Today I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the audiobook of Bryce Courtenay’s “The Power Of One” (as first mentioned yesterday). I think he’s leading up to the power of one person to make a difference – we haven’t got to that bit yet, but meanwhile I’m relishing the journey, and it has sparked off my own line of thinking on the power of one.

I’m a real believer in tipping points. Given the right circumstances, even the tiniest of actions can tip the balance and make a huge difference to the course of history. A black woman taking a seat on a bus. A dimpled chad on a voting form. A speech. A single remark that changes the chemistry of a delicate negotiation.

Very few of us will ever get the chance to take that momentous action that changes the world. But we all get the chance to contribute to the circumstances in which that action occurs.

If you picture it like a balance scale, with millions of marbles being loaded onto the pans. Maybe for decades, or centuries, marbles have been piling up on one side. Given my eco-leanings, let’s illustrate this example by calling this side “unlimited growth” – growth of profits, population, consumption, etc.

But more recently marbles have started to gather on the other side. More and more of them. Let’s call this side “sustainability”. Every time we say no to a plastic bag, or walk instead of drive, or decide we really don’t need yet another gizmo, we are adding another marble to the side of sustainability.

We probably won’t add the marble that tips the balance. We might not even be alive when that happens. But that doesn’t mean that our marble doesn’t count. In fact, every marble counts. The tipping point can’t be reached without each and every marble on that scale pan.

And that’s why we all keep plugging away, doing what we can. One oarstroke at a time.

Blood, sweat and calluses. One oarstroke at a time.

Other Stuff:

Today was less like a chocolate, more like a sandwich. A sunshiney sandwich with rainy bits on the outside. Started off rainy and grey, got lovely in the middle, then ended with a good old downpour. Even during the sunny part I could see lots of clouds with legs around me. I try to dodge the legs, but can’t really row fast enough. With these giant leggy clouds tramping across the ocean around me, I feel like a mouse at a barn dance, trying to avoid being trodden on!

Another deceased needlefish on the deck this morning. Poor thing had ended up in the “bathroom” (underneath the bedpan). What an undignified place to meet his end. There again, isn’t that where Elvis died too?

Thanks for the brilliant suggestions on pirate names, on Facebook as well as on the comments. “Salty Rozen Dog, Bare Butt of the High Seas” made me laugh (thanks, Walt Wilson), but I think I’m going to have to go with Bryan Fuller’s suggestion of “The Purple Pirate”. Simply perfect!

Thanks also for the suggestions on seasickness. I do actually have some ginger tea, which I’m sure would have worked a treat, except that it was so rough I didn’t really want to be doing a juggling act with cooking stoves and boiling water in the dark. Isn’t that just always the way; that the time when you need a cup of tea or good hot meal is precisely the time when it’s most difficult to make one!

The quease has now eased, thank you. I don’t suffer anywhere near as much as poor old James of “Crossing The Ditch” fame (kayaking across the Tasman). I think he was still suffering on Day 40!

Sponsored Miles:

Thanks for today miles go to: Sharon Levin, Robert Mainville, Calvin Burnes, Nancy Bowman, Leslie Layton, Anke Altermann, Christopher Senn, Larry Grandt, Bradley Kehoe, Nancy Reidy-Crofts.


  • I have just cleared the last of the rubbish created in building our home. The contractors dump the stuff and I sort it into recycleables: wood, metals, paper, and cardboard, and take it to the local depot. The remainder – trash – is mostly broken concrete and tile – and styrofoam.

    Styrofoam was used in packaging of all the plumbing fittings, most of the light fittings, the ‘fridge/freezer, the door handles and locks, the window frames, the water heater. It amounted to nearly three cubic yards – and none of it can be recycled.

    Styrofoam is the most insidious stuff because it so easily crumbles into flakes that are impossible to catch and it never deteriorates.

    •  Good, John! If only contractors and subs would do that on their own … maybe developers of tracts take the time?  Styrofoam never goes away, but the good news is that it is gradually being replaced by organic alternatives …

    •  Good, John! If only contractors and subs would do that on their own … maybe developers of tracts take the time?  Styrofoam never goes away, but the good news is that it is gradually being replaced by organic alternatives …

  • Hi, Roz-
    Regarding the subject of fear, I came across this quote and thought of the posts a couple of days ago:

    I steer my barque with hope in the head and leaving fear astern.
                                        – Thomas Jefferson



  •  Roz,

    I certainly agree when you say “Very few of us will ever get the chance to take that momentous action that changes the world. But we all get the chance to contribute to the circumstances in which that action occurs”

    If we try and force someone to change their views, say of plastic, they will not. But, each of us can plant seeds of ideas wherever appropriate. When we are not looking, some of those ideas will make a difference. 

    • Rick, you never know who will see or hear when you do simple things … for example, when the grocery clerk asks “paper or plastic?” I always respond “neither” and hand them my canvas bag. One never knows where little acts or phrases will go …

  • During the night, the muscles in my fingers would stiffen up, contracting my hands into claws. From my conversations with previous ocean rowers I had expected these things, but there was a further affliction that I had not expected; my fingernails had started to part company with my fingers, the white tips of my nails extending day by day, getting closer to the quick. I wondered if my fingernails would fall off completely.

