Thanks for all the positive comments about my pictorial retrospective on 2009. Now that I’ve looked at the past – I’m now looking to the future. If you want to find out if I’m coming to a city near you in the next few months, read on.

Changing the world, one plastic bag at a time. Holland & Barrett healthfood store in London bans the bag
Changing the world, one plastic bag at a time. Holland & Barrett healthfood store in London bans the bag

My overriding goal for this year is to figure out how I can be of most use. No unkind comments about removing myself from the gene pool, thank you very much! I hope there are actions of a more positive kind that I can take. In Copenhagen, I had hoped to spread some inspiration, and maybe even show some moral leadership on the virtues of leading a less materialistic, more experiential, life.

Yick, yick, yick – you’re probably making gagging noises at this point. Maybe this all sounds very holier-than-thou, in which case please excuse me. But really, what else do I have to offer? I’m not a scientist, politician, or experienced activist. So as far as I could see, my most convincing contribution was to BE the change I wanted to see in the world, by showing that the pursuit of excessive amounts of “stuff” – with all the collateral damage to the environment – is not necessary to have a happy, fulfilling life.

Do I feel like I made a difference in Copenhagen? Yes, I do, but to a very limited extent.

Do I feel my strategy was on the right lines? For a while I doubted this, and wondered if I should get more involved in political activism. But I don’t have the appetite or the inclination for it. I think I was on the right lines, and should stick with the same strategy, but crank up the energy, the urgency, and the outreach by several notches, and build on the new relationships and alliances I forged in Copenhagen to take the strategy to a new level.

So how does this overall strategy look in terms of what I do and where I go? Well, unfortunately it looks like a certain amount of air travel is going to be involved yet again, but less than last year. Although my travels are offset, I completely acknowledge that it is better not to incur the carbon debt in the first place. No doubt some will argue that I only travel as much as I choose to, but my experience has been that having meetings and giving presentations in person is enormously more impactful than through electronic means. So I could sit at home (if I had one) and do all my work over the internet, but that doesn’t seem the right course for me at this stage in my life. I will just ensure that I make every journey pay its way in terms of people met and messages delivered – to the max.

So… here is my approximate itinerary, still extremely subject to change:

Seagulls standing on the frozen boating lake in Regents Park. And yes, global warming IS a reality - but it's about average temperatures, not individual instances of hot or cold weather.
Seagulls standing on the frozen boating lake in Regents Park. And yes, global warming IS a reality - but it's about average temperatures, not individual instances of hot or cold weather.

Jan 11 San Francisco

Jan 11-Feb 3 Hawaii – working on book and fundraising

Feb 3-5 Vail, Colorado – Vail Symposium

Feb 5-10 San Francisco Ocean Film Festival – film of “Rowing The Atlantic” being screened (finalist in Banff Film Festival)

Feb 10-28 Hood River, Oregon – working on book (Feb 22-26 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland)

Mar 1-18 Kiribati – as guest of President of Kiribati – TBC

Mar 18-23 Seattle – to speak at National Geographic Live! presentation series

Mar 24-Apr 2 TBC

Apr 3-10 TED Galapagos – I am speaking at this prestigious event. One-off ocean-themed TED in honour of Sylvia Earle

Apr 10-15 Kiribati – to prepare for launch

April 15 to late July or early August – Pacific III: final stage to Australia (fingers crossed!)

Until October or November – in Australia and/or Southeast Asia

December – Mexico City for COP16

So – another quiet, boring year – NOT! Of course you can follow it all here on the blog. I’m excited about the next 12 months, and I hope you’ll be interested enough to follow along through the power of the internet – most of the enjoyment with none of the carbon emissions!

Jan 11 San Francisco
Jan 11-Feb 3 Hawaii – working on book and fundraising
Feb 3-5 Vail, Colorado – Vail Symposium
Feb 3-10 San Francisco Ocean Film Festival – film of “Rowing The Atlantic” being screened (finalist in Banff Film Festival)
– get hair done by Connie Cook (free)
– dentist
– Jon Bowermaster will be at San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
Feb 10-28 Hood River – working on book
(Slade house available Feb 18 to Mar 10)
(Feb 22-26 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland)
Mar 1-18 Kiribati – as guest of President of Kiribati
Mar 18-23 Seattle – to speak at National Geographic Live! presentation series
Mar 24-Apr 2 Camano Island (US)
Apr 3-10 TED Galapagos – I am speaking at this prestigious event. One-off ocean-themed TED in honour of Sylvia Earle
Apr 10-15 Kiribati – to prepare for launchJan 11 San Francisco
Jan 11-Feb 3 Hawaii – working on book and fundraising
Feb 3-5 Vail, Colorado – Vail Symposium
Feb 3-10 San Francisco Ocean Film Festival – film of “Rowing The Atlantic” being screened (finalist in Banff Film Festival)
– get hair done by Connie Cook (free)
– dentist
– Jon Bowermaster will be at San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
Feb 10-28 Hood River – working on book
(Slade house available Feb 18 to Mar 10)
(Feb 22-26 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland)
Mar 1-18 Kiribati – as guest of President of Kiribati
Mar 18-23 Seattle – to speak at National Geographic Live! presentation series
Mar 24-Apr 2 Camano Island (US)
Apr 3-10 TED Galapagos – I am speaking at this prestigious event. One-off ocean-themed TED in honour of Sylvia Earle
Apr 10-15 Kiribati – to prepare for launch


