7.26.2010

Explaining ClimateFail 2010? It's the gas prices, stupid

You can't swing a dead cat around this place without reading an obit for the Climate Bill (2009-2010, R.I.P.), otherwise known as the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, otherwise known as the "Great Green Slam Dunk of All Time That Just Got Rejected." (LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK)

Fans of finger pointing have got to be enjoying this blamefest, as there's no shortage of targets (or people willing to fire away at those targets). Topping the list are the Republicans, the Democrats, big corporations, labor unions, and the "toxic political climate" ... and to be safe, you might as well throw in there the media, the Chinese, the weather, Al Gore's masseuse(s), the French, the Bush Family, the Clinton Family, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Stewart, and anybody you know who's ever purchased a carbon offset.

Right or left, to see the Climate Bill corpse on the floor, even with that cute little chalk outline around it, is a stunner. Back a few years ago, the one thing that both Presidential candidates could agree on was the need for a U.S. Carbon Bill that would slow the tide of climate change. McCain wrote the book on carbon trading legislation, almost literally, and Obama softened his stance on a more agressive carbon tax concept to meet the Arizona senator in the middle and guarantee agreement. It may not have been every green's wet dream, but it seemed like a done deal. Practically signed, sealed and delivered.

Echoing that bipartisan kumbaya, Joe and Jane Public were getting on the green train as well during that election season. You name a green initiative, and it was making progress. Wind, solar, alternative transportation, relocalization, bamboo, hemp, carbon offsets, group showers ... the list goes on and on and on. And when I think about it now .... it's like a memory from a different era, altogether.

And then I realize, it WAS a different era.

When it comes to environmental initiatives, big or small, there's only one thing that matters in America. And that's the price of gasoline. When it's high, we'll do whatever Al Gore says. But when it's low, the message of "go screw yourself" couldn't be more clear.

While ClimateFail 2010 is one example of how our eco-conscience is pinned to the pump, there are numerous others .... like the BP Oil Spill, for example. Because even though people are growling about BP and mumbling about the eco-damage that's been caused to the region, what they're really worried about is how much it will cost to drive to work tomorrow. And as long as it stays the same as today, not much is going to change.

Governments are like wedding planners. You really don't need them, unless the shit hits the fan. And when it does, one of the best parts about having them around is that they provide an excellent target for the blame game.

But in this case, the blame really should fall on us. You and me. Because if we're not willing to change our own behavior, and if we're not willing to pick up the phone and rattle the chains of our public servants, then we're merely casting another silent vote for the status quo.

Until then, our environmental future remains the prerogative of the pump.


February 10, 2007
Obama announces candidacy for president
$2.35/gallon

June 1, 2007
Nau eco-apparel profiled in Fast Company
$2.90/gallon

August 1, 2007
Treehugger.com acquired by Discovery Network for $10 million
$2.86/gallon

Feb 24, 2008
"An Inconvenient Truth" wins oscar for Best Documentary
$3.18/gallon

May 12, 2008
Sen. John McCain, presidential candidate, Pledges to Combat Climate Change
$3.70/gallon

May 30, 2008
Toyota sells their 1 millionth Prius
$4.12/gallon

August 8, 2008
The North Face plants trees as a carbon offset for all media attending the 2008 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show.
$3.70/gallon

August 10, 2008
Backpacker Magazine assesses their carbon footprint
$3.65/gallon

Aug 25, 2008
Obama receives Democratic Nomination
$3.60/gallon

January 9, 2010
Plenty Magazine folds.
$1.86/gallon

Dec. 18, 2009
Copenhagen Climate Summit fails
$2.61/gallon

April 2010
BP "Deepwater Horizon" drilling rig explodes, starting the largest oil spill in history.
$2.78/gallon

July, 2010

The Climate Bill fails.
$2.68/gallon

7.09.2010

The Media is Dead. Long live Media .... Is video the savior?



Panel Discussion: The Media is Dead. Long live Media .... How video is fueling a media boom in the outdoor industry.

** Thursday, August 5: 7:30-9:00 a.m.
** Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, Salon D

As outdoor industry media rapidly moves toward digital domination, the role of video and photography has taken on a new level of priority and urgency. Media companies, brands and retailers are all working to include compelling imagery in their media mix...but, who's doing it right? Who's doing it effectively? Who's doing it affordably? And most importantly, how can outdoor industry brands and retailers tap into cutting edge trends in video and photography?


Let’s face it …. For the most part, the outdoor world is a low-tech zone. Not Amish low-tech, but definitely not digital natives either.

Part of it is generational, as we’re still dominated by the paper pushing baby boomer crowd, a crew that is known to actually carry "cash" and use things like "pencils" during sales meetings. Part of it is cultural, too, as the the things we like to do in the great outdoors are more about touching the sky than touch screens and CPUs.

