Edit Your Life

Less is more, which should be the essential mantra of this century. Here’s one take on it:

Editing isn’t that easy. But good editing always results in a better story.

Introducing Wetass Weekly

Image via Wikipedia

Every month, I read tons of of stuff about adventure and the outdoors. I watch lots of videos. And as a result I see a lot of pretty amazing content. But I also see plenty of terrible, eye-gouging, stuff. Not exactly cats-playing-with-a-ball-of-wool-type stuff, but plenty of material that is definitely a waste of time.

The good stuff I recommend in a sort of random way to my friends, and on Twitter. But I recently came across an interesting online service that makes it very easy to create and manage a newsletter. It’s called Letterly, and I want to use it to send out a weekly newsletter that will try to capture the best of the best in online content from the worlds of adventure and the outdoors.

The Wetass Weekly will aim to be a quick weekly guide to a small selection of great articles and videos about adventure, extreme sport, or the environment–content that will be well worth your time, and be laid out in a way that lets you click right to it. My goal is to every week send you something that will amaze or inspire you. Or simply make you laugh or slap your forehead in disbelief. And it will cost just $1.99 a month (subscribing is a painless snap, via the wonders of Amazon).

Ice climbing
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve just created the inaugural Wetass Weekly, to give it a try, and it includes links to–among other recommendations–the best article you will ever read about mankind’s checkered efforts to control the waters of the mighty Mississippi (I know this because the author was placed on this earth to write about exactly this sort of topic), an inside look at danger and death in professional cycling, and a mesmerizing video about the devastating practice of shark finning. Plus, I tell you about the best documentary I’ve seen since Grizzly Man.

You can check it out by subscribing here. And don’t worry, if you don’t find anything I send you each week remotely interesting or worthwhile, unsubscribing just takes one click on the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of every newsletter.

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Choosing The Right Stuff

American Apparel
Image via Wikipedia

More on the choices that flummox us: I was glad to see that apparel makers are going to start rating their products, because it’s pretty impossible for your average consumer (if they care) to have any idea what impact clothing choices have. So the Sustainable Apparel Coalition seems like the kind of innovation that is at least pointed in the right direction.

That made me wish it was easy to dig into the sustainability and environmental impact of lots more products, and–poof–I immediately stumbled across this outfit: The Good Guide (maybe it’s time to play the lottery). The Good Guide is basically a bunch of science geeks who are doing us all the favor of analyzing thousands of products, and the companies that make them (for the final rating they also take into account any conglomerates that might own the producer, as well, which is smart).

I was glad to discover that Levis gets a pretty green score (so I don’t have to figure out what else to wear).

Now it’s very unlikely that this sort of thing will drive the spending habits (for now) of anyone but eco-obsessed yuppies, but it is important that the idea of evaluating the things we buy according to how they impact the world is taking root. Even better would be if stores (I’m talking to you Walmart) committed to displaying this sort of score along with the products on their shelves. And I am sure that there will soon be an app that can scan a bar good and ping you a rating, which would make it even easier.

But nothing will really change unless sustainability and environmental and health impact are reflected in the price of a good (and not just the cost of labor and production, where all manner of abuses are hidden within an ultra-low price). You can’t fault people for wanting to save money. So the real revolution that awaits, the real revolution that is a prerequisite for the sort of change that will make a difference, is the adoption of an economic philosophy and approach that includes the external costs of making a good (impact on the environment, health of the workers, etc) in the purchase price of the good.

That is a world of $200 hamburgers, which is one way to make clear the massive shift in culture and economics that is at the logical end of this movement to start caring about how what we buy affects the earth and the future. Unfortunately, I don’t see that shift happening anytime soon. Listen to Raj Patel on this, and imagine how crazy he would sound to most Americans (and Glenn Beck’s head would explode). But Raj Patel is right.

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The Prince Of Wales Seeks “Harmony”

Okay, he also seeks relevance. But in an age where we know the way we live is completely out of synch with the world we live in, you have to take answers (or suggestions) where you can find them. So while it would be easy to dismiss the plummy tones of this latest jeremiad from HRH, The Prince Of Wales, it’s more important to consider the fact that he is, well, right.

Here is the trailer for what he is on about.
Vodpod videos no longer available.


Charles, Prince of Wales outside the White Hou...
Image via Wikipedia

The full Harmony website is here, and thanks to NBC you can watch the whole Harmony program on Hulu. If it moves you, there is some cool social media to play with, and lots of action to take.

The scale of change required, of course, is far beyond what most people–even those who like what HRH has to say–are willing to contemplate. More on that later.

But it doesn’t hurt to be talking about it, especially in such an interesting voice.

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The Power Of Video Is Turned On BP’s Tony Hayward

If you had any doubts about the mismatch between BP CEO Tony Hayward‘s words and the reality of what is going on in the Gulf Of Mexico, the NRDC has made this video to set you straight. Sure, it uses pictures, music and words to crucify the guy. But doesn’t he, along with BP, deserve it?

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We Have Slow Food. Are You Ready For Slow Driving?

55 mph speed limit being erected in response t...
Image via Wikipedia

When President Carter called for a 55 mph national speed limit in response to the 1970s Arab oil embargo there was a national outcry, and car manufacturers were not far from a decades-long binge on massive cars with powerful engines that could propel them nicely at speeds far in excess of the pokey 55 mph (recent research indicates that given an open road, Americans choose to cruise at 70 mph).

But with oil saturating the Gulf of Mexico, billions of American dollars a year going to nasty, hostile, dictatorships, and climate change slowly throttling the planet, I’ve been waiting for someone, somewhere, to make the case again for slowing down. And according to WIRED, someone has. And the new number is–drumroll–50 mph!

Everyone knows easing up on the accelerator can improve your fuel economy and reduce your emissions. But what kind of impact would it have on the environment if everyone had to slow down?

A potentially big one, as it turns out.

Dutch researchers say lowering the speed limit to 80 km/h (50 mph) would cut transportation-related CO2 emissions by 30 percent. Less drastic cuts in maximum speed would yield reductions of 8 to 21 percent, according to the study by CE Delft.


Beyond significantly reducing the amount of fuel vehicles burn, a strictly enforced 50 mph speed limit would increase the time required to cover a given distance. That would lead many people facing long commutes to ditch cars in favor of other modes of transport, like rail. Longer term, the impact could prompt people to move closer to urban centers.

Okay, I’ll give it a shot. There’s no reason to rush anymore, anyhow, because we are still fully plugged in via our smartphones, even when we are stuck in a car (kidding, cyclists, kidding. Sort of…).

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