Thursday, June 10, 2010

June Soundbites


Hi, everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here at Sustainable Sakonnet. Things have been busy as the summer shifts into gear. While work in the gardens is complete (for the moment) and the Little League season winds down, I have been focused on my new blog, The New Pursuit, some public speaking, and writing for (more on that below).

With that, I think I am going to move to a monthly post here at Sustainable Sakonnet. There are so many great things happening in the area that to leave Sustainable Sakonnet by the wayside completely doesn’t feel right. I hope you agree.


Our very own Sakonnet Growers Market kicks the Summer 2010 season off on Saturday morning, June 19, at Pardon Gray Preserve (Main Road). Be sure to stop by, get some amazing local fare and support our local farmers and producers in the process. For a complete listing of farmers markets around the Sakonnet area, check out this list from Farm Fresh Rhode Island.


While most of the town was in the throes (folly?) of the Financial Town Meeting(s) last month, an amazing event took place at Tiverton High School.

Spearheaded by Social Studies Department Chair, Eric Marx, and the THS Green Team, the entire school—from faculty to students to support staff—participated in the first ever ‘Environment Day’.

The goal was to find creative ways of getting the students to think about aspects of the environment as it relates to their everyday lives. How do we view/interact with the environment from a math perspective? From a science perspective? From a literature perspective?

Each student began the day base-lining their own environmental impact by calculating their carbon footprint. Have you ever done this? It’s a great exercise. A number of tools can help you try it for yourself.

The highlight of the event—for me anyway—was the Speakers Forum. Five speakers, four of them THS alumni (including myself), who are involved in some way in the green arena gave presentations on the topic of their choice. It was amazing (and inspiring) see how many local people are involved in making the world a better place – each in their own unique way. Here’s the run down:
  • Sarah Forrest // A 2001 grad and engineer at Vanderweil Engineers, Sarah gave an overview of how buildings play an important role in using resources wisely. She showcased her work on the LEED-certified Newton North (MA) High School.
  • Caitlin Luderer // Talked about her work developing and promoting the field of sustainable tourism. She currently volunteers with the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. Caitlin is a 2000 grad.
  • Nicole Lebreux // A 2001 grad and owner of Fidget Finds, Nichole gave the students an understanding of the impact that the mainstream clothing industry has on the environment and human rights while promoting the eco-friendly benefits of buying vintage threads.
  • Joe McLaughlin // The only non-THS grad, Joe is Director of Properties at the Norman Bird Sanctuary. He gave a great overview of the history and mission of the Sanctuary while sharing his own journey of finding his life’s passion.
  • And finally, there was me // I gave a presentation entitled “Being (Is) the Solution”, based largely on my writing at The New Pursuit. The message was simple and straightforward: While doing all sorts of things to limit your impact on the environment is important, it’s really only a band-aid. Rather, a deeper, longer-lasting impact can be realized by changing our perspective—our state of being—on how we fit in with the natural world around us and challenging what it means to be a consumer. The response was fantastic – and quite humbling. I used the presentation as the basis for my last opinion piece at
All in all, the entire day was deemed a success. Engaging the next generation in finding creative solutions to our problems is like sowing a proverbial seed in a garden. If we can nurture these young minds from their earliest beginnings we can hopefully set ourselves up for a more prosperous future.


Alas, I have been quite humbled by the response to my new blog, The New Pursuit. Even after just two months, it’s been amazing connecting with so many new people and sharing insights, ideas and stories on what it means to live deeply each day through the reconnection with life, nature and being. As content is being shared through features on other blogs and use of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, more and more people are subscribing each day to receive free updates.

If you haven’t visited yet, I hope you would take a moment to swing through. You may want to start with some of the posts proving most popular with readers:
The most gratifying thing for me personally is that I’m taking small and tangible steps towards realizing my goal of becoming a full-time writer and speaker. It's challenging me to write the best content of my life. And it’s starting to pay off. It’s more of a journey than an overnight wonder pill, but I hope others can take away the fact that pursuing what you really believe in doesn’t have to be just a New Years Resolution.

With that, I am actively pursuing new opportunities to write and speak on the topic of reconnecting with life, nature and being (what I like to call ‘eco-being’). If you are looking for a speaker for an upcoming event and think this message might resonate with your audience, please email me (at gerlachbill-at-yahoo-dot-com) to explore it further. I am happy to tailor content to create the best fit.

Until next month, be well.