  • Roz,
    Don’t underestimate the impact you have when you meet people….and you must have met quite a few when you were in Copenhagen BEING the change that you want to see ( and talking about it) is incredibly powerfulespecially when compared to activists and politicians who say one thing and then do another.

  • Roz,

    Sometimes I see familiar parallels between my life in this time — when I’m part of an effort to turn a massive tide of behaviors, habits, waste, assumptions and criticisms, to one of positive change, new ways of doing things, thought for the future, and consideration for consequences of our actions — and when I was fully-integrated into the gay/lesbian/bi/trans equal rights movement (I still am to a lesser degree). Though there’s still a long way to go, there has been an undeniable sea change in how people view gays and lesbians now to the way it was 15-25 years ago. We needed ACT UP and Queer Nation to do radical, visible things to grab attention. We needed the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to be our political liaison, our civilized face to make change in the halls of politics. But most of all, we needed individuals to be out, to be brave enough to be themselves with their neighbors, family, coworkers and friends. NOTHING opens and changes minds more effectively than one-on-one experience with a positive person who is a living example of what is possible.

    One of our most important roles is to be that example for our friends, family and neighbors, to show that new ways aren’t frightening, that it’s possible to live more simply, with fewer things, to conserve, and still be happy and well.

  • “This is a war [between] human decency and sheer bloody selfishness”

    No it’s not. It’s a disagreement between people with differing views and expectations. It’s a disagreement between people who are trying to make a living, care for their families and plan for their futures, and those who have decided that they know best how to reorganise civilisation and want to force their opinions on everyone else. This “Everyone except us is selfish and cares nothing for the future” is so utterly arrogant and self-centered and wrong that I will have nothing to do with it. I shall leave your site alone now until you return to your rowing adventures.

  • I agree with John Kay’s assessment of the George Monbiot speech you touted in a tweet. It was hostile, condescending, polarizing, and had nothing positive to say; hate speech of the most unproductive kind. The green movement would do well to take away his microphone.

    You, Roz, are a far superior spokesman, even though you have yet to nail down your POV. (This is of course better than nailing down a defective POV; the all-too-human mistake embraced by the vast majority!)

    Like Joan, I look to the gay/lesbian/bi/trans equal rights movement for inspiration; to understand the undeniable sea change in how people view them today. I disagree about the value of ACT UP, however. I agree that the most important thing is for good, relatable, people to be out.

    Although leadership by example is insufficient to solve global warming, it is a first step that needs taking. Judging from their cars and rooftops, most would-be environmentalists are still very much “in the closet”.

    I don’t mean voting for the politician with the greenest stump speech. I mean changing our own lives. ( I do something on every line of UncaDoug’s list: )

    And don’t knock removing yourself from the gene pool. –China’s one-child rule is probably the greenest policy ever embraced by any government anywhere!

    P.S. I too LOVED your photo retrospective.

  • Hi Roz

    Another full year ahead. Stage III will no doubt be the highlight. Am looking forward to it. Your comment on ‘stuff’ made reminded me of a ‘The Story of Stuff’ which I watched again for about the fifth time. I’m sure you’ve seen it but for those who haven’t it kind of gives an overview as to how we are ‘stuff’ing things up…

    All the best

  • Roz, COP15 Day 1: Negotiating the Climate Maze mentioned your dining with Polly Higgins. I have been doing some research on Polly and find her to have a refreshing perspective. For one thing, she advocates replacing “sustainability” with “responsibility” — think about that! She explains why in a video on the webpage you linked to in our COP 15 Day 1 post. There are a couple of wonderful videos on the COP 15 tab that were not there back on December 7. Also, if you did not study her “Planet Earth Trust” before, check it out! There is another very nice video at PositiveTV

    Thanks for mentioning the list of actions, Christopher!

