Saturday, August 23, 2008

Anthony Marr's CARE-6 tour field journal #8

Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)’s

Global Emergency Operation (GEO)’s

Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #6 (CARE-6)’s

Field journal #8

August 23, 2008

Dear HOPE-GEO team and all friends in compassion:

My objective in the AR2008 conference was to electrify the Animal Rights movement into not only embracing global warming as a core issue, but to champion it actively and globally. I believe we have by and large succeeded. By “we” I mean the HOPE-GEO team – Dr. Peter Carter, Julie Johnston, Taina Ketola, Lane Ferrante, Dominique Landis, Rebecca Monaghan, Janice Kobi, Rebecca Goth, Doris Lin, Lois Baum, Carol Loomis, Lisa Funkhouser, and, where the AR 2008 conference is concerned, especially Charlotte Templeton, other than myself.

I arrived at Charlotte’s place in St. Michaels, Maryland, in the late afternoon of Wednesday the 13th. To go to St. Michaels you have to drive over the Bay Bridge, which is one of the longest bridges I’ve crossed. I left the Pacific on June 30. Now from the Bay Bridge, on August 13, I see Atlantic waters at last.

Charlotte deserves an extra ovation because she is afflicted with serious health problems, and previous injuries, and yet devotes most of her painless hours, and some of her painful ones, on just two things – her 8 year-old son Joshua, and the HOPE-GEO project.

In the morning of August 14, Charlotte went to do personal chores first, then met me at the mini storage around noon with her parents’ Dodge Ram truck into which we loaded 20 boxes of Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH, containing 44 copies each, totaling 880 copies. We then convoyed to the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, VA, with me leading the way by GPS. Upon arrival, we found the best two parking spots on the lower level of the parkade, right at the entrance of the hotel on the LL floor where the AR2008 conference was being held. While it made the unloading of the books as easy as possible, it also showed the right side of my car where the magnetic sign says, “FIX GLOBAL WARMING or kiss our children’s future goodbye”. Everyone entering the hotel from the parking area on that floor would pretty well have to see it. I did not move my car an inch throughout the conference, so hundreds of people have seen it, with some saying to that they loved it.

Immediately upon entering the lobby and the conference area, I came across many people I knew – Janet Enoch, Kat McAfee, Greg Lawson, Howard Lyman, among others including several from Sea Shepherd. With Greg and Howard was an older couple who looked familiar, but whom I could not place. They looked at me intently, then, when we shook hands, the gentleman said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” I really could not recall, and pretended to not have heard that comment, then moved on. I felt not too good about this, and told Charlotte about it. Later, while walking through the conference area, I came across Greg again, and asked him who the older couple was. He said, Richard and Sukie Sargent, founders of the Texas Vegetarian Society. This hit me like a lightning bolt. I stayed at the Sargent’s place while in EL Paso in my CARE-1 tour. I recalled clearly now. On the day of our departure from El Paso to Phoenix, Richard noticed that one of the trailer’s wheels was about to fall off. Good thing, he might have saved our lives. Imagine what would happen if the trailer wheel fell off on the interstate at 70 mph. Since we had a speaking engagement in Phoenix to keep, we had to leave the trailer with the Sargents. Richard had the wheel fixed for us, and here came one of the longest drive I’ve done in one go – from Phoenix back to EL Paso to pick up the trailer, then straight from El Paso to San Diego for a speaking engagement. I was feeling really bad now, and Charlotte got an earful of my lamentations. The I came across the Sargents, and offered them my prolonged and profuse apology (until they began to feel sorry for me :).

Through the course of these few days, I would reacquaint with many top activists, and meet many of my MySpace friends for the first time in real life. By late afternoon, our roommates Raina McMahan and Michael Oswald (from Germany, who offered to translate Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH into German), had arrived, and we felt comfortable with each other. Charlotte and I moved about 10 boxes of books into the exhibition hall and set up our display, which basically comprised a small mountain of the books, a sign saying “FREE! by Anthony Marr” and a jar for donations. Over the next days, Charlotte and I manned the booth, not just sitting there, but proactively engaging people in conversation, and I signed books by the hundreds in between speeches, adding personal comments like “To ______, great to meet you @ AR2008!”

I had no role in the opening ceremony (August 14, Thursday evening) this year. There was no candle-lighting ritual. Instead Steven Gellman belted out two songs, the first being an anti-hunting song titled “It’s Wrong”, about adults teaching children to kill for fun.

For all my sessions below, I always brought a half-box of Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH into the presentation rooms, and always announced it to the audience.

August 15, Friday - 3 speeches:

10:00 – Individual Activism (w. Carvalho, Corbet and Zeman)

I spoke last and talked about the Power of One, how a single individual could be more powerful than an organization, using first Kristal Parks’ solo water-only hunger strike as an example, then, my own experience including Chinatown Undercover (1995), Anti-Torphy-Hunting (1996), Champion of the Bengal Tiger (India expeditions 1996-1999), Heal Our Planet Earth (1999), Japan Undercover (2004, 2005), Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE-tours #1 through #6), and Heal Our Planet Earth’s Global Emergency Operation (HOPE-GEO) on global warming and mass extinction. On this note, I launched into the HOPE-GEO project. Free-book announcement.

