Roz Speaking Out (Hawaii 2008)

Philosophy Friday…..

There has been some talk recently about individuals doing the right thing for the Earth is good, but it’s not enough. Little actions are important, but given the scale of the challenges that we now face, we all need to step up our efforts to a higher level. I tend to think of it as a “ladder of influence”. The bigger the action, the further the ripples of change will spread.

At the entry level we have the basic actions that anybody who has even a glimmer of environmental awareness will do – recycling, turning off lights, not leaving the tap running while you are brushing your teeth, etc.

Above that we have the second level; environmental actions that take place in public – using a re-usable grocery bag or water bottle or coffee cup, installing solar panels, choosing a super-compact or hybrid car.

On the third level, the individual is becoming more overt about their concern for the environment – not only are they doing the right things, but they are suggesting that their friends, family and colleagues do likewise. Within their own sphere of influence, they are starting to become a leader.

At the fourth level, they are starting to go outside of their existing sphere of influence, writing to customer service departments and their elected officials, demanding change at policy level – maybe asking stores to stop supplying plastic bags, or asking the mayor to impose a city-wide ban. They are connecting into communities of other concerned citizens, and galvanizing support around specific local issues, such as organizing beach clean-ups or protesting against a coal-fired power plant.

And at the fifth level, the individual has become a leader. They are out to make a big difference in the world. Environmentalism is no longer something that they DO, it is something that they ARE. It suffuses every aspect of their daily lives. It is their number one priority.

What does this mean in real terms? If you do nothing else, then please think about doing these:

1. Buy organic; don’t buy food that has been sprayed with poison, aka herbicide and pesticide. It’s just not a good idea. Buy local, from farmers who embrace sustainable practices. Or grow your own – if I can grow my own beansprouts on board a rowboat, then anybody with a windowsill has no excuse. Beansprouts are cheap, tasty, and pack a powerful nutritional punch.

2. Walk more, drive less – it’s good for your body and good for the planet. And good for your wallet too.

3. Never again use a “disposable” plastic object. Take your own reusable grocery bag, water bottle, and coffee cup.

4. Get active: find a local issue that means something to you – something good to support (like a communal organic garden, or a ban-the-bag campaign) or something bad to oppose (like the destruction of a woodland) – and use it as a focus to create an interest group. It doesn’t have to be a lonely experience trying to save the world – reach out to your community, and support each other.

5. Get political: find a bigger issue that concerns you, and write to your elected representative, or the head of the relevant company. Write to the local newspaper, or even a national one. Make your views known. Stand up and be counted – and urge your friends and family to do the same. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead).

6. Make time to get connected with nature. Make time to get connected to yourself. Make time to get connected to others. It’s all about connection.

7. Finally, and most importantly, spread the word. Everybody reading this blog has a part to play. You are all spreading ripples in your communities. Everything you think, say and do, declares to the world what your values are, and casts a vote for the kind of future that you want. Use your votes wisely. Your world, your children, and even your future self, will thank you for it.

Forget public relations and public service announcements – word of mouth is still the most powerful tool we have at our disposal. What you say to your neighbour will have a greater impact on him or her than anything they see in the media or online. Your words have an immediacy and a reality and a natural authority that no other form of communication can match. So how will you use your influence? What will you do to spread the good green word, to raise consciousness, inspire action, and make this world a better place?

Other Stuff:

When I was preparing to record my blog with Vic today, I looked back through my logbook for the last week to see what had happened since we last spoke. I noticed, with a rueful smile, that in the last 7 days I have progressed a grand total of 18 miles. I have, of course, rowed further than that, but it has mostly been the same 10 miles being rowed repeatedly. I suspect a garden snail could go faster. Well, it could if it could swim. Today I made a little more progress, but at the time of writing I am yet again being blown backwards and sideways. I can only hope that the deadlock breaks soon – and meanwhile, eat-pray-row….