  • Hi Christopher – I absolutely agree that choosing not to have a child is probably the greenest thing that anyone can do. However, when I wrote about removing oneself from the gene pool I was thinking of the Darwin Awards – in which context it means removing oneself immediately and permanently through some act of extreme stupidity – which I have no intention of doing!

    I’m intrigued and rather pleased by the reactions to George Monbiot’s speech. I agree that fundamentalism or extremism of any kind is undesirable. But expressing it in a verbal form (vs a physical or even violent form, which is never justifiable) can provoke self-reflection and/or constructive debate. Or it can turn people off completely, as has happened with John Kay. Point observed and noted for future reference.

    There again, if everybody agrees with you all of the time, you’re probably not really saying anything!

    I would just like to add that I’m fairly certain that even George Monbiot is also trying to make a living, care for his family and plan for his future (to use John’s words). Humans have more in common than they have different. We all want food, water and shelter – and a future.

  • Hey, Roz! Good morning! Just fixing a little problem — the url link in my comment above does not seem to work. The COP15 Day 1: Negotiating the Climate Maze is at this link and Polly Higgins’ webpage is at this link. Click on the COP15 tab for the videos.

  • Hi Roz, Your picture in today’s blog about no plastic bags and your comment about not making a significant difference got me thinking about “one stroke at a time”. Since I’ve been following you I’ve paid a lot more attention to my impact on the environment, “one stroke”. Hopefully because of that I’ve influenced other people to pay attention and make a difference, “more strokes”. Just like rowing across the ocean you really are making a difference one stroke at a time.
    By the way in the tiny town that I live in, Coupeville, Washington, USA, our only grocery store doesn’t band plastic bags yet but they do have a $50 drawing every week for people who bring in their reusable bags, nice.
    Keep up all your good work, 2010 will be a great year!

  • I normally don’t engage in debates and discussions anymore, because … well, frankly … I don’t think it really serves a good purpose. But since this thread seems to be possibly assisting you in clarifying your own thoughts concerning your agenda and activities for this year and beyond, I’ll break my usual silence and throw in my two cents (pence) worth.

    We live in an age of terrorism. And I’m not just talking about the real bomb-throwers. I’m talking about the never-ending “marketing” that is done to us, trying to influence our minds and souls, using “terror” as the medium. This includes pharmaceutical companies that tell us we’re all going to die of horrendous illnesses unless we use their expensive and side-effect-laden pills, and the religions that tell us that we’re all going to hell unless we put a lot more money into the plate for a new and expensive church, or the companies that tell us that humanity will end unless we take a certain swine flu vaccine or buy the latest computer or phone or soda drink or whatever, or the politicians that tell us that every airplane will have a bomber on it unless we declare war on a foreign country or hate another religion or buy more guns or vote certain people into public office. Anyway, you get the point. But the bottom line to all these things is that someone wants us to “do something”, or “give our money to someone”, or “buy something”, or “vote for someone”, and they have realized that one of the most effective ways of getting us to do this is to terrorize us about things that may or may not ever come true. And unfortunately, it works. For a while.

    But, people are getting tired of this. They are getting tired of the endless threats and intimidations, and slowly but surely they (we) are starting to fight back against whoever terrorizes us, be it the real terrorists, or corporations and politicians and others just trying to manipulate us for their own personal gain.

    This brings me to the environment. There are those in the environmental movement, who seem to think that “terror” is a good tactic to use in motivating people toward a greener future. And I think these tactics are going to ultimately backfire. Yes, people will use fewer plastic bags for awhile, and turn down their heater thermostats, and buy more fuel-efficient cars. But what will happen in the end, is that people will develop a certain weariness, a compassion-fatigue, over all the shrillness and hatred and negativity in the pro-environmental messages, and will walk away from it all. Any psychologist will tell you that arguably the greatest need of men and women is the need for “safety and security”. And people may eventually come to believe that the pro-environmental movement is yet another “source of terror”, unless environmental leaders begin to fashion their messages in a manner that is much more “positive”, and much less “manipulative”. And it’s not easy to do this. It’s much easier to just threaten people, and tell them that the whole planet is going to explode unless you do this and this and this. But ultimately, the terror-approach won’t work. People will tire of it, and walk away from it.

