It’s Time for YERT

The whole idea is hard to imagine. Beginning on the Fourth of July in 2007, three friends took a Ford Escape Hybrid on a round-the-U.S. journey, traveling 43,000 miles and coming home with 600 hours of footage, spending nights in places like caves, VW Buses and mud huts, but very few hotel rooms.

Their goal — to create a documentary film that explains that state of sustainability — the good, the bad and the weird — all the while living an experiment in which they were taking the sustainability idea to an extreme. The trio — Ben Evans, his wife Julie and friend Mark Dixon– limited to one shoebox a month what they threw away.

YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip) is more a movement than anything else. Evans, who when all this began was an actor in New York, said that when his mother died in 2004, he was moved to carry on her mission of environmental concern.

“The torch was passed to me, and I wanted to explore these issues I really cared about,” he said. “Life is finite, and there was no time like the present.”

One tangible result of the trip is a 110-minute film. Its Louisville debut is Thursday night at the Louisville Science Center. The early screening is sold out, but you can still get tickets for the 9:15 show. Reserve tickets here. Evans said the film will be shown at film festivals throughout the country in the coming months.

Evans and Dixon met at Stanford, where they discovered a shared concern for the environment. Julie, who is married to Ben, became pregnant 3 months into the trip. Their daughter is now 3. Julie has performed on stage in major theatrical productions.  She provides the Louisville connection, having been raised here and earning degrees from WKU and U of L.

The trio has financed the effort primarily with donations, which they’ll gladly accept from you.