Heal Our Planet Earth
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)’s
Global Emergency Operation (GEO)’s
CARE Tour - 6

Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions #6

Field Journal #8 - 23 Aug 2008

by Anthony Marr
founder of HOPE
lead campaigner of GEO
“road warrior” of CARE-1, CARE-2, CARE-3, CARE-4, CARE-5 & CARE-6

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.

More later.

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