But while the outdoor word has been the dominant messenger in the outdoor world for the last few centuries, the next few decades are destined to be driven by video.

Feature videos, product videos, event videos, stock videos, integrated videos .... if you haven't had the video conversation in your marketing department in the last six months, you haven't been in the marketing department.

Twenty some years ago, when an outdoor film was released, the only place to catch it was in a movie theater, sitting next to the other garlic-breathed outdoorzies in the dark. Today, however, you can catch a video anywhere …. At work, at home, or even down by the river on your phone.

As the outdoor industry rapidly moves toward a digital video future, the big questions aren't whether or not to use video ... but how to do it right. How do you make an effective outdoor-themed video right now? And how do you distribute it? Who's watching outdoor video and what do they want to see from it? How much does it really cost? Can my nephew with a new Mac and a basement apartment really handle my video needs?

To dig into the meat of cutting edge trends in video and photography, we have put together a panel of outdoor industry leaders and innovators in video and film for a panel discussion at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer summer market show. The crew includes:

Rob Faris, SVP Programming & Production, Outside Television



Rob Faris, a multiple Emmy Award-winning television producer, oversees the creation and development of programming content Outside Television. Before joining Outside Television, Faris was the Executive Producer at Voom HD, a series of HD channels owned by Cablevision, where he supervised three of the channels, notably Rush HD, an action-adventure outlet. Faris was responsible for all the creative aspects of television production at the Voom HD channels, oversaw the global operation of production teams associated with the three channels, and managed original productions in more than 40 countries. Prior to Voom HD, Faris was a member of the Emmy-winning team for NBC Sports Summer Olympic Games in Athens; a producer at Madison Square Garden; and a feature producer at ESPN where he was part of the Emmy- and Peabody-winning Sports Century series.

Corey Rich, Photographer, Filmmaker & Principal at Aurora Photos



















LINK: Video
Corey Rich is one of the world's most recognized adventure and outdoor lifestyle visual storytellers. He has captured stunning still photos and video on a wide array of assignments, including rock climbing in India, ultra-marathon racing in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, freight train hopping in the American West, and snowboarding in Papua New Guinea. His editorial work includes assignments for National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times Magazine. Commercial clients include Anheuser-Busch, Apple, Nike and The North Face. Today, much of his time goes into capturing both still images and video for the creation of multimedia projects for commercial and editorial clients.

As Vice President and co-owner of Aurora Photos, Rich was the driving force behind founding Aurora’s Outdoor Collection, which is the world’s leading brand of outdoor adventure and outdoor lifestyle photography. He is focused on overseeing Aurora’s continued growth in sales and business development. Most recently, Rich played a major roll in the creation of two new divisions: New York City based Aurora Select, focused on photo and video assignments and Portland, Maine based Aurora Novus, an innovative multimedia production company.

Additionally, Rich is a Nikon evangelist and a member of the SanDisk Extreme Team. He is also on the Board of Directors for The Access Fund, member of the Visual Journalism Advisory Board at Brooks Institute, co-founder and lead instructor of the National Geographic Adventure Photography Workshop, member of the Rowell Legacy Committee and on The Rowell Award for the Art of Adventure judging panel

Fitz Cahall, creator, “The Season” & “Dirtbag Diaries



In January 2007, I was 28-years-old and felt like the dream I had been chasing my entire life was unsustainable. A friend once told me, "Write from the heart, write what's true and things will work out." It was getting harder to believe. I worked hard, but the stories I loved so much failed to make it from my hard drive to the pages of magazines. Rent checks were getting harder to write. By February, I was studying for the GRE and looking at grad schools I didn't really want to attend.
The thing is–you can't turn off a dream. With a go-for-broke mentality, I began bundling my favorite stories into the Dirtbag Diaries. My office has become a tangle of cords and microphones. With each new episode, I emerge bleary-eyed and in need of a can of PBR. Professionally, I have never been happier in my life. This world is filled with great stories. They come from friends during big wall belays, around campfires and on long drives across empty deserts. I look forward to telling as many as I can. Since the diaries, I've gone on to produce the both The Season -- a 22 episode mini-series -- and the upcoming 10 part series, Tracing the Edge with Patagonia

Tami Snow, Horny Toad



Tami Snow is the Communication Director for Horny Toad, an atypical apparel company with a long track record of powerful, memorable imagery. At Horny Toad, Tami helps to oversee the brand positioning and storytelling. Prior to joining Horny Toad Tami was the owner and Creative Director for a small boutique creative agency specializing in a wide variety of brands primarily in retail, outdoor recreation, lifestyle apparel and footwear working on notable brands such as L.L. Beans and Tubbs Snowshoes, American Ski Company and Old Navy.