    When I mentioned it in a dispatch, an ocean rower friend had texted me to say : “Ah yes, the memories are coming back to me now. Fingernails bleeding from the pressure.” ~Roz Savage, Rowing the Atlantic

    Row Roz Row!

  • Hey Roz & Rozlings, I’m Back – Surgery went fine, I was knocked offline by another computer virus… Too many people just have way too much time on their hands… AND, No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get people to stop FWD emails that have been forwarded to them umpteen times…

    I can hardly wait to resolve this Texas/Coma Chapter of my life (and film) and get back to the New England shores, and become and Internet Hermit… Once I move, bye-bye Internet… Those who want to keep in touch will have to do it by phone… Like Bill Gates (In this way only), “I HATE THE INTERNET!” It does not work well in my business, and I truly dislike it for personal communication – worse than “Voice-Mail” by a LONG SHOT…

    Anyway Roz, It was great to read of your progress while I was gone… I guess I should stay off-line more regularly…

    • I’m glad the surgery went well, Richard. Don’t throw the cyber baby out with the virus infested bath water old boy; we’d miss you!  

    • **smiling**

      Does it mean that on the days we don’t hear from you, you’re saving even MORE bandwidth, but still sending out the same message?  In a world of noise, I actually admire your approach.  A man of few words, and now letters.

    • Rico! Right on!

      “R” is beautiful, succinct, unmistakable, indescribable …
      a) Row
      b) Roz
      c) Arrrrr
      d) All of the above … all together now: Row Roz Arrrr!

      Love it, Texino!

  • Roz, I know a guy who realized he knew something others did not know and decided to start talking about it publicly … a few people understood the stakes of what Jim was concerned about, but the vast majority of people were too comfortable enjoying “the good life” to be interested in the devastation that Jim foresaw. But Jim did not give up. For 23 years now, Jim has been gathering more evidence and improving the scientific analysis year after year.

    I know another guy [just one of countless men and women] who heard what Jim has had to say, and he decided to write about what Jim is saying nearly 22 years later to the month. The last paragraph of Peter’s OpEd could be what finally will lead to a tipping point.  He wrote:

    “Whatever your position, be sure to state it clearly — through your words and your actions– to your children and your grandchildren. Future generations will want to know what you did about global warming at a time when the world understood the severity of the problem and had a chance to do something about it.”

    I have no idea who else might have been impacted by that simple paragraph, but I decided to post it on my Facebook page, and it started a conversation among several of my friends.

    That conversation has developed into an intention to reach out through a traditional media campaign (Rozlings can see the image posted below) to soccer moms and dads across the nation, people who are not on Facebook or Twitter, who don’t read blogs, who have no idea who Roz Savage is, who are too busy going through life raising a family and making ends meet to be concerned with politics, whether or not to buy plastic, to reduce, reuse, recycle or to “refuse paper or plastic” and to live sustainably.

    Because Jim Hansen and people like Peter Adamski and you take individual action, we are forming a global community and we are nearing a collective tipping point … just a few million more marbles and the scales will tip …

    Imagine, the power of one.  If we add one new person to our community for each stroke of your oars, we are home free!

    Slow and steady, let’s keep plugging away.

    Row steadily, Roz!

  • There’s ginger in the Ginger Snap Larabars.  They probably weren’t intended for queasiness, but who knows.  And since whatever you “think” can come true, they might work if you believe in them. 

  • Hi Roz,

    I’m glad to hear the current book is better. If you’re still feeling nausea, there’s a pair of acupressure points two fingers below the palm on both sides of the wrist on each hand. Pressure both with thumb and index finger (either wrist is OK). Of course it’s not much of an option while rowing. But its got me through some bad C130 rides and many hangovers. Also, have you considered making hot tea in advance and putting it in one of your thermoses? You may get it piping hot but it’s better than doing without or fumbling in the dark.


  • Captain Savage Rowed The Oceans
    Her route was made up of various motions
    She carried everything she needed
    Including bean sprouts she seeded
    While her Spotty Botty screamed for more lotions.

  • I believe in the power of one. Roz-you are showing all of us what one person can do! Your actions have shown me that I can do more.

    I also believe that when we take action, even something as smalll as refusing a plastic bag while out shopping, we are planting a seed that encourages others to do the same.  

  • Roz, yesterday a friend posted pix of some very colorful and exquisitely composed Majblommer (translated May flowers) bulb blossoms on her facebook page. Apropos of nothing (as my dad would often segue) and knowing you are unable to enjoy natural colors other than the hues created by the sun and moon on wave and cloud, the following colorful (or offcolor, as the case might be) rhyme came to mind, so to speak …

    There is a young lass of prowess
    Who ne’er would consider distress
    She’s holding her own
    Poseidon she’s blown
    Away! With four winds she’d get rest!

    Enjoy the row, Roz!

  • I’ve just watched the video of your Atlantic crossing…OMG!!! Roz, you are one gutsy lady. I was already full of admiration for you and respect humbly what you want to achieve but now I’m overflowing. You will succeed this venture and arrive at your destination proud….relieved but very proud.

  • Thank you for this perspective. I’ve been trying to find a reason to not simply give up on the stupidity I am confronted w/ every day, on every level – I live in the US & am a “political-junkie”. As T. Jefferson said (paraphrased); “…silence is tacit approval.” …so now I can continue to write on my site & “bark at the moon.” Thank you again. I cannot tell you how you have clarified my position. You were the “marble” I needed.

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