15:30 – Abuse of Wildlife on Land (w. Hudak, Muller and Vincent)

I spoke last, and started by saying that the other speakers had covered direct abuse fairly comprehensively, so I would speak on indirect abuse in the form of habitat destruction and global warming. I stated that there is no abuse more fundamental and no violation of animal rights more basic than driving a species to extinction, thus denying its members their very right to exist. I used the polar bears and harp seals in the polar regions and the Amazon rainforest in the tropical regions as illustrations, and the End-Permian mass extinction as case-precedent. Free-book announcement.

16:30 – Abuse of Wildlife in Water (w. Earl and Kourda)

I spoke last, and again used the End-Permian mass extinction as case precedent of 95% extinction of Marine fauna, and that the current mass extinct #6 could match it in severity. Free-book announcement.

August 16, Saturday - 5 speeches

10:00 - Abuse Abroad (w. Gorski and Vigo)

I spoke last, and talk about Amazonia soy production and the Canadian tar sands as the top 2 acts of animal abuse worldwide, and how the HOPE-GEO project campaign to ban them globally. Free-book announcement.

14:30 – Engaging Ethnic Minorities (w. Dalal and Ornelas)

I spoke last, used myself as an example to show that a single presentation by Peter Knights back in 1995 ignited my activism. Both AR and GW are global issues, requiring multi-ethnic solutions.

15:30 – Relating to Urban Wildlife (w.Hindi and Robinson)

I spoke first, and talked about urban deer management, against the lethal methods, giving Anthony DeNicola the dishonorable mention, and for the non-lethal methods including of course immunocontraception. Deer activists and friends Jennifer Grill and Linda Heinberg were both present. Steve Hindi, however was double-booked, and he opted for Engaging Businesses, and had someone stand in for him, who basically repeated what I said. Free-book announcement.

16:30 – Trade in Exotic Animals (w.Bagnall, Brennan and Gorski)

I spoke last, and talked about both the supply side and demand side of the trade, using the tiger bone trade as an example, with India on one end, and China and the Chinatowns on the other. I told of the anti-poaching and anti-trade aspects of my work in India, including undercover operations in the urban centers and anti-poaching work at the tiger reserves, as well as the undercover and mass media work in the Chinatowns of North America. In the end, Tim and I was asked to each tell one story about how dangerous our work could get. He told his, and I told about the men waiting outside the radio station for me after a late talkshow interview on Chinese radio whose intent was at least to rough me up, and how my successor in an undercover operation in India was killed on the job. I concluded by talking about how global warming could halt the wildlife trade by wiping out the traded species. Free book announcement.

19:15 – Plenary Session III

We did not join in the banquet, but entered the banquet hall near the end of the Conference Slideshow (of the pictures so far taken including hundreds taken by me and Charlotte). My myspace friend “Dejennerate” (Jenn) told me that over a dozen images were of one A. Marr. Dawn or Jen (of FARM) caught me in the afternoon, saying that I was to introduce Sharon Christman, and I arrive just on time. At the end of the slideshow, Alex (Hershaft) stood up and announced that the Saturday evening plenary was now in session, and to open it is “ANTHONY MARR!” I’ve never had my name roared out in such volume, and leapt to the mike.

“What brought me here is my Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #6, or CARE-6, which began on July 1, and won’t end till mid-November, the object of which being to electrify the Animal Rights movement into not only embracing but championing global warming as a core issue. But the story I’m telling now started in CARE-1, where vegan author Brenda Davis and her then 15 year old son Cory join me to speak in 42 states in 7.5 months from September 2003 to April 2004. In December Brenda and Cory went home for Christmas, leaving me in Washington DC. But I wasn’t exactly stranded. On December 31, 2003, I was treated to the New Year’s Eve concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC featuring an apex soprano whose voice my meager command of the English language, and the English language itself, prove deficient to fully describe. Not only was I a guest, I was the guest of honor of Sharon Christman, the magnificent diva herself, who is also the chair of the music department of the Catholic University in Washington DC. Now, the song. It is a controversial song in the sense that some consider it “defeatist” while other praise it as being highly inspirational. I’ll leave it for you to judge. It is the Impossible Dream, which really applies to our struggles in animal rights as well as global warming to a T. Sharon initially said that the song was sung always by male singers. I replied that everything has a first time, and, look at the audience here, a sea of feminine faces. Now, without further ado, heeeeere’s SHARON CHRISTMAN!” She brought the house down with her final soaring note.

August 17, Sunday -

09:00 – Engaging Abroad (w. Earl and Moncrief)

I spoke last, and talked about campaigning abroad to solve three kinds of problems – the problems within the countries where the campaign is conducted, the problem within your own country by creating external pressure, and problems of a global nature, the last of course refers to global warming and mass extinction. Engaging abroad is of course necessary to create concerted global action. Free-book announcement.

11:00 – Foreign Animal Protection Laws (w. McCoy and Vigo)

Vigo didn’t show, so it was just Kim and me. I spoke first, and talked about the virtual absence of wildlife protection laws in most countries, and the lack of enforcement of whatever law there maybe. Globally, as well as locally, there is a total absence of laws to protect animals from climate change and mass extinction, and no punishment for the guilty, namely the oil companies and corrupt politicians and officials. New international laws and new global law enforcement, are needed. Free-book announcement.

13:30 – Amusement Campaigns (w. Dorchak, Hindi and Rossell)

I spoke last, and talked about the Japanese dolphin slaughter being driven by the live-capture industry, since each dolphin slaughtered for meat could fetch only a few hundred dollar in highly toxic (mercury) meat, whereas a dolphin live-captured for amusement could fetch upwards of $20,000, and that the no-wild-caught-dolphins policy of some “humane” aquariums is nothing but window dressing, since Japan would just capture more females, breed them, then sell the offspring to such aquaria. Free-book announcement.

