Mark Baumer

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Mark Baumer
BornDecember 19, 1983 (1983-12-19)
DiedJanuary 21, 2017 (2017-01-22) (aged 33)
EducationWheaton College (BA)
Brown University (MFA)
OccupationWriter, environmentalist
Known forAttempting to walk barefoot across America

Mark Baumer (December 19, 1983 – January 21, 2017) was an American writer, adventurer, and environmental activist.

In 2010, he walked across the United States in 81 days.[1] In 2016, he attempted to walk barefoot across America, in order to raise awareness about climate change. He was struck and killed by an S.U.V. on the walk, while in Florida.[2]

Life and work[edit]

Baumer was born in Hammond, Indiana, the only child of Jim and Mary Baumer.[3] The family relocated to Durham, Maine, where Mark attended Greely High School[4] and was the hockey team's captain.

At Wheaton College[5] in Massachusetts, Baumer was on the baseball team and competed in the Division III College World Series. He also began to write fiction and poetry and to create experimental videos.

From 2009 to 2011, he attended the Brown University M.F.A. program in Literary Arts.[6] He gained fame on campus for instructing a writing class on the “art of subtle weirdness”.[7]

From 2012 to 2017, Mark was an employee of the Brown University Library.[8] During this time, he self-published several books. In 2012, he wrote 50 books[9] in one year and published them all on Amazon.com. In 2015, he won the Quarterly West novella contest for his book Holiday Meat.[10]

In 2016, Mark joined FANG, an activist collective based in Rhode Island. That April, Baumer chained himself to Textron’s world headquarters to protest the manufacture of cluster bombs.[11] He was subsequently arrested.[12] In September, Mark and FANG protested the construction of a fossil fuel power plant in Burrillville, Rhode Island.[13]

2010 walk[edit]

During the summer of 2010, Baumer walked across the United States in 81 days.[14] The trip started in Tybee Island, Georgia and ended in Santa Monica, California. He chronicled the trip in his self-published book I am a Road.[15] Baumer went through several pairs of shoes on the trip, and wrote about the excruciating pain he experienced.[16]

2016-2017 walk[edit]

Inspired by Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run about the health benefits of barefoot running, Baumer started to adapt a barefoot lifestyle.[17] After months of training, he vowed to walk barefoot across the United States. He left for his journey on October 13, 2016 from his home in Providence, Rhode Island.[18]

On the walk, Baumer strove to raise $10,000 for FANG,[19] an activist collective based in Rhode Island. He also sought to protest climate change.

Each day of the walk, Baumer posted a video to YouTube documenting his trip.[20] He also posted poems, diary entries, and photographs on various social media sites,[21] leading The New Yorker to call him “a compulsive social-media diarist”.[22]

Death[edit]

On January 21, 2017, Baumer was struck and killed by an S.U.V. while walking barefoot in Walton County, Florida. The crash occurred at about 1:15pm. “He was wearing a high-visibility vest at the time, and walking against the traffic, in accordance with safety conventions,” according to The New Yorker.[23] Mark died on day 101 of his barefoot walk.

Personal life[edit]

Baumer was a vegan,[24] and did not use alcohol or drugs. He did not own a car and would walk, run, and bike as his primary means of transportation. In Providence, Rhode Island, he owned a house that he shared with roommates. He identified as a minimalist and slept on a portable Shiatsu pad.[25] Baumer was also an avid yogi and meditator.

In 2016, he started dating the poet and Brown University professor Ada Smailbegovic.[26] They were together until his death in 2017.

Media attention[edit]

From 2016 to 2017, Mark was interviewed by Vice[27] and several local newspapers[28] during his barefoot walk.

In 2017, the news of Baumer's death went viral and appeared in The New York Times,[29] CNN,[30] The Los Angeles Times,[31] and numerous publications worldwide.

