The Big Swim. Metaphor for an Intentional Quest


20150408_190718Author Carrie Saxifrage is on a bus trip. A greyhound bus trip across the country to share a vision for living an intentional life. A purposeful way of living that seeks to reduce carbon footprints, and elevates the conversation around climate change. Carrie Saxifrage is the author of “The Big Swim.Coming Ashore in a World Adrift.”

She was sponsored by Clean North and Peace and Conflict Studies at Sault College, and is on a country wide book tour. Carrie is on a quest to share readings from her book, and engage those in attendance at her book tour events, in a conversation about Climate Change. Taking the Greyhound Bus, will allow her to live within an intentional life journey to reduce carbon emissions, while supporting a book tour for ‘The Big Swim’.

David Trowbridge,Chair of Clean North introduced Carrie saying “Her book is one that you can pass onto someone who may not know a great deal about the issue of climate change. Carrie Saxifrage shares information in subtle ways, through stories”.

Carrie said her book was helped along with the support of a writers’ group she belongs to. “If I wrote too much about climate change, there was the real possibility that nobody would want to read it.” adding “This writing group helped to shape the stories that would be enriching for everyone.” and “By using stories of quests, of sacred values, we engage the emotional brain. By exploring ways that we as individuals engage in climate change, ways that we can make different choices which better reflect our values.” Values that would leave a world with better prospects for our children. Carrie and her family had an epiphany around how travelling by air was running contrary to what they held as a value. To reduce their carbon footprint was going to come with hard choices. Trips from their Cortes Island home in northern British Columbia,Canada to destinations far and away, would come with a cost. A carbon cost. When an intentional value of reducing carbon footprints, as a family collective, would be compromised, The Saxifrage family began making shifts away from taking trips that required excessive air travel. “Our family took measures to lower our carbon footprint.” shared Carrie. “Flying, or rather, not flying, became part of our story of commitment to lowering emissions. It is part of our quest, and better reflects our values as a family.” 20150408_201551

Carrie Saxifrage would like to see more people embracing advocacy, and connecting stories around climate change. People speaking freely about how climate change diminishes our experiences. Sometimes facts about climate change are difficult to grasp. The sheer volume of scientific papers and research can be overwhelming. Climate news, and some of the terrifying data it brings with it can be an imposing obstacle. Carrie would see a world where scientists are championed and applauded for efforts undertaken in important research. Research that leads to action. A pro-active community working together to create a reduced carbon emission. Carrie Saxifrage has written for.

The Vancouver Observer since 2006. Her reporting on the impact of the Northern Gateway Pipeline on First Nations garnered significant critical acclaim. She worked as a nurse and environmental lawyer in the U.S. before moving to B.C. in 1994. She is an avid swimmer, and has taken part in an annual swim off the coast of British Columbia of “5 miles of open ocean, where the water is quite cold.” Carrie shared this story with the audience in the Essar Auditorium at Sault College “I was fed by the elements and eco-systems, and I was 3 hrs and 40 minutes in the water with my swimming partner,Chloe. I feel like I belong when I’m in nature.”
“Imagining a world that is better is within our reach.” shared Carrie. “The secret is to live in alignment with what you love. We are so lucky to be here. Breaking the silence around climate change will be enhanced by sharing stories. We’re all in this together.”
For more information about The Saxifrage family Quest for a reduced carbon footprint visit.
follow Carrie on Twitter @CarrieSaxifrage


  1. Good summary of what was an interesting evening. Many of those attending were able to share their concerns and start a dialogue around climate change which seems to have become silent recently. “Don’t even think about it” by George Marshall was a book that inspired Carrie but she helped us to start thinking again.

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