15:30 – Wildlife Campaigns (w. Earl, Kourda and Muller)

I spoke last, and talked about the HOPE-GEO campaign being a global wildlife campaign towards saving not just one or two species but millions from the devastating effects of global warming. Free-book announcement.

19:15 – Acting Globally (plenary w. Richard Schwartz)

Kim McCoy introduced us, herself saying that “Think globally, act locally” may not still always be valid, since there are campaigns today that must be waged globally. I spoke last, and devoted this entire speech to global warming and mass extinction as they apply to the planet as well as the animal rights movement, concluding on the two major objectives of HOPE-GEO – to create and unleash a global alliance of AR, environmental, parental, student, scientific and religious groups to tackle global warming and mass extinction, and to initiate the formation of a Global Green Fund by a 10% reduction of the global military expenditure, thus effecting a first step in global disarmament while saving the Earth.

A few observations during the conference:

Charlotte said that she could tell when one of my speeches was over, since “20 people would show up at the booth for a copy of the book.” While on the first two days she sat at the booth waiting for people to come, on Saturday and Sunday she actually walked around giving the books to whomever she met.

Alex (Hershaft) and Dawn (Moncrief) both said that this year’s award dinner was the best ever. I agree, and could feel the difference myself. To me, it was the combination between Sharon Christman’s transcendent performance, which elevated the artistic quality of the conference to that of a Kennedy Center concert, and Heather Mills’ speech, which actually changed my originally ambivalent impression of her to one of admiration.

All in all, we gave away about 700 copies of Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH, of which I signed easily 500. Now these books have been carried like seeds to diverse places, and there to be planted and to grow. Some of these are destined for libraries of various cities, and the vast majority of them will be carefully read, seriously heeded, then passed around.

Through the course of the conference, both Charlotte and I observed people reading the book in the lobby and hall ways. Several comments have already arrived stating how informative, timely, “fascinating” and “gripping” the book is.

My Sunday plenary speech Acting Globally received many compliments from many directions. First of all, Alex Hershaft said that it was a good speech. Many came to me and patted my shoulders saying how “great” it was. Someone was heard as saying that the “Asian guy” was a “powerful” and “engaging” speaker and his speech was “chilling” yet “motivating”.

I believe that from this conference has been launched the greatest global warming leap-forward ever, since an entire movement has been irreversibly and dynamically changed, and in return, the AR movement has been empowered by global warming, since now, to end meat consumption is not only a moral issue, but an urgent matter of survival of life on Earth.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anthony Marr's CARE-6 tour field journal #7

Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)’s

Global Emergency Operation (GEO)’s

Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #6 (CARE-6)’s

Field journal #7

August 19, 2008

Dear HOPE-GEO team and all friends in compassion:

Today (Aug. 19) is the second day of the 4-day Animal Rights National Conference ( I gave my first 3 of 12 speeches, signed dozens of books, and collected a jarful of donations, but this journal entry is about West Virginia, and is a story unto itself.

Before I go on to West Virginia, I should relate a little story from a previous state (can’t recall which). When I pulled into one of the toll booths, the big guy in the booth took a look at the magnetic sign on the side of my car and said, “Global warming – what a load of BS.” “Al Gore doesn’t share that opinion,” I said. “Al Gore is a nut job,” he spat. “According to whom?” “George W. Bush.” “I rest my case,” I said as I drove off.

I left the trailer park at Galena, Ohio, in the mid-morning of August 9th, and arrived at the UU Church in Charleston, West Virginia, in the mid-afternoon, slightly ahead of time. I walked around the building, and noticed a large caliber bullet hole in a window and another through its inner pane, with the two holes lined up at the house next door. My host Chris Higgins arrived shortly after, who introduced me to another man from another car named Julian _____, who explained to me that the bullet was fired by a young man next door while in a state of rage with his mother, and who was now serving time. This was something not often heard of in Canada, where almost no one owns a gun.

Julian then whisked me off to view one of West Virginia’s mountain-top-removal open-pit coal mines. After a lengthy gravel road traverse and a steep climb through forest, he parked the vehicle in a parking area with a few uninhabited houses. From there, we walked uphill, until we reached a rise. I topped it, looked down, and promptly exclaimed, “HOLY SHIT!” It was partly surprise and partly disgust. It was in fact a much smaller and drier version of the tar sands. Still, the whole mountain-top had been leveled, and a deep crater had further been dug into the plateau thus created. The general color of the near moonscape was black, and there were thick and opague clouds of brown dust enveloping the huge machinery. I don’t know how the workers could see what they were doing, and just breath, much less maintain health lungs. Surrounding the ex-mountain were so-called reclaimed land, and it was no more than flattened ridges covered thinly with brown-green grass. Julian pointed at the mountains all around (Appalachians) and said that they would all meet the same fate in due course. Painful just to try to imagine it.

As Alberta is the tar sands capital of the world, West Virginia could be the coal capital, or one of them. I hope I’m not misquoting Julian, but there are some 800 of these mines operating in West Virginia. John Denver would weep. The debeautification of beautiful West Virginia. And for what? More lung-wrecking jobs for young men who might otherwise have gone on to university? A stock price rise of $10? 10% higher dividends?

