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To open up channels of communication and exchange across the American continent among local initiatives acting in order bring about positive changes in their environment, Johanne Pelletier and Francis Murchison as well as a great team of volunteers have created this website in order to publish articles and texts after meeting with these grassroots organisations. In order to be accessible to populations across the continent the site has been created in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

In light of the approaching signing of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, we hope to support home grown initiatives, as well as favouring points of view that are alternative to the dominant development paradigms. Johanne and Francis plan to traverse the continent by bike over the next year and a half along the Pan-American road, meeting with local initiatives as they go.

On the road of the Americas
Faced with a democratic deficit under the imposing weight of the coming Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and in response to the critical situation arising from a concentration of the media, through this project we add our grain of salt by shedding some light on local alternatives to current patterns of development. We wish to show that a reality exists in the Americas other than the one represented by the often biased and sensationalist mass media. The media ignores some key issues that concern a large part of the American population. This is why we wish to describe for you the actual lives of the people of the continent who act in order bring about positive changes in their environment. These are people who wish to live according to different values than those currently prevailing.

Many support networks have been built among women's groups, labour organisations, native groups, and other organisations that are socially and environmentally active in the countries across the continent. These are the groups that we are meeting. These are organisations that develop original ways of changing a system that exploits them or the natural resources on which they depend. The proposed FTAA can be seen as a negative backdrop upon which we will project a picture of the life and the hope that drive these people in their daily struggles.
The website aims to make articles about grassroots organisations available in the four languages that are spoken most on the continent. Groups that have been contacted in advance welcome us into their world and will share their experiences with us through our interviews. Meetings with these organisations will occur as we move from place to place by bicycle through the many towns and cities of the continent. We also encourage the groups to post their own articles, stories, poems and songs on the site, all translated when necessary.
This website is the primary tool through which we will provide you with information concerning the organisations we have met. In addition to articles and editorials, we will provide the contact information of the organisations. This will allow groups to read about each other and to make contact in order to co-ordinate action and to share ideas. We hope that our initiative will stimulate interaction between these groups as well as inspire the general population to find out about, join and fund all these interesting initiatives, and perhaps provide courage to start initiatives where none yet exist. One of our central objectives is to break the silence by providing a channel through which these groups can express themselves and let us all know about how they live and the actions that they undertake.

A little more about ourselves…

Francis Murchison has recently finished his second year as a linguistics student at Concordia University. He has worked as a volunteer for more than four years among community oriented organisations in Switzerland, Spain, and now in Montreal.

Johanne Pelletier has just graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQÀM). With three other students, she shot a documentary video on the impact of shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam. Johanne has been active over the last two years working for social change in Quebec Public Interest Research Group at her university (QPIRG-UQÀM) and for environmental change with Group of Action for the Protection of the Environment (GAPE).

Both of us believe it is very important to be involved in our community as well as to contribute to the dissemination of information about important social and environmental issues. We are very enthusiastic about meeting with what promise to be fascinating people of initiative who have taken responsibility within their communities.

We share a common passion for the bicycle, an excellent and ecological mode of transportation that immerses us in the life of places we pass through. Our bicycles allow us to discover the world at a more leisurely pace, while leaving us free to explore unknown roads and places. These are the characteristics that motivate us to undertake the amazing adventure of riding the Pan-American road from one end to the other. We have been dreaming for a long time about this voyage and the athletic challenge it entails.

The best of teams helping us

We have a great group of people working behind the scenes and this project couldn't take place without their help. We would like to acknowledge their support and heartily thank each one of them for being there so selflessly. The following are the volunteers that participate actively in the unfolding of our PASCI

Mathieu Massicotte

Translation of Articles into Spanish
Anali Camargo Quintos
Jean-Philippe Lambert
Elena Murchison

Laurel Currie

Translation of Articles into Portuguese
Danielle Celentano;

Correction of articles in French
Fanie Mousseau;

Editing of English Articles
Anne Greer

We would also like to thank all those who have helped us along the way in a more short term manner, and those who shared their savoir-fair with us in order to get this project rolling. Thanks as well to the excellent few who work to keep this Website active.