YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip): 50 States. 1 Year. Zero Garbage? Called to action by a planet in peril, three friends hit the road - traveling with hope, humor, and all of their garbage - to explore every state in America (the good, the bad...and the weird) in search of the extraordinary innovators and citizens who are tackling humanity's greatest environmental crises. As the YERT team layers outlandish eco-challenges onto their year-long quest, an unexpected turn of events pushes them to the brink in this award-winning docu-comedy. Featuring Bill McKibben, Wes Jackson, Will Allen, Janine Benyus, Joel Salatin, David Orr, and others. (This is the short synopsis. Check out the longer film synopsis and trailer here, and look here for screenings or to buy a screening license.)
The YERT Feature Film received the Audience Award at the Environmental Film Festival at Yale, tied with Oscar-nominated Waste Land! Find more festival awards and acceptances at our online press kit.
YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip) is a year-long eco-expedition through all 50 United States. With video camera in hand and tongue in cheek, we explore the landscape of America's unique approach to environmental sustainability. We believe that Americans want to do the right thing - they just don't want to look strange doing it, and they don't have the time or the means to explore all the options. That's where the YERT team comes in. Follow our adventures in over 60 short films as we shamelessly bathe ourselves in the best (and weirdest) of America's ecological progress with a mix of outrageous antics, provocative examples, and thoughtful reporting.
(Hey! On July 4, 2008 we completed our initial travel phase, and after filming interviews with over 800 people, we're now waist deep into YERT Phase 2! We recently completed the YERT Feature Film and we're hunting for donations to help us distribute the film far and wide. We are also scheduling feature film screenings and live speaking events with interested groups and schools all over the country. Contact us for more information, and read all about the past AND future of YERT by visiting our blog.)
We adopted some road rules to keep things interesting-- and to make sure we walk the talk.
1. We will create less than one shoebox of garbage each month, including recyclables. Compost is deposited at compost piles.
2. We will never turn on an incandescent light (except car lights).
3. We will use approximately 25 gallons of water per person per day.
You can watch how we hold up against the challenges over the course of the trip by watching our quarterly "team check-in" videos, complete with commentary about Julie's pregnancy...
YERT Blert 1: Checking In 3 Months Out - We introduce the "no garbage" and "no incandescent" rules.
YERT Blert 2: Checking In 6 Months Out - The garbage builds, and Mark takes a "navy shower" to conserve water. Julie becomes pregnant.
YERT Blert 3: Breaking In 9 Months Out - More garbage, more pregnancy, and now our equipment is starting to break down... making even more garbage.
We chose a used 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid as our vehicle. It was just the right car for the job. Diesel wasn't clean enough. Biodiesel already had a zillion road trips in its honor. The Totyota Prius was too small, and had insufficient clearance. The Ford was an American car for an American road trip. It looked like a regular little SUV and might actually trick some unsuspecting Americans into believing that they, too, could drive a more fuel efficient vehicle. Our car's nickname? Rachel "The Car" Carson, and we introduce her in YERTpod1: LaunchPod. We also explore the car-buying decision process in our video titled Pick a Car!, featuring experts discussing alternate fuel vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and even a fully electric vehicle.
Mark attended Stanford University and graduated in 1997 with a BS in Industrial Engineering. While familiarizing himself with web and media technologies during a 10 year career in Silicon Valley, Mark discovered that our planet Earth was having a tough time accommodating her most dominant species. He also realized that a sound retirement plan would optimally include a stable planet. In an attempt to address these concerns, he went on to launch YERT in 2006 with his college buddy, Ben Evans. This is his first feature film.
Ben graduated from Stanford University in 1994 with a BS in Science, Technology, and Society. After working as an actor for a decade in LA and NYC, Ben found himself looking for a way to marry his creative urges with his abiding passion for the environment and a growing concern about the future. Looking for adventure and a sense of greater purpose, Ben launched YERT in 2006 with his college buddy, Mark Dixon, and convinced his exceedingly understanding wife, Julie, to join him on the adventure of a lifetime. This is his first feature film.
Julie Dingman Evans
Since earning a BFA in Dance from Western KY and an MFA in Acting from the U. of Louisville, Julie has toured shows professionally across the United States and Europe and most recently starred Off-Broadway in Shout! The Mod Musical. Always attempting to rescue creatures in need, she now realizes it is time to officially add planet Earth to the list, and is more than excited to join Mark and Ben on this incredibly worthwhile endeavor . . . even if she did take a little convincing by her husband, Ben.
When Erika intially learned about YERT on the first day of filming in 2007, she immediately declared herself as YERT's honorary fourth member, helping out with logistics and internet marketing for many months from home. When Julie became pregnant part way into the trip, Erika's passion for social causes and love of nature made her a great stand-in for the last few months of filming. Her background in photography and business have helped her straddle the line between creativity and practicality, helping with writing, photography, and logistics along the way.