Julian dropped me off at the UU Church and I gave him a copy of my book, writing in it: “To Julian: Thank you for the Holy Shit experience.” He burst out laughing upon seeing it.

After waving Julian good-bye, I drove to a restaurant called A Taste of Asia for some veg noodles, then drove on up to the rural property of Don Gartman with its steep driveway and two artificial ponds complete with large coy fish and a protective net against heron predation. A very hospitable couple, who also led me by car to the UU Church the following day, the 10th.

The UU church event had two components. A 9 – 10:30 a.m. forum to about 50 people, and an 11 a.m. sermon to about 150 people, both with ovations. Many accepted the book with gratitude and volunteered donations. In the forum audience were Capri and Mandy, university students, both going to the AR conference. So, the connection overflows into another state.

After the sermon, I drove on to Rebecca Goth’s home in Wheeling some four hours due north, re-entering Ohio, then re-entering West Virginia and almost entering Pennsylvania. There, you could walk from Ohio through West Virginia into Pennsylvania within an hour or two. The only way to beat this is to walk in a small circle around the 4-Corners – 4 states within minutes.

Rebecca’s home is of a log-cabin-type construction sitting on a fairly steep slope overlooking a forested hillside well away from the city. She received me warmly and treated me like a prince as all other hosts do. When I first met her on myspace, I saw that her cover picture showed her holding a horse. I half-jokingly remarked that what I missed most while touring was horseback riding. Lo and behold, she had booked me a trail-ride the next morning at 10 at a riding academy nearby.

Shortly after my arrival, her husband Helmut came home. Almost immediately after our introduction, he said that thanks to the interference of “environmentalists”, West Virginia’s economic development had been negatively impacted. Then he bluntly said that global warming was non-factual. Ensuing was a bluntness-versus-bluntness verbal collision in which I in all these years and tours had never engaged with a host. While I was telling him about the Alberta tar sands, he was of the opinion that the environmental damage was not important, since northern Alberta was by and large uninhabited. I said, “The native peoples don’t count?” He said nothing. At one point, Rebecca interjected, directed at Helmut, “Difference of opinion is one thing, but you don’t have to be sarcastic about it.” This more or less ended the debate. Some time later in the evening, I opened and showed him a picture of the tar sands. He looked intensely at it for a moment, then said, “This does look bad, but as I’ve said before, it’s in the middle of nowhere. So what does it matter?” I said, “It matters because it poisons the whole water shed as well as the aquifer for hundreds of years and thousands of square miles, toxifies fish and moose alike, besides causing cancer in the native people.” He ambled off, saying nothing. Somewhere along the line, I asked him about his profession. He told me that he was an accountant. This explains a lot of what he was coming from – the world of numbers, numbers of dollars, dollars of corporations. His clients are businessmen and CEOs, not grassroots activists. On the other hand, in all his bluntness and environmental insensitivity, and though he cannot exactly be said to be bursting with warmth, he was not discourteous, and at no point made me feel that I should not accept their hospitality. In the three days of my stay at his home, he had never made me feel unwelcome or intrusive. Whenever he returned from work, he always shook my hand in renewed welcome. I hope to have gotten through to him a little. A note of interest: Along with Rebecca, he is a vegetarian, and has lived in India for several years, yet he says Christian grace before dinner, and talks red neck talk about the environment. One strange combination.

The next day, the 11th was a bit of a rest day, as if I needed one. It was the day of the equestrian outing. It was a gentle ride through a West Virginian forest. Both Rebecca and I are “horse whisperers”, meaning that our relationship with horses are diametrically opposed to that of rodeo riders and horse “breakers”. Still some AR theorists disapprove of any kind of equestrianism, on the ground that however humane it is still human domination over animals. To these I usually ask one question: “How many rats and cockroaches and deer and raccoons live in your house, which has forcibly evicted them from their natural habitat where your house now stands?” I don’t need to ask if they have ever taken care of a horse. And it matters not to them that most private horse guardians, except the real horse exploiters, treat their horses as they would their own children. But to the rest, here is an example of a definitive difference: Rodeo riders ride against their horses, and humane riders ride with them. The former electro-shock their horses and pinch their genitals to start the ride; the latter almost always pet their horses on the neck at the end of each ride, our way of saying thanks.

After the ride, Rebecca drove me to a huge “outdoor sport” store named Cabela’s, which sits on a road named after it – Caleba - basically just to shock me, and succeeding. I must say, even having checked out so many hunting stores, such as Gander Mountain in Ohio near where Lane lives, this one can be described only in superlatives. Bebecca told me that hunters come from all over the country to pay it homage. Would you believe that inside it is a 50’-high artificial mountain all over which stand taxidermy-mounted North American fauna – bears, mountain goats, Dall sheep, cougars, wolves, elks… All over the walls are mounted countless more, including Asian and African animals. The gun department alone is bigger than most sporting goods stores in their entirety. There is a section displaying dioramas of African wildlife, and even a great hall of the Whitetail deer, containing hundreds of magnificent specimens, all lifeless of course. And there were groups of children being led around by docents telling them how the hunting heroes brought down such fleet-footed prey, while the children looked around in awe. The poisoning of a generation at work before my pained eyes.