Danny, Bronwyn and Tabby – glad you are all enjoying the blog. I loved your story about Tabby seeing you off to work. That cat has more personality in the tip of his tail than ten ordinary cats put together. I do miss his antics!

David Tangye – thanks for the smiles!

Mariya – LOVED the piratey jokes. I laughed out loud. Especially enjoyed “They think, therefore they ARRRR!!!!!” Teehee! Woody is sitting here with me now. It he wasn’t 1/80th my size, I’d go on a date with him too. He may only have one leg and one eye, but he’s still the best-looking man hereabouts. And a great personality! 🙂 Thanks to you and your mom (the Gold-en Girls?!) for the laughs!

Quote for today, in hopes of imminent happiness on board the good ship Sedna: Happiness is relief after extreme tension. (F Scott Fitzgerald)

Sponsored Miles:
Richard Hyman, James Borleis, Curtis Zingg, Laura Prouty and Christopher Ellis – thank you, forward progress at last.


    • I think you mean synthetic resin reinforced with carbon fibre (which, of course, sequesters carbon). It’s the only material suitable for what Roz does. Fortunately she was able to buy the basic hull relatively cheaply because the original owner had decided not to use it. Wood is not capable of withstanding the stresses imposed on Sedna over the years and it would be far too heavy in any case. Hope this helps

  • Sound advice share in an honest and upfront manner. Thank you Roz for everything you do. You continue to insipre me and so many others to make the world a better place.

  • Yes,I too, was just yesterday reading the overwhelming statistics of the world popultations and their current destructive relationship with our one and only planet. It’s time we individually turn over a new leaf. So that’s it… as of this morning… I quit reading!

    Row Roz Row!

    We continue to pound out vibes your way!:)

  • Great plan for action. I only wish I could think of a way to measure, or at least reinforce a feeling, of success.

    Row on Roz

  • @ae411c3fb0cd80d9aa8f5d26278c00a1:disqus
    Carbon is only old wood. Very, very, very old wood; but old wood nonetheless. 

  • Excellent manifesto for individual action there Roz — truly in the spirit of your cause and of the message that you have exemplified through your actions. One of the core problems of the environmental crisis is the delusion of individual powerlessness — it’s just not real. As you have repeatedly emphasized, the environmental situation we are in has been created by billions of tiny individual actions, and it is similarly through each of us making lots of tiny actions to halt and divert the current of destruction into something positive that we may find a way of surviving the situation that we have created.

  •  And I repeat….what she said (wrote).  Cheers everyone!  All the best, Roz.    Stephen

    • For Indian Ocean weather try
      This is the home page of the Bureau of Meteorology in Aust.
      Select WA & then “Interactive weather & wave forecast maps”.
      From there you can change the time zone to WA if you wish to see Roz’s time.
      Hi there Roz. I’m cheering you on from Cairns. Wish I could send you some of our prevailing south easterly winds, which are rather boistrous at times.
      All the best, Rae

  • Roz, the following was posted on Facebook yesterday by Nina Salomon … but it is not there now :((  The rhythm and guitar artistry are incredible … too bad you cannot hear it.  Perhaps your “long suffering” mum could hum it to you on your next call :)) … Rita?!

    “Roz, you are an amazing woman and a huge inspiration! I’ve been an avid Plastic Picker on my beach walks my entire lilfe. Wanted to share one of my fav songs, one of the best of the best acoustic guitar solos thus far! ‘Ocean’ by John Butler Trio

    “John Butler Trio – Ocean (Live at Federation Square)

    “Track 9 from the Live at Federation Square DVD Live at Federation Square on 5th April 2007 Melbourne locals witnessed John Butler Trio Live At The  The Wireless in Federation Square.

    Whistle while you row, Roz!

    BTW, there are 2,025,251 views of this video. Be the first on your block!

