salary while I’m on the road. But we still need to raise money for trip expenses and production quality photography and video equipment, even though we’ll be doing this as cheaply as we can (hello, campgrounds!). We’re grateful for anyone who can contribute financially — big or small. Your donation is tax-deductible and will go entirely to trip expenses and publishing.
If you can’t give but want to support the project, please help spread the word in whatever way possible — share with family, friends, movers and shakers.