August 12 was a busy day. We had a 3:15 pm radio interview lined up, and a library lecture to deliver at 6 pm. In the early afternoon, Rebecca drove me to visit the Krishna Palace – easily the biggest Hindu temple complex in North America, covered with black and gold paint in every ornate corner, marble flooring and chandeliers in every hallway, amidst a sea of green covering five private square miles. Wheeling, West Virginia, is a city of contrasts and extremes – the largest hunting store and the biggest Krishna temple in one small city of one small state. How unlikely is that?

While Rebecca was driving me to the radio station, I asked her how long the interview was supposed to last. She said anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on how interested in the subject the host was and how the interview went. 45 minutes was what the host gave to Howard Lyman when he was in town, as organized by Rebecca herself. By this measure, then the host must be enormously interested in our subject matter, and the interview must have gone incredibly well, since it lasted 1 hour 15 minutes. It was an open-line program, so a few phone calls came in, and all said essentially that global warming was a hoax. And while the host was open-minded, his side-kick wasn’t, who interrupted me several times in mid-sentence. At one point, the guy interjected, “West Virginia is having one of its coolest summers for some time. So, talking about global warming is complete and utter nonsense” I’ve about had it with this guy, and fired right back at him, “We’re talking about global average temperature. Every time you name one example of cooling, I can name you ten examples of heating. Are you willing to bet your children’s future on an anecdotal anomaly?” He did not respond. Near the end, he interjected again, this time loudly, “So, you want us all to just stop eating meat and stop using our power lawn-mowers tomorrow?” Without hesitation I found myself saying, “THAT’S RIGHT!” The host wound up by saying that climate change is the most perplexing subject he has encountered by far, add, “So many say that Al Gore is wrong, then carry on business as usual. But what if he’s right?”

The library talk was attended by about 20 people, including a few from the Krishna Palace whom Rebecca had invited (she had been vigorously inviting everyone she came across), and maybe a few who came as a result of the radio talkshow. As with almost every other speech, this one was video recorded. So far, unlike the radio audience, I haven’t had one live lecture audience member who dissented on global warming.

Aug. 13 I drove the 7 hours from Wheeling WV to the place of Charlotte Templeton in St. Michaels, Maryland, arriving in the late afternoon. The most memorable part of the drive was the Bay Bridge, probably the longest bridge I’ve ever driven over.

On the morning of the 14th, Charlotte went to her parents’ place to exchange her small sedan for the a pick-up truck. I GPSed my way to it at an agreed-upon time, and met her there at the Alternative Mini Storage where 1650 copies of [Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH] lay waiting in 45 cartons, 44 copies per carton. We loaded 20 cartons into the truck and I led the way by GPS to the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria VA 1.5 hours away. Upon arrival, I parked my car right next to the rear entrance of the hotel on the lower level of the car park with “FIX GLOBAL WARMING or kiss our children’s future good-bye” catching the eyes of most conference attendees who entered through that entrance. One woman said, “I LOVE this!”

More later.

Anthony Marr

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Anthony Marr's CARE-6 tour field journal #6

Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)’s

Global Emergency Operation (GEO)’s

Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #6 (CARE-6)’s

Field journal #5

August 12, 2008

Dear HOPE-GEO team and all friends in compassion:

This entry covers Ohio which was good to me and for the tour.

I left Indiana with fond memories and headed for Ohio on August 3 and drove to my long time friend Vicki Trachsel’s in Galena which is a satellite town of Columbus . She has a large trailer and a big GM truck to match, but due to rising fuel prices, she’s had the rig parked semi-permanently in a large gated trailer park, the best I’ve seen where trailer parks go. Vicki is a childhood buddy and close friend of soprano Sharon Christman, of whom I was guest of honor in the 2004 New Year’s Eve concert at the Kennedy Center , who is also the chair of the Music Department of the Catholic University in Washington DC . Vicki herself is a music major. When she sold her grand paino, she purchased a harp which I took to like fish to water. I was plucking fairly fluently through a Bach piece by nightfall, you know, the one that goes: 3123544655171531234565432317125724323123544… (1 = doe, 2 = ray, 3 = mee, etc., blue = higher octave, red = lower octave). Vicki said something about my genes.

After night had fallen, I went on a solo walk through the maze of unpaved, unlit and winding roads in the huge compound, with a flash light in my hand and a cell phone in my pocket. After a few turns, I found myself hopelessly lost. The trees were so thick all around that I could not even take a bearing from the stars. Since I’m a man, I did not deign to knock on any door for directions. Half an hour later, past 11 pm, I finally relented, and called Vicki on my cell, getting her out of bed in the process. Not just out of bed, but out of the trailer. After a bit, her truck appeared, and I climbed in meekly. She drove me back to the trailer, which happened to be only a couple of hundred yards from where I was. So much for the intrepid globe trotter.

On Aug. 4, Monday, I went to the nearest Starbucks by GPS first thing in the morning, but unlike other Starbucks outlets elsewhere which offer wireless internet access for free, this one charges $5 for 5 days, 2 hours max per day. I noticed a Caribou Coffee nearby, and drove over to see. They did offer the service for free, so I settled in for the day. I had so much internet work to catch up it took me until dinner time to get done with it.

On Aug. 5, Tuesday, I drove to Lane Ferrante’s in Bedford , to where Lightning Source was supposed to have shipped 150 copies of Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH. Lightning Source was supposed to call Lane at her work number upon delivery, but as of late Tuesday afternoon, still no call, and no notification card in Lane’s mail box either. I had a lecture to give at the Lancaster campus of Ohio University the next morning, so, after a quick dinner with Lane, I drove the three hours to Lancaster and arrived in the late evening at the place of Janice Kobi, who had generously taken on organizing events for me in Ohio .

