I typically go on at least one long distance backpacking or mountain hiking adventure each year, lasting anywhere from ten days to five months. I finished a three month walk through New Zealand at the end of March.
In 2008, I thru hiked the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
In 2009, I backpacked the 480 mile Colorado Trail.
In 2011, I thru hiked the 2,660 mile Pacific Crest Trail.
In the spring of 2013, I thru hiked the 800 mile Arizona Trail.
In September 2013, I finished backpacking the 3,100 mile long Continental Divide Trail. I hiked sections on this trail in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. This also marked my completion of the "Triple Crown" of long distance walking in the United States which includes the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails as well as the Continental Divide Trail.
From November 2013 to January 2014, I walked more than 1,600 kilometers around New Zealand, mostly on the Te Araroa Trail.
In the summer of 2015, I climbed Utah's 21 mountains over 13,000 feet on a nine day day solo backpacking and mountaineering trip through the High Uintahs Wilderness Area.
In late January and early February of 2016, I took a 240 mile winter solo mostly wilderness backpacking trip from Talimena State Park in Oklahoma east to Little Rock, Arkansas thru hiking the Ouachita Trail, finishing up on the Arkansas River Trail.
I started an attempt at a southbound thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in September this year, but I injured one of my feet and got off the trail after walking 485 miles.
From January through March of 2017, I walked about 1,650 kilometers around New Zealand, starting with eight days on Stewart Island and two weeks in Fiordlands National Park. I walked most of the length of the South Island on the Te Araroa Trail, followed by a traverse of the Tararuas Range on the North Island and a four day trek on the Hillary Trail.
1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Last Chance to See, and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. Last Chance to See was a non-fiction account of Adams' travels around the world to locate endangered species.
Fighting for Hope by Petra Kelly, a co-founder of West Germany's Green Party
Green Politics by Charlene Spretnak and Fritjof Capra
Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging by Ernest Callenbach, about the Pacific Northwest seceding from the United States to create a society based upon principles of environmental sustainability.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Long distance backpackers point out that this book is not about thru hiking. It is Cheryl Strayed's story of personal transformation. She only hiked about two fifths of the Pacific Crest Trail. She was unprepared, skipped the difficult parts, and complained about how difficult the easy parts were. Likewise, A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson is an amusing account of hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but Bryson only sampled about one fifth of the Appalachian Trail.
Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist by Dan Barker (revised edition retitled as Godless). A former fundamentalist minister tells the humorous, charming story of how he became an atheist.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins demonstrates from a scientific perspective that there are no such things as gods.
Ethics Without God by philosopher Kai Nielsen explains why morality can logically only be based on reason or sentiment, and not on power or authority. Morality has no connection to gods.
I enjoy Harry Turtledove's alternative history science fiction novels like the "Worldwar" series which starts with an alien invasion during the middle of World War Two.
I have read and enjoyed all of Dan Brown's novels. His latest book "Inferno" was not his best writing, but I appreciated seeing a best selling novel that reflected my views on human overpopulation. I haven't seen the movie version yet.
Movies: Plastic Bag, Selma, Kumare, V for Vendetta, King of Hearts, Pleasantville, Groundhog Day, Avatar, Spiderman I and II, Galaxy Quest, Jumanji, Man of the Year.
Television Shows: I don't have a television, but I sometimes check out entire seasons of science fiction shows on DVD from the library for a marathon. I am currently waiting for Supergirl and The Flash.
Music: Just about anything. I appreciate cultural diversity. Celtic, folk, classic rock, bluegrass, reggae, world music, satirical music like Weird Al Yankovic or Tom Lehrer. I like Phil Ochs' protest songs.
Food: Anything vegetarian. I like to go to all-you-can-eat buffets. I like Ethiopian, Indian, Thai, and Italian food.
I confess that when I was younger, I did the hokey-pokey, but I turned myself around.
As a small frog from a large pond, I strive to think outside the bog. The Boiling Frog Party occupies a dark green corner of my warped imagination: http://www.facebook.com/BoilingFrogParty
As a wise frog once sang, "It's not easy being Green." The Boiling Frog Party is a political organization that seeks to unite amphibious citizens of the world who would prefer to have the thermostat turned down slightly on the global hot tub that we all share, before we all croak. Boiling Frog Party members are concerned about global warming, stovetop warming, amphibian rights, preservation of endangered species, water pollution, conservation of wetlands and other natural habitats, ecological overshoot resulting from human overpopulation and over-consumption, and the disturbing habit of Peruvian street vendors sticking live frogs in blenders. We demand a global ban on restaurants serving frog legs. It's time to end the holocaust of amphibian amputation!