Horny Toad video is a thoughtful and fun collaboration with their partners, Merge Creative. “The collaborations with Horny Toad and Merge have been successful because there is a creative process and between two like-minded entities. Merge bringing brands to life in ways people recognize as authentic and real. It is the perfect blend of art and technology, finely-tuned visual effects and the collaboration of storytelling by making people feel inspired.”

Josh Murphy, Producer/Director



Josh Murphy is a producer, director, and cinematographer who began his career in film in 1999 with the release of the award winning Unparalleled series of modern freeheel ski films. His work spans television, commercials, documentary and feature films including the upcoming release of The River Why starring Zach Guilford and Amber Heard with Academy Award Winner William Hurt and Academy Award Nominee Kathleen Quinlan, for which he was Co-Producer and Second Unit Director/DP. His broadcast productions have been featured on CBS, ESPN, CMT, OLN, VH1, G4 TV, VS, Fox Sports Network, Fine Living, Warren Miller Television, The Weather Channel, Resort Sports Network, and Time-Life Video. Among other awards he is the recipient of North American Snow Sports Journalist Association’s Bill Berry Award for Modern Media, the Harold Hirsch Award for Film and Broadcast, and the Gerald Hirschfeld, ASC Best Cinematography Award from the Ashland Independent Film Festival. In the outdoor world he recently produced original commercial, web, and viral content for clients such as The North Face, Clif Bar, Outdoor Research, and the California State Parks Foundation.

7.08.2010

Bros Dosing Bros .... Wilderness edition

Safety watch: child-carrying backpacks

Does it surprise you that toddler-carrying backpacks aren’t required to meet mandatory safety standards of any kind? It surprised me.

Standards do exist, set by the good folks at ASTM and JPMA … but they’re voluntary. And when you making safety standards optional for kids’ outdoor gear, it’s sort of like saying that feeding your kids is “optional.”

Since I started working with Kelty KIDS in 2002, I’ve watched them tackle safety issues with an eagerness that only a Volvo engineer could love. It’s true they’re not the cheapest items on the shelf, and occasionally they’re not the sexiest … but no one can ever doubt that for Kelty KIDS, safety always comes first.

Kelty child carriers are not only compliant with ASTM voluntary standards, they go far beyond what’s required. They also exceed JPMA’s standards, and they willingly subject themselves to testing by the Bureau of Veritas: an independent watchdog that makes sure certified products don’t change once they hit the stores.

As obvious as this sounds, it was sobering (and even depressing) to see other carriers on the shelves that don’t meet the basic safety standards that are out there.

If you’re looking at buying a new or used child carrier, you should know what some of those safety standards are. After all, this is your kid we’re talking about. Here’s a very brief list of some of the biggies to look out for:

Scissoring, Shearing, Pinching

Add the words “of my child’s hand” to any of the above, and you’ll see how essential this standard is. In carriers with a built-in support leg, there’s a high-risk “pinch area” right at the leg pivot hinge. Coincidentally, this is exactly the spot where a kid’s hands dangle down. Kelty has developed, tested and produced a pinchless hinge which provides zero risk, as a child cannot get their small fingers into the hinge, ever.

Unintentional Folding

With child carriers that stand by themselves, parents regularly place the carrier on the ground or a picnic table while they adjust the fit for their child. The minimum ASTM requirement is for that folding leg to able to resist 10 lbs of pressure and not fold up – pressure like when a child extends their legs during a big yawn. If it doesn’t resist that pressure, a child could unintentionally cause the carrier to fall backwards. Feeling that the ASTM requirement wasn’t strong enough here, Kelty beefed it up to 15 pounds … then exceeded it.

Leg Openings

In a child-carrying backpack, a kid sits in a “cockpit” that looks sort of like a big, roomy pair of shorts. You lower the child in, snug them up, and off you go. The leg openings need to be big enough to keep little Johnny comfortable, but small enough so that a child can’t pull their leg out of one opening, put it down the other, then slip through. ASTM’s standard uses a big ball –7 pounds and the size of one of those mega-softballs – and requires that the leg holes be able to keep the ball in the cockpit. Once again, Kelty easily meets this standard.

Strength & Loads

Making sure a child carrier can hold a full weight load may sound obvious, but it’s absolutely essential for the safe enjoyment of both the parent and child. Some of the weight tests that ASTM requires (and Kelty exeeds), includes weighing down the carrier with 40 pounds and bouncing it about 5 inches up and down, about 50,000 times; dropping a 40-pound bag of shot 500 times onto the seat from a height of 3 inches; and loading the the kids’ compartment to three times its capacity rating (120 pounds) while in use and while on the ground.

Stability

This is one of the easiest tests to replicate yourself in a store or at a garage sale. Stand a carrier on a 12 degree incline – frontwards, backwards, sideways – then load it up with 40 pounds and put the child’s cockpit as high as it can go. If it falls over, you fail. Not only does Kelty pass this test, they pass it with flying colors up to 20 degrees.