Janice is all business by email and phone, but in person could not be warmer and friendlier. The next morning, she drove me to campus. In the audience was a bearded man name Fritz from the Parks Department, who paid laser-like attention to every word about RUNAWAY global heating and every picture of the Alberta tar sands. After the lecture, he said to me, “Very interesting. Too interesting.”

After the talk, Janice took me to meet a 98-years-old local environmental activist named Grace Ray Moon at the quality care home where she resides, where I also met Lancaster City Parks Director Mitch Overton. Subsequently, Janice wrote up a press release as follows:

International Speaker Raises Awareness of Global Warming

Anthony Marr, author, lecturer, environmentalist and founder of the organization HOPE – Healing Our Planet Earth, stopped by Carriage Court for a visit with one of Lancaster’s own environmentalist, Grace Ray Moon. At 93 years old, Moon was the recipient of the Floyd Wolf Community Service Award in 1993. Today, at 98, Moon continues to offer her services to make Lancaster a “Green” community. Joining Marr to recognize Moon for her years of service were Janice Kobi, Fairfield County CARES President and Mitch Overton, Lancaster City Parks Director.

Marr was in Lancaster to present a program on Global Warming. Kobi arranged for Marr to make a stop in Lancaster on his sixth cross country tour in an effort to raise awareness to climate change and how it affects all life on earth. He also has a new book just published entitled, Homo Sapiens! Save Your Earth.

This year’s tour is entitled, “Global Warming and Mass Extinction.” Marr presented his program at Ohio University- Lancaster Campus on Wednesday, August 6, 2008. During the program, Marr made the comparison that the earth is a living planet. He pointed out by taking a terrestrial view from space that earth has gone through many noticeable changes. He added that from a cosmic perspective, “the earth is sick.” He listed six planetary diseases. “Any one of them alone can kill you but they are all linked together”, he injected.

Marr stated, “The earth has a planetary fever…and it’s called Global Warming.”

During the presentation, Marr discussed the serious nature of high carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere but emphasized methane gas is a much more lethal gas. His concern is that as the permafrost melts around the world more methane gas will enter the atmosphere and increase the speed of global warming.

Trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Marr stresses that as man destroys the rain forest worldwide we not only destroy trees but many species that depend on each other for survival. Scientists warned for years that destroying the Amazon rainforest would have negative results. These scientists predicted these areas would dry up and become deserts. Recent droughts in these areas indicate this may be their fate.

Marr’s first book is entitled, Omni-Science and the Human Destiny.

For more information go to the website at

Shortly after the lecture, I called Lane and asked her about the books, suggesting that perhaps she should call her apartment manager to see if the books had arrived anyway. She did, and got back to me saying that the books had arrived, and actually arrived on Monday, but had the wrong apartment number for them, and the notice of delivery had been placed into the wrong mail box. GRRRRRR. By then, it was past 2 pm, and the manager’s office in which the 5 boxes of books were stored would be closed at 5 pm, while the drive would take some 3 hours. I gave it a try anyway, but did not arrive till 5:30. So, I overnighted at Lane’s, and got the books the next morning. As it turned out, each box contained about 50 copies of the book, so 4.5 boxes equaled 225 copies, instead of the 150 as ordered. I left with Lane 1.5 boxes, all copies signed, and took away 3 boxes or 150 copies, and headed back to Janice’s for the evening, from where I would head for Athens where my next events were scheduled on Thursday.

Subsequently, Lane wrote me an email saying: Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa!! I have tried to call you but your voice mail has been full. I wanted to tell you that your book is utterly fantastic and I think every human that inhabits this earth should be made to read it cover to cover. I actually cried. I have it at work and am really pushing people to read it. I have even gotten Reggie to start reading it…

Janice said that she could distribute a number of copies of the book to her contacts, so I left her one box, for now and upon my planned return to Ohio Oct. 6-9. In the early afternoon, I drove south to Athens for my two events. The first was thought to be a radio interview at WOUB, which turned out to be a TV interview, which began with a discussion on animal rights and the AR Conference, which then moved on to global warming and mass extinction. My local hosts John and Kati Davis, who went into the TV room to watch the interview, later told me that I had received a compliment. There were two program directors present, one of whom said to the other, “This guy’s good. Looks like he’s done it all before.”

After the interview, we drove on to a lake, on the bank of which the local Sierra club was holding its annual meeting. There were about 20 people there. The meeting also double-duties as a vegetarian pot-puck. After the dinner, club president Loraine McCosker asked me to make a speech, which, judging by their questions and comments afterwards, seemed to have captured their attention and imagination. I said at one point that we should internalize environmental cost in fossil fuels extraction and charge it against the oil companies up front, and got many agreements in return, including one from Loraine. I gave each a copy of the book, and there were several $5-$20 donations without solicitation.

I was going to overnight in Athens , but received a dinner invitation in Columbus from Michelle Gatchell (Deputy Director of Communications for Nancy H. Rogers, Attorney General, State of Ohio ) for Friday evening, so I drove back to Vicki’s for the night. In the course of the day, Michelle called to inform me that more people are joining the dinner, including Ritchie Layman, who had hosted a tiger preservation presentation for me at the University of Ohio at Columbus a couple of years back.