    What the world needs now more than anything are “people of moderation”. Real ambassadors who quietly, and calmly, and effectively, can moderate the differences that exist in beliefs in the world, and can slowly push the world toward a better future. YOU are such an ambassador, and you have earned your ambassadorial portfolio through your magnificent rows, your caring personality, your agile and interesting mind, and now your skills in communication and public-speaking and writing. You have a wonderful future ahead of you, and you can do some real good in the world. But there will be those … and I have experience in this … who will try and drag you “into the darkness”. Who will try and get you to be one of these shrill voices of terror, endlessly marketing something to manipulate your audiences. And one of your great challenges in life will be to avoid the temptations of these “dark forces”, and to stick to a positive message. You know where you want to go, and I believe you are absolutely headed in the right direction. And your instincts are really good. But don’t let people/corporations/whatever pull you into their own marketing strategies, where you will be swallowed up much as you were in the corporate world early in your career. Find your own niche and audience, as an elegant and effective ambassador, and use that to communicate your excellent vision of the future.

    Just as an aside, I personally feel that maybe the best audience you could develop would be young girls in schools, who could see-in-you a role model of how to elegantly develop into womanhood, given today’s challenges for the young. Young people desperately need good role models today, and you seem to have all the attributes that could be used to fill this void. But of course, a “choice of audience” is something that you alone can make. I might add that many famous people (including Diana, Princess of Wales) took years and years to determine and hone their messages and styles, and it is only when they truly understood who their target audience was that they really hit-their-stride in delivering their message.

    I’m sorry that this has taken so long. And I promise to be less wordy, and stick to my poems and lyrics in the future. And here’s my bottom line for today: avoid like the plague those in the environmental movement who want to absorb you into their own causes, and who use negativity and terror as a marketing strategy; continue to develop your brilliant skills and reputation as an ocean rower who is concerned about the future of the planet; find a target audience (school girls, or whomever) that can most use your excellent role-modeling and can then carry your message forward into the next generation, and the one after that; and keep your message “positive”, because ultimately people want to hear positive messages, and will absorb them and be motivated by them, and that is the real goal of all of this.

  • Fellow Rozlings, the comment I posted above was addressed to Roz, but it was intended for you. I wrote the comment very late last night after discovering Polly’s videos and in my haste to get to sleep, I did not make myself clear. Please check out the recently added videos.

    Richard, I agree with your suggestion that Roz focus on being a role model for young girls. Your comment reminded me that since meeting Roz in May, I have included her Eco-Adventurer video as the closing slide in my climate action presentations. Audiences applaud spontaneously — young and old — and the kid’s parents and teachers thank me for showing the video. I mentioned this to Roz back in June and was pleased to have reason to google … and to reread a few of Roz’s archived pages Day 13 – Happy World Environment Day! and Day 15 – Sweet Dreams

    John and Christopher, I agree that George Monbiot is a tad radical — ever since I first read him — but want to step up to his defense. In context, his message is poignant, but could definitely be toned down. That being said, I believe it was not intended for the general public, rather a motivational speech for those present:

    “This is not a battle over chemicals, about certain greenhouse gases we vent into the atmosphere.

    “This is a battle over humanity.

    “It’s about who we are about who we want to be, about what we want our future to be about, what kind of ape we decide to become.

    “And it’s a battle which those who urge that human decency must be paramount must win, and those who urge that they should have a right to trash other people’s life in pursuit of their own interests must lose. Only one of those sides can win, and it must be us.”

  • Richard, I applaud what you have written above, but want to respectfully disagree with one point. Back in the days of “If You Love This Planet” I remember similar discussions with a conclusion somewhat different from yours. The conclusion was that humans don’t all need the same stance or form of leadership to mobilize them because they are not all of the same culture, maturity and level of global awareness. Nor do they all have the same belief systems. So in the case of some individuals or groups, “people of moderation” are exactly what are needed, for those able to hear, understand and mobilize based on the message. Others will only mobilize out of fear and if that’s what it takes, there are other leaders who provide a suitable incentive. Perhaps these folks will mature and change over time and be more able to hear the moderation: the calm, thoughtful and effective leadership you describe. It really is a case of “Different Strokes for Different Folks”. So the George Monbiots, the eco-terrorists and folks like Roz all have a role to play and all will find an audience. The purpose, really, is to save ourselves and the planet by awakening enough people to influence their leaders to make the required decisions, while also walking their talk and doing what they can to make a difference themselves. These principles are not really much different from those that result in different religions and religious/spiritual tastes and choices. One person is inspired by the atmosphere of a rousing Gospel church, another by the quiet discipline of Buddhism and another by thundering, God-fearing preachers: “There are many roads to the cotton gin” and perhaps also to how we engage people in sustainability/responsibility. These past months, Roz, you have been what inspires me and gives me hope and I am glad of the “company” you keep on these pages!

  • Hi Claire: Thanks very much for the comments. We’re not in disagreement. My rant (above) was about “where good leadership needs to come from”. But I agree with you that different people are motivated by different approaches, and that a wide variety of motivational tools might be useful in improving the world. The point I was trying to make