The United States has been described as a nation of sheep, ruled by wolves for the benefit of pigs. Congress is a den of vipers. A bunch of jackasses stubbornly bear the burden of protecting the entrenched interests of their elite masters. Elephants will never forget -- or forgive -- what Republican politicians have done to their image. All we are saying is... give frogs a chance!
Other political parties claim to represent the people. The Boiling Frog Party swims through the dismal swamp of electoral politics to represent the neglected interests of frogs and other endangered species whose continued existence is gravely threatened by human impact on the environment. We must all swim together to preserve our wetlands for our tadpoles, and for our tadpoles' tadpoles.
The Boiling Frog Party: because there's more to life than just freezing toads. Come on in. The water's fine!
I also think about storks. If the theory of human sexual reproduction is taught in public schools, I firmly believe that schools should give equal time to the equally plausible theory that human babies are delivered by storks. There is at least as much empirical evidence for the existence of storks as there is for the existence of human sexuality. If storks did not exist, then how could you explain where pickles come from?
The Stork is the Bird of War (music video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-0vnRmej0Q
The renowned philosopher Woody Allen once said that “more than any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”
I often think about how our reliance upon fossil fuels has allowed human impact to overshoot the long-term carrying capacity of our environment. We are rapidly approaching a perfect storm of converging ecological catastrophes.
Life on Earth exists within a narrow range of ecological parameters. We are rapidly unsetting those boundaries, through climate change, loss of biological diversity, ocean acidification, deforestation, and the addition of phosphorus and nitrogen into the biosphere from agricultural fertilizers.
Despite the fact that snow still falls in the winter, climate change is happening now as a result of human industrial activity, setting in motion a chain of self-reinforcing feedback loops that will be irreversible on a human scale time frame. Once the ice caps melt and release massive amounts of methane, it will be "game over" for most life on Earth. Climate change researcher Guy McPherson projects that our current course will lead to the extinction of the human race within the next ten years. I hope we can take a rain check for the end of the world as we know it. I have other plans for 2026.
I don't know if Guy McPherson's prediction for human extinction by 2026 is accurate or not. I don't even know what, if anything, I'll have for breakfast tomorrow. I am convinced, however, that human impact on the ecosystem has put us on the fast track to near-term global ecological collapse and die-off.
Petrochemical agriculture threatens our health, food security and the environment. The livestock industry contributes to global warming, land degradation and air and water pollution.
The Earth is now experiencing the Sixth Mass Extinction of animal species due to habitat destruction caused by human overpopulation and over-consumption. The worldwide population of wildlife vertebrate species has declined by 58 percent since 1970.
Vertebrate species are animals that have backbones. This includes mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. Invertebrate species are spineless creatures. This includes jellyfish, sponges, tape worms, leeches, sea urchins, insects, and members of Congress.
The Earth’s human population has increased rapidly from one billion in 1804 to two billion in 1927, three billion in 1960 and 7.4 billion today.
Kelvin Thomson, a member of the Australian Parliament, has pointed out that: "Ten thousand years ago, the mass, the weight, all of the humans on the earth, plus all our pets, plus all the livestock we keep to feed ourselves, was 0.1% – one tenth of one percent – of the mass, the weight, of all the mammals on the earth. The rest of the mammals – elephants and tigers and rhinos and whales and kangaroos etc – made up 99.9% of the mass of all the mammals on the earth.
By 200 years ago, humans, our pets and our livestock had increased from 0.1% to 10-12% of the mass of the mammals of the earth.
Now, we, our pets and our livestock make up 96% – 98% of the mass of the mammals of the earth. The poor old elephants and tigers and rhinos and whales and kangaroos and all the rest of the mammals have gone from 99.9% to just 2 – 4%."
This makes me wonder why anybody would name their son Kelvin. Did he have temperature tantrums when he was a child?
The World Wildlife Foundation’s “Living Planet Report” estimates that human ecological impact now exceeds the Earth’s carrying capacity by 50 percent. If the average person on Earth consumed as much as the average American, the Earth could not support more than one and a half billion people. Recent studies on the limits of growth conducted by MIT, NASA, and the European Union concluded that if we continue on the path of business as usual, that the global economy will collapse by 2030.
Fortunately, President Elect Donald Trump has a plan to address NASA's prediction of near term collapse due to an environmentally unsustainable economy. He plans to eliminate funding for NASA's climate change research.
Or like Emo Philips, "I go from stool to stool in singles bars hoping to get lucky, but there's never any gum under any of them."
Other times, I spend my Friday nights spinning gold into straw.
A typical Saturday might consist of doing laundry, eating honey vanilla frozen Greek yogurt for breakfast, attending an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, listening to live guitar performances, pugil stick fighting, chicken dancing, doing the hokey pokey, and having a rather large drunk man fall down on me in the street.
"Besides spitting molten foodstuffs at me, what else do you do for fun?" (line from one of Spongebob Squarepants' associates)