It’s our second anniversary! And we’re taking a look back as we continue to move forward.
In this issue, we let you in on what went down behind some of our most memorable stories of the last year — bad spills included. We also tag along with Mike Oida to his holistic resort in Pagudpud, and take on our first epic sea-to-summit expedition alongside Cordillera Conservation Trust co-founder JP Alipio and his crew of mountain athletes.
On the cover: Mike Oida, photographed by Sonny Thakur
There are stories, and then there are stories behind the stories. For the most part, we like keeping our behind-the-scenes firmly behind the scenes. You’re not the story, I remind our crew; though, thankfully, it’s not something I have to keep constantly reminding our team—for people who write and photograph for a living, we are all afraid of being written about and photographed.
I’ll beg our indulgence to let us be a bit self-referential for this one issue, as we get to be very much part of the story this time around. We hope it’s worth this slight indiscretion, because we promise that it’s for good reason.
The first occasion is a look back over the past year, given the excuse that March marks our anniversary month, and that the past year has really been a time of growth (and its attendant pains) for us all. We managed to put out some of our biggest stories to date, and found new ways to bring these to our audience—including online, through our website; and through video. We really stretched our wings this year, and this has meant that we’ve soared, we’ve taken some bad spills, but most importantly, we’ve come back with some amazing stories for you to read, and some other amazing stories for us to remember. We think that it’s time that we bring these stories out of our treasure boxes of memory and share them with you, because why should we have all the fun?
One of the best things a reader has ever said about GRID is that we look like we’re sincere about delivering more than the expected. And that, I think, is why we’re so proud of the work we do: Every issue is a labor of love, produced by people who sincerely want to share a story, and who believe in the power of storytelling to inspire. I think it’s worthwhile to take a peek behind the curtains once in a while, for whatever it’s worth. And what about inspiration? I’m generally a pragmatist, so I don’t believe in inspiration for the sake of inspiration alone.
We believe in the power of inspiration to stir people to action, and toward the meaningful change that we otherwise just talk about. That’s the other occasion for our behind-the-scenes look, by the way. About a year ago, a GRID team was up in the Cordilleras with JP Alipio and his team of friends, mountain runners and fellow advocates for the Cordillera Conservation Trust. The whole idea for the CCT and for the mountain runs that they organize was to inspire more people to participate in conservation efforts—not merely by talking to them about it and “raising awareness,” but by giving people opportunities to experience the outdoors and meet the people who live in the spaces we seek to protect.
The idea is so powerful that we recruited JP (or rather, he recruited us) to collaborate on a similar project, this time taking the team to cover more land, taking them from sea to summit, and in the process demonstrating how much beauty there is in our spaces, and how deeply we need to commit to defending these spaces.
To do this, the GRID crew had to be right beside the CCT team wherever they went. We climbed mountains when they climbed, soaked in the same rivers, followed the same trails. (Sometimes the GRID crew fell behind, admittedly.) We met people, breathed in the clean air, let our eyes fall on the majesty of the mountains and of the sea. We were all changed people after that—even the ones who stayed behind back home, helping the team document the experience.
In short, we lived the story ourselves, and we continue to do so. We’re living examples of how this kind of active advocacy works in turning hearts and minds to the cause, and it’s a story we’re proud to be part of.
Editor at Large