On Friday, the 8th, I spent all day at Caribou Coffee until the late afternoon when I drove to the Dragonfly restaurant in Columbus by 5:30. Participating in the dinner were six women including Michelle, Ritchie, Elizabeth Bonfield (Director of Capital Giving, Wittenberg University ) Linda Orenchuck, who had attended one of my talks before, Alita _____, Michelle’s mother, and myself. Upon my arrival, Alita, in a spiffy western cow-girl suit complete with hat, was saying something about Anthony being a Romeo. I sat down and said, “I didn’t know that Ohio women were so fast. I’ve hardly sat down and am already being called a Romeo.” HAHAs. As it happened, “Anthony” was Alita’s dog. At one point, Alita said that she had been single for 30 years. I said, “That’s nothing. I’ve been single for 64 years.” They looked at me as if I were Methuselah. I went back out to my car to get 6 copies of the book and gave them one each, all signed upon request. Without solicitation, Ritchie donated $25, and Linda wrote me a folded cheque, which of course I did not opened to look at. They talked and planned an event for my return to Columbus on Oct. 7. After the dinner had broken, and I back in the driver’s seat of my car, I then opened and looked at Linda’s cheque, and it said $500.

After the dinner, I drove back to Vicki’s place, ready to drive off to West Virginia for my next adventure.

More later.

Anthony Marr

Anthony Marr, founder
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Anthony Marr's CARE-6 tour field journal #5

Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)’s

Global Emergency Operation (GEO)’s

Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #6 (CARE-6)’s

Field journal #5

August 1, 2008

Dear HOPE-GEO team and all friends in compassion:

I know, I know, this HOPE-GEO CARE-6-tour field-journal #5 has been long in coming. However, I have to abide by my own rule that this is a report of action. If I went through a temporary period inaction, the journal would have to wait. Either this, or I went through a temporary period of intense activity with no time to write, but I cannot apply the latter to the last ten days.

Of course few things are 0% or 100%. These last ten days have served as the time required to study the book Stupid to The Last Drop (by William Marsden, given to me by Patrick Moore of CURE, Montevideo, Minnesota). Even for me, who has created the website part of which dealing with the Alberta tar sands, the book is an eye-opener. It takes a historical perspective to the beginning of tar sands discovery to how the Canadian government contemplated using nuclear weapons to extract oil from the tar sands, to the selling out of Canada’s resources to the U.S.A. via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in which, for example, Canada is required to ship to the U.S.A. 60% of its oil output, regardless of whether Canada itself falls short of oil or not, and via other political and commercial devices, by incompetent and impotent and/or unethical and corrupt, and/or foolish and, yes, stupid, “statesmen” such as former Prime Minister Brian Mulrooney, former Alberta Premier and former Alberta “Environment Minister” Ralph Klein, current Alberta “Environment Minister” Rob Rennie, current Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who have shown not one iota of concern for human health (e.g. the cancer epidemic amongst the First Nations peoples inhabiting the Athabasca watershed) nor environmental integrity (e.g. the deformed fish they consumed and the ducks that died by landing into one of the tailing “ponds”), and how psychopathic and sociopathic Big Oil took and are still taking full advantage of this weakness and all but invaded Canada with their heavy machinery for leveling the forest and tearing up the land, and light bribes for officials and natives (see Chapter 5 titled “Washington’s Doomsday Politics in which the Americans discover the oil sands, contemplate the invasion of Canada and find it’s not necessary”) , and, worst of all, how Canadian and especially Albertan investors and voters keep voting these criminals-against-nature-and-humanity back in, even though their deeds are destroying the Canadian ecology, the entire biosphere, and their own children’s future. This infuriates me, and has hardened my resolve to defeat them ASAP, and given me the extra ammunition to hasten our victory. So, these 10 days have in fact been very fruitful, without which, charging full speed ahead, I would have had no time to read at all.

I arrived at Janesville on July 17th, on the same evening of which I gave a talk to about a dozen people in the gazebo of a park in Beloit, including organizer Les Blumreich and my dear friends Amy Burns, her husband Mark Dwyer and their daughter Luciana, Allegrea Rosenburg, and a few others I did not recognize. When I was concluding my talk, it was twilight, and all around the gazebo the fireflies performed their magic. It was beautiful and enchanting. Unfortunately, there was no reporter there to witness it.

On Saturday the 19th, Amy and I went to Madison to attend the Dalai Lama’s public talk. When we were standing in line waitings to enter the stadium, in the fierce sun in the asphalt parking lot, we could not help but notice a demonstration by a group of Tibetans against the Dalai Lama. There were large banners saying “DALAI LAMA, STOP LYING!” The demonstrators were chanting “DALAI LAMA! (Something something in Tibetan)!” Amy went over to talk to them, and was told that they were a Buddhist sect not recognized by the Dalai Lama, who had refused to meet with them. In other words, they were accusing the Dalai Lama of religious persecution! Upon finally entering the stadium, a guard confiscated my bottle of water. We were seated way up on the third level and the sound system left a lot to be desired. I had to strain to catch the odd recognizable phrase from “His Holiness” (a term I disdain, be it applied to the Dalai Lama or the Pope or any other spiritual “supreme master”). The format of the talk basically involved the man sitting next to him asking him questions which he then answered. Unfortunately, the questions were posed by one with almost no environmental or global awareness, and most questions were mundane and pseudo-spiritual in the extreme, and the terms “global warming”, much less “mass extinction”, did not arise even once that I could discern. Amy did not hear them either. She has attended the Dalai Lama’s talks before, and said that indeed this time his performance was substandard. Subsequently, she gave me a book by the Dalai Lama in support of science. However, Julie Johnston attempted to gain me access to the Dalai Lame, and it was not granted.

