Kurt Hoelting – a writer, wilderness guide, and commercial fisherman – went car-free and jet-free for one year to reduce his carbon footprint. Instead, he traveled by foot, kayak, and bicycle. Drawing a 60-mile radius around his home, Kurt explored the land within the circumference – and developed a new relationship with birds, including Varied Thrushes, like the one pictured here. “I started to really notice the annual cycles of bird migrations,” he says. Kurt has written a book about his experience: The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life.
The Circumference of Home
Featuring Kurt Hoelting
Interview and story by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Airplane landing, then mature Pacific Northwest conifer forest]
Wilderness kayak guide, Kurt Hoelting [HOL-ting] who’s also a writer and a commercial fisherman in Alaska, knows that travel by car or jet creates carbon emissions that are helping destabilize the climate. He wrestled with this dilemma.
“I asked myself, ‘If I can’t change my own life in relation to this great challenge that all of humanity faces, ‘If I can’t change my own life, then who can? And if I won’t make the effort to try, then why should anyone else?’”
Then he had an idea:
“What if I didn’t get into a car for a whole year? How I could make it be something that would enhance my life with my family, with my friends, rather than taking me out of the game.”
Kurt went car-free and jet-free for a year. He turned to his boots, his kayak, and his bike. Drawing a 60-mile radius around his home, he explored the land within the circumference – and surprised himself at the adventure, the “wild edge” of terrain waiting to be seen…like his new relationship with birds:[call of Varied Thrush]
“I started to really notice the annual cycles of bird migrations, some of the beautiful, more colorful species, looking forward to the time when they would show up.”
You’ll find a link to Kurt Hoelting’s book “The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life” on our website, birdnote.org.
Airplane landing and coniferous forest morning with Varied Thrush #62 recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com.
Pacific Northwest ambient recorded by C. Peterson.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org August 2013 Narrator: Mary McCann Marantz I Tracks 50, 47, 48, 51