Now that we have such notable events as Chocolate Appreciation Day and Secretary Appreciation Day, it seems a bit measly to only give one day of appreciation to the entire planet without which we wouldn’t be here.
Chocolate and secretaries are, of course, very important and much deserving of appreciation, but in the overall scheme of things don’t really fall into the same category as this amazing lump of rock whizzing through space which has produced, among countless other extraordinary things, humans.
Yet far from thanking our lucky stars on a daily basis for this planet of ours, we seem hell-bent on trying to destroy it. Mostly in the last 200 years, and especially in the last 50, we have drilled it, mined it, polluted the water and the land and the air, felled its forests, and done our best to eradicate entire swaths of its inhabitants.
In short, we have treated it with a marked lack of respect, somehow overlooking the fact that we have to live on it, and on a finite planet, what goes around comes around.
I’m not especially worried for the Earth. When you look back over its entire existence, we have been here for a mere blink of an eye. The planet is going to be fine in the long run. It doesn’t need us, but we desperately need it, and we need it not to change too much. We’ve evolved to live on a fairly pristine kind of Earth, within a fairly narrow temperature range. Too much pollution or too much heat, and we’re going to be in trouble.
For all our many flaws, we’re actually quite special, and I’d like to see us be around for a while yet. For a supposedly intelligent species, wouldn’t it just be terribly embarrassing to be responsible for our own demise?
So on this Earth Day, I’d like to ask you to extend the day for the entire duration of my voyage. I (and more importantly, the Earth and its future inhabitants) would be really grateful if you would show your appreciation for our home planet by doing these things until I make landfall:
1. Carry your re-usable grocery bag, water bottle, and coffee cup with you and USE THEM. Even better if you can get hold of a stainless steel re-usable drinking straw and take your own silverware too, so you never need to use the plastic “single-use” versions.
2. Pick up at least one piece of trash every day from somewhere that it shouldn’t be (in a park, walkway, on a beach, wherever) and dispose of it properly in a bin or recycling bin.
3. Take just one minute each day to notice something special in the natural world – a tree, a cloud, a flower, a sunrise or sunset, a new constellation, a stream or river, a bird (or a chick, Joan) – and say a little thank you for it.
And remember that in a world where everything is connected, when you ask not what your planet can do for you, but what you can do for your planet – ultimately it all boils down to the same thing. What is good for the Earth is good for us.
Looks like I spoke too soon when I rejoiced having passed out of the Leeuwin Current. Looks like I’m now heading back into it. All morning I was struggling against a NE current, and this afternoon the addition of a breeze from the NW was enough to thwart any chance of westerly progress. The irony is not lost on me that the harsh winds and waves of the last few days were actually an enormous help, while this gentle, soft little breeze and an invisible current are rapidly undoing all my progress. Appearances can be deceptive.
Mum tells me the sponsored miles are selling like hot cakes. Thank you to everybody who has bought a mile of my Indian Ocean voyage. If only I was able to row them as fast as all you lovely people are sponsoring them! I sincerely hope not to have to row ALL of them twice over…
Michelle: thanks for the Maori quote: He nui maunga e kore e taea te whakaneke, he nui ngaru moana ma te ihu o te waka e wahi – A great mountain cannot be moved, but a giant wave can be broken by the prow of a canoe. Their way of saying “don’t give up too easily – some things are possible”. Indeed. Many things are indeed possible. Sometimes they just take longer than planned, and there are a few detours along the way.
UncaDoug and Joan – you asked about my sartorial needs for 2012. I have been thinking about them but no decision as yet. Awkward though it is to row in full foul weather gear, I think it may be necessary to try. Or maybe neoprene would be better. I will probably consult my friends at DaKine and Fourth Element and see what they come up with.
Doctorely – no, I don’t feather my oars. Of course I did when I rowed crew, but on the ocean I prefer to save the wear and tear on my wrists.
Drifterfour – hi to you and your daughters!
Joan – thanks so much for the list of Follett books. Very much appreciated. Will start Folletting once I’ve moved on from Outlanding.
Romy and Margot – thank you both for getting back to me on the salt. I eventually found it in the Sea To Summit drybag with the canned butter, which I’d put in the middle locker under the rowing seat. I also discovered a rather mushed avocado swilling around in the bilge water… yuck!
Thanks, Col, for the video you took of my departure. I hear it’s brilliant! So sorry I can’t see it from here. A strong urge to ask you to airdrop a USB drive of it! Anyway, really glad that everybody else can get to see it. I’ll only have to wait another four months or so…
Sorry to hear that Rob Eustace has turned back on his attempt to row the Indian Ocean. Rob is a great guy. He joined our Saturday work party in Fremantle to get my boat ready, and was an enormous help. I know he was really well-prepared for his expedition, so am sure this must have been a tough decision to make. Who knows, if the winds don’t change soon, I might yet end up seeing him in Geraldton!
Chris Walroth, Megan Lutz, Larry Grandt ( for Rica) Roz has been blown back some miles towards Australia – again.