  • Hi Roz,

    Thanks for the philosophy friday blogs.  Hope the cloud therapy is helping your further in the rowing. It’s cool how you emphasize the levels of environmentalism for individuals.  Very distinct and concise.  Word of the mouth is very important as well.  Cheers!  Also Reduce Reuse Recycle. The mantra of the brain. If the brain does use a mantra! LOL!

    Jhessye 🙂

  • Hi Roz!  Hope you’re making some head way with the currents out there!  On your FB page you asked, “How will you use your influence? What will you do to spread the good green word, to raise consciousness, inspire action, and make this world a better place?”  I am creating children’s adventure books, “Adventures with Nina & Steve” With Me series is a collection of children stories set in our local parks and beaches.  They’re inner twined with exciting adventures set in natural habitats. Warm internal feelings of helping sea creatures and land animals by being aware of the impact of human carelessness and what can be done to help clean oceans and waterways. Nina will not pick flowers and Steve does not collect live creatures, instead they take pictures and put them in their ‘Adventures With Me’ photo album.

     I solely desire my love for nature and the aquatic creatures that live among us, be passed to our children’s children, and their children’s children.  Topics range from letting live shells live to awareness on ghost nets, neglected fishing lines and hooks, and always touching base on picking up marine debris on beach walks and other exploration adventrures.

    Roz, during your time of rest, check out some of my photo albums, filled with great pics and beachy topics.  Some of the albums represent some of my book titles; Walk with Me by the Sea; Explore the Island with Me; and one of my most fav Dirty Beach / Clean Beach.

    I did have complications with posting the John Butler Trio “OCEAN” video.. posted on FB opt to share a different version other than the one UncaDoug reposted here. (thanks UncaDoug for reposting!)

  • Excellent list Roz!   That mirrors what I try to do in my life, from living simply to volunteering with different environmental projects, tree planting at Hakalau Forest NWR on Mauna Kea, sustainable forestry in Nicaragua, helping to lead volunteer groups doing trail work, fence removal, and assisting in researchers with their projects.

    It is all good and important . . . but we need everyone doing it not just a handful of us.

  • Yes, Roz, history indicates that that should work. However, you will have to continue as the figurehead (which is not the same as leader) to provide coordination, keep the movement on track and prevent it being hijacked. You have an international following; just continue to build it and keep it as a social movement without getting involved with political partisanship.

    Meanwhile; do keep cheerful! Your present situation must be boring, seeing the same bit of water again and again for days on end, but you’re not in a race, and the longer your journey takes the greater the achievement when you arrive – wherever that is.

    Thank you for doing what you do and for being who you are.

  • The winds are slowing down Sarah Outen’s progress cycling across China.  See her video at:   Riding in a virtual 200km long ‘windtunnel’…progress after nine hours 30km and 60km after 15 hours…in the road grit and sand. Tenacity, persistence, true spirit, light humour keep both of you moving…and sometimes with ‘forward progress.’

  • Good coaching, Roz.

    I think in truth we are each going to have a certain amount of environmental sins on our hands, but stepping through your hierarchy seems like good guidance, a good path.  

    Hey, I’m green: I recycle!  Right?

    Going against the grain is hard, so when we can institute environmental friendly change in society, it can free us up to endeavor on the next level of greenerity.

    A big audacious idea/challenge that has been stuck in my mind:

    A world without product packaging.  “No packaging”

    How to do that?  Boggles my mind.  But packaging constitutes a huge amount of waste that has no purpose (in the end)

    What a challenge that would be in a consumer/marketing society, but it sure could make a marked difference.

    Fair winds (and currents!), Roz.  May dolphins nudge you gently toward your destination, in the night whilst you sleep.

  • Hey Roz, That stretch of ocean has become too familiar eh.  Hope that the next few miles see you through to the  easterlies described earlier in another’s post.  Thanks for the suggestions on actions each of us can do.  Making it tangible is as important as being out there on the water.  Hope you find some small pleasures in the company of the sea creatures around you.  Watching quietly, Norm of the prairies 

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