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story (2019),[32] directed by Julie Sokolow, is a documentary about Baumer's barefoot walk. The film features Baumer's own footage, as well as interviews with his family and friends. The Hollywood Reporter called the film “an affectionate and inspiring portrait”.[33]

Legacy[edit]

After Baumer's death, his family created The Mark Baumer Sustainability Fund.[34] The non-profit supports environmental and social justice projects in Maine, Rhode Island, and around the country.

Brown University established The Mark Baumer Prize for Language Art. Every year, a prize is awarded to a graduate and undergraduate student.

Works[edit]

Meow (2019)[35]

Mark Baumer's Website (2017)[36]

Mark Baumer's YouTube Channel (2017)[37]

I am a Road (2016)[38]

Roommate Missed Connections with W. Keller (2016)[39]

You Are Very Beautiful When You Watch Me Sleep (2016)[40]

Holiday Meat (2016)[41]

Fifty Books (2012)[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Writer Walking Barefoot Across U.S. Fatally Struck By SUV". NPR.org. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "Environmental activist killed by SUV while marching barefoot across U.S." NBC News. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "Mark James Baumer Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  4. ^ "Greely High graduate killed while walking cross-country for environmental cause". Press Herald. January 23, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Wheaton graduate walking across country is fatally struck by SUV - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  6. ^ "Write Every Day". www.brownalumnimagazine.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Fiction teacher Baumer GS draws inspiration from 'weirdness'". Brown Daily Herald. April 21, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  8. ^ "Mark Baumer's LinkedIn Page". linkedin.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "Fifty Books". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "Holiday Meat". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  11. ^ "Rest in Power, Mark Baumer". rifuture.org. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  12. ^ "Anti-cluster bomb activists arrested for chaining themselves to Textron building". rifuture.org. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  13. ^ "Burrillville residents meet with Raimondo to discuss proposed power plant". turnto10.com. July 18, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  14. ^ "Mark Baumer Dies 100 Days into his Barefoot Walk Across the U.S." Men's Journal. January 26, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  15. ^ "I am a Road". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  16. ^ "Mark Baumer Walks Across USA, Blogs it, Gives Urlesque Epic Interview". medium.com. June 12, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  17. ^ "Plant Liker Episode 22 (w/ Mark Baumer)". steveroggenbuck.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  18. ^ "I began running barefoot across America". youtube.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  19. ^ "Activist Mark Baumer struck and killed by SUV in Florida while walking barefoot across the country". nydailynews.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  20. ^ "Mark Baumer's YouTube Channel". youtube.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  21. ^ "Mark Baumer's website". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Tragic Death of Mark Baumer, a Prolific Poet and Environmental Activist for the Social-Media Age". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  23. ^ "The Tragic Death of Mark Baumer, a Prolific Poet and Environmental Activist for the Social-Media Age". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  24. ^ "Write Every Day". www.brownalumnimagazine.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  25. ^ "I don't sleep on a bed". youtube.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  26. ^ "'Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story': Film Review | Cinequest 2020". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  27. ^ "This Guy Is Walking Across America Barefoot to Protest Climate Change". Vice. December 2, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  28. ^ "Man walks barefoot through Tallahassee on cross-country trip". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  29. ^ Hauser, Christine (January 24, 2017). "Climate Change Activist's Barefoot Walk Across America Ends in Tragedy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  30. ^ Criss, Doug. "Climate change activist making cross-country trip is killed". CNN. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  31. ^ "Poet Mark Baumer killed while walking cross-country in solo protest". Los Angeles Times. January 23, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  32. ^ "Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story". Barefoot Documentary Website. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  33. ^ "'Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story': Film Review | Cinequest 2020". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  34. ^ "Mark Baumer Sustainability Fund". Mark Baumer Sustainability Fund. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  35. ^ "Meow". Burnside Review. January 23, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  36. ^ "Mark Baumer's Website". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  37. ^ "Mark Baumer's YouTube Channel". www.youtube.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  38. ^ "I am a Road". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  39. ^ "Roommate Missed Connections". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  40. ^ "You Are Very Beautiful When You Watch Me Sleep". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  41. ^ "Holiday Meat". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  42. ^ "Fifty Books". thebaumer.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.