After nearly five months of travel, Keith and Lindsey have returned to the blisteringly exciting suburbs of New York City to spend time with family. Hurrah!
For those who weren’t following along at home, here are some of the highlights from our recent south-of-the-border jaunt:
- In November of 2010, we left friends and family for Cancún, Mexico to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP16). Hundreds of international youth delegates descended upon COP16, using art and creative actions to demand a fair and binding international climate policy. In Cancún, we had the opportunity to work with alongside these international youth delegates, while covering the UN proceedings as independent journalists.
- After the conference came to a close in early December, we headed to the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas state. One of the first REDD+ forest-carbon programs is being implemented outside of San Cristóbal, and we were eager to get the pulse of the locals regarding this project. In San Cris,we also had the opportunity to debrief, decompress, and enjoy Christmas with a crew of amazing new friends.
- Although difficult to leave Chiapas, we headed across southern Mexico to beautiful Oaxaca. Outside of Oaxaca city, we were graciously hosted by our former professor, self-described “de-professionalized intellectual” Gustavo Esteva. We had a New Years Eve to be remembered with the Esteva family and “horizontal trader”/chocolatier Michael Sacco of Ontario, Canada.
- Along with Michael and his fellow Chocosolistas, recently arrived from Toronto, we roughed it across southern Mexico in way-too-small-for-all-of-us rented SUV to investigate the production of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla.
- Next, we headed further south to work on our Spanish at a language school in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Nestled between three volcanoes on an endless blue lake, our conversations with the teachers in the lake-side town of San Pedro la Laguna offered us another opportunity to see how the Mayan culture was adapting to the mounting pressures of globalization.
- Outside of Antigua, Guatemala we had the pleasure of spending a few days at the renown bike-machine collective MayaPedal. Bike-powered coffee-grinders…Bike blenders for licuado smoothies…innovation on two wheels.
- In Gracias, Honduras, we had the pleasure to see dear friend Lindsey “Pip” Bryan and hear about her work with rural panela cane sugar producers and get the low-down on the Honduran landscape.
- On the island of Utila off the coast of Honduras, we spent a week or so SCUBA diving on the reef surrounding the island. Among other exploits,we were successful in tracking down a wrecked drug plane lying hidden in the island’s interior.
- On his fourth and final voyage, Columbus first encountered the mainland of the Americas in the bay of Trujillo on the Honduras coast. Spending a week in this area, we stopped off to visit our friend Phil Longbrake, who is volunteering at a Catholic orphanage. We helped Phil kick off a food sovereignty project at the orphanage by building a hefty star-fish shaped herb garden. We also documented some of the African oil palm plantations in the Trujillo area; particularly in the Aguan river valley.
- Coming to the tail end of the journey (and our bank accounts), we returned to eastern Guatemala to look for a crew position on a sailing vessel headed north, ending in Rio Dulce (the safest mooring in the Western Caribbean during hurricane season). After spending way too much money on beer in Rio Dulce, we were off on a five-day sail from Guatemala to Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Cancún. Where the whole gig began…
- And back in the US, we just returned from Washington DC, where we attended Powershift 2011– a youth climate summit bringing together 10,000 youth activists from across the country. Increasingly becoming a major force on the national political landscape, youth were energized and ready to get to work. With marches pronouncing “Make BP Pay!” and “Coal is Dead!”, and workshops on topics ranging from Environmental Justice to the Koch Brothers, the weekend kept us busy and got us excited to return to organizing in Vermont and the US.
And with that, we are bringing Spring Break the System to an end. From Cancún to Powershift 2011, it’s been a pleasure to report on issues related to social movements and climate change. Our circuitous route has brought us into contact with many fantastic people, and we’d like to offer a sincere thanks for all the help and direction they’ve provided for us over the past few months.
As well, our READERS! Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the comments, emails, and dedicated support you’ve shown for this project.
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