Here is how I feel about the Dalai Lama; many who admire him may feel personally affronted, but so be it – this being a field journal of truth, at least truth as I see it. The Dalai Lama has the power to fill a stadium with ease. If I were him, especially since he is a man of science and a global warming acceptor, in view of the urgency of the matter, I would not rest, but instead give public talks everyday, 365 days every year, city after city, country after country, until the world is enlightened, Big Oil is trounced, and the tar sands are shut down for good. But that afternoon, I saw little if any sign of urgency. I cannot respect a world leader with his enormous power of global influence, who would not try to accomplish at least what the miniscule HOPE-GEO team is trying to accomplish. And to add to the mediocrity of the day, except Amy’s company, I ended up with a heat stroke for the trouble, which led to my vomiting later at her parents’ place.

Amy’s parents are Betty and Marvin Burns, age 58 and 60, who are staunch Christians and Creationists, which normally would have set me diametrically opposed to them, but their caring hospitality has not only neutralized this intellectual barrier, but instilled within me a sense of unconditional love for them. While their son Michael has followed in their footsteps and become a pastor, Amy has struck out on her own into the realm of science, logic and evolutionary thinking, and is home-schooling her delightful younger daughter Luciana, while maintaining an uneasy yet loving truce with her parents. Marvin is a bit of a missionary at heart. After finally raising the money, he is now poised to go back to Uganda on August 3 for 15 days to help build a house for their Ugandan minister. He had had his luggage packed 10 days ahead of time, unlike me who seldom start packing until the very morning of my departure, even on a 4.5-month-long tour. Betty is a homebody, and could only look on in semi-amusement and semi-resignation, with their three cats around her heels. About Marv’s trip, I have always found Christian missionaries indoctrinating Third World people with their dogma objectionable, but again, on the personal level, I sincerely wish Marvin a safe and fruitful journey. Whereas they, fully knowing that I’m an evolutionist, have avoided broaching the subject even once for all the time I’ve known them since 2005. On Amy’s side of the family, she has had recent heated debates against Marv in blog form, but I have yet to see them duel it out verbally in person. Unfortunately, the conflict between her and her eldest daughter Dejanique had come to a head on Dage’s 18th birthday, and only after some serious confrontations did it die down. Quite a few late evenings, I walked the several blocks from Betty’s to Amy’s to unwind and hang out, with Allegrea and Mark almost always there with us, and of course all nine of Amy’s cats. I love their whole family deeply.

When I arrived at Betty’s place and checked into my assigned bedroom, I found the proof copy of our new book Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH lying on the bed. I looked at it for a moment before picking it up and holding it in my hands, as if it were a new-born babe. By the time I entered Wisconsin, I had contacted Lightning Source to have 2000 copies of the book printed ($3980 vs $3363 for 1500 copies) and have 200 copies sent to Peter and Julie on Pender Island BC, 150 copies to Lane’s place in Bedford Ohio, and 1650 copies sent to the Alternative Mini Storage in Maryland rented by Charlotte (shipping cost $702, vs $648 for 1500 copies). They would be shipped on August 1, Friday, and should arrive within 3-4 days, in time for the AR Conference.

On July 29, Tuesday, I bade farewell to Amy’s family, and drove to South Bend, Indiana, for the engagemnt at the St. Joseph County Library scheduled for 6-9 pm, organized by Lisa Funkhouser, a MySpace friend of mine. I arrived at 4 pm as arranged, and was instantly struck by her feel of freshness, youthfulness and warmth when we met at the library parking lot. She and her friend Jim, who brought his video and projector equipment, treated me to dinner in a Thai restaurant nearby. While driving, I called Lisa on my cell to see if she had contacted the local media, she said, while we were walking to the restaurant, “You have to teach me how to do it properly next time.” As she had feared, the audience was small, but it could also have been caused by some mix up on the date on the part of others. While still in Wisconsin the day before driving to Indiana, i.e. July 28, Monday, I received an email from an Indiana woman named Jamie, who wrote that she had heard about the presentation at her work place, and would like to attend, but the date she mentioned was July 28, Monday. I wrote back to give her the correct date of July 29, Tuesday, and she did show up, but goodness knows how many people went to the library on the wrong date. It was not Lisa’s mistake, because her announcement did say July 29, Tuesday. Just goes to show that however careful we try to be, we cannot control the carelessness in others.

Lisa, whose opened her home to me for my stay, where she lives with her young daughter Kaley, is a highly intelligent woman with a university degree and excellent computer skills, and is applying them to improve my websites and my telecommunications capabilities. She offers to host another event for my return visit in October, and to help with the HOPE-GEO campaign in the long run, pro bono. To help save the Earth has been her aim in life, and she deems our campaign worthy of her time, energy and talents.

Jim did video-record the presentation, and is working on the recording for YouTube and elsewhere as we speak.

The next 2 weeks will be busier than the last 2 weeks, with presentations in Ohio and West Virginia prior to the AR conference. Alex (FARM) just wrote me saying that Joanne Chang could not make the conference, and asked me to take on one of her talks. So now, I have 12 speeches at the AR Conference to make.

More later.