Monthly Archives: May 2010

The most pun you’ll have all day

That’s how I’d describe my job at green news site,, where I’ve been working (and previously, volunteering) for the past 2.75 years. Because Grist is a nonprofit media organization, much like NPR, every now and again we ask our dedicated readers to support the important work we do explaining, analyzing, and making fun of the vital environmental issues of the day. And when that’s not enough, we bug you, our generous and good-looking friends and family (did I mention how clever you are?).

appeal email header

Why should you donate $5 or $15 or $35 (or whatever you can) to support intelligent, analytical, and punny green news?

  1. You could help me continue living the dream of writing stories and headlines as if I worked for the most important fake news site of our day, The Onion. Example: National parks close for annual remajestification (The Onion); BP oil chief says catastrophic oil spill really not all that big (me).
  2. You’ll be helping bring more brilliant works like these into the world when you adopt an environmental journalist (me):
  3. If I reach 20+ donations made in my name (of any amount!), I’ll be all-but-assured total domination in the Grist staff donation contest. And if everyone in the office gets at least ONE donation made in their name, we get to throw a pie in the face of our founder and president, Chip Giller. If you’ve never been able to pie your boss, please, allow yourself to live vicariously through me.
  4. Seriously, if you want to live in a healthy world with clean water, air, and soil, then please consider sparing a dime to educate the public (and/or yourself) via Grist about how we can get there as smoothly and punly as possible. It’s tough times for everyone right now in this economy, but especially so for nonprofits and journalism, and Grist represents both of ’em. Lucky us!

If you do donate, please do so through one of the special donate links I’ve sprinkled around this blog post, like this one: DONATE HERE PRETTY PLEASE. Thank you! (And look for a snail-mail thank-you card.) See how happy you can make me?

me heart ice cream

Your donation will go directly to Ashley's Emergency Organic Ice Cream Fund*. *Not actually true. It goes indirectly.

And if you can’t afford to donate at this time, please consider spreading the word through Facebook or Twitter. Muchas gracias!

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By the way, I did make it back to Seattle

Sorry if anyone was in doubt as to whither I ever returned from my adventuresome getaway in Bolivia, full of international mystique and cultural embrace. Which, as you can see, sometimes involved embracing international/cultural symbols, like this biodiversity tree at the Mariposaria (Butterfly/Ecological Park) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

me hugging the Tree of Biodiversity

I even hug trees carved to represent all the biodiversity in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Try and stop me.

There are so many words I want to write and pictures I want to post here that I’ve been overwhelmed into not doing any of it. That and a combination of out-of-town weekends and the series finale of LOST. Do you realize that after Memorial Day weekend, it will have been two months since I’ve spent seven consecutive days in the same city? My carbon footprint hates me.

But at least I got to visit a place like Cotoca, the small town outside of Santa Cruz, where the Virgin Mary appeared (tiny) in the trunk of a tree and where now stands this beautiful church and plaza (full of sloths, or perezosos aka “lazies”):

The church at Cotoca at sundown

I had a wonderful time across Bolivia, but I am so happy to be back in Seattle. Things I love/missed: my neighborhood of Fremont, my garden, my bed, my favorite sustainable sandwich shop Homegrown, my boyfriend, my friends, my family, being able to breathe normally, being vegetarian, staying up on current events, the Seattle skyline, riding the bus, and understanding full conversations.

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Less than dial-up internet …

That would be no internet at my homestay house here in Santa Cruz, where at least the season is always summer.

So far I’ve been rocking ecological parks, zoos, and private botanical gardens here, chock-full of scarlet macaws, peccaries, and spider monkeys. It’s a mix of the sad and the inspirational, really. (Please don’t feed the animals plastic, kids.) I have tons of photos and videos to share when I’m not sitting at an internet cafe, like right now.

I also attended a way-to-long presentation at a water treatment facility, although it was interesting that it is putting online the first ever program to capture biogas from the water treatment and burn it to use for electricity. They were all in cahoots with the World Bank to even receive carbon credits for it, but the current left-leaning government is “anti-capitalistic” and hates carbon markets. Ergo, they’re scrambling for different financing but still moving forward with the project, which I viewed today. After glimpsing the poo-ponds, that is.

I return to the U.S. this Saturday night and will complete a massive upload of backlogged notes and photos, which I’m sure everyone is looking forward to. 😉

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Back in civilization, on to Santa Cruz

My intrepid group of four and I safely made it back from a three-day, other worldly expedition across the Salar de Uyuni, past strawberries-and-cream colored mountains, and through hot springs with flamingos. More to come on that soon.

We spent two quick days in Potosi, the highest city in the world (4,090 meters or 13,418 feet), and returned to Sucre, the capital, to catch a flight to the other big city in Bolivia, tropical Santa Cruz.

While the warm days and cool nights of the windy Altiplano (chock full of llamas) have been great, I’m really looking forward to the Amazonian nature of Santa Cruz. I have one more week in Bolivia and then I return to the U.S. next Saturday. Funny how quickly I’ve adjusted my perceptions of reality to what is here in Bolivia (Pig crossing on the way to the airport! Non-existent security at the airport! Speaking Castellano all the time!).

And now, I leave you with a view of the city I’m leaving shortly (boarding my plane to Santa Cruz in a few minutes), Sucre:

Sucre view

A view of Sucre, the white city, from my hotel. Reminds me of the Spanish city of Cordoba.

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