Several months ago, I saw that two or three of my peers on twitter were talking about an upcoming festival (a "gathering," NOT a conference or convention) in North Carolina that would focus on the intersection of art, justice, and spirituality. It was to be called Wild Goose Festival, after a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit of God.

I contacted Jacob, one of the directors, hoping to snag some stage time at the event, but I was too late - the programming was already planned out. I ended up volunteering with the "recycling crew" instead (euphemism for the waste management team which also handled trash and compost).

Being a freegan myself - and therefore especially concerned about waste - I figured I was a shoe-in. I gladly accepted the position which would allow me to attend the entire event for free - food and camping accommodations included!

I volunteered 16 hours throughout the fest shouldering large compost bins and heavy black bags of trash and recycling into the bed of a bright blue pick up truck and emptying them at the farm's dump site. It wasn't very glamorous, but I did make friends with my fellow trash crew members and we even devised a secret handshake!

Though it was fun and even enlightening - to a certain extent - to spend the weekend camping out, singing, dancing, playing, and engaging in conversation with my mostly-left-leaning brothers and sisters, I was sorely disappointed by their apparent inability to minimize and sort waste properly, even in a festival milieu that so aptly encouraged it! Nearly every waste station had separate bins for compost, trash, and recycling with colorful signs explaining which items ought to go in each - yet It was all too often that we found plastic bags in the compost bins, bottles and food waste in the trash. 

By the end of the festival we accumulated about two large dumpsters worth of both trash and recycling; relatively little amounts of food and paper waste were composted; stunningly exorbitant amounts of waste were improperly sorted. 

Now I hate to sound all holier-than-thou; but seriously, how can such a group of hippie, environmentalist, progressive, leftist, and/or so-called emergent Christians blow it on such a basic level? Christians really can't figure out how to reuse, reduce, recycle? To properly steward the planet created for us? If anything, we ought to be leading the charge! 

I know that many Christians are, indeed, leading the way - I first really learned about composting at a similar Xian event in 2008 called PAPA Fest - and that many of those who attended Wild Goose did their part. But on the whole the folks of this festival community (still only a small sampling of this minority appendage of the Church in the US) absolutely must do more to create a better model for consumption and waste. Here's hoping that by next year this flock gets its act straight, realizes its responsibility to care for the earth, and starts to lead the way. Our planet can hardly afford otherwise!

For more on my trip to North Carolina, check out the post on my personal blog page... click here =D 

In February I became addicted to a sport called bouldering (most people know it as "rock climbing" except that bouldering doesn't involve ropes and typically involves climbing only 15-20 feet high). After my roommate went to Barcelona and became addicted to climbing himself, he brought me to the gym and I never looked back.
On my second or third visit I ran into a CouchSurfer I had met about a month earlier to see a taping of Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Her boyfriend walked up as we chatted and began to tell me about volunteering at the gym. He explained that he worked one three-hour shift each week in exchange for free membership.


I needed to learn more about this. Sure enough, I contacted their volunteer coordinator and... well, turns out it wasn't a hoax! And it's a good thing, too, because I paid $200 for a seasonal member ship (March 20 through June 20) and it nearly broke the bank!

Today was my first volunteer shift. 

I'll never have to pay for climbing again.

Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
   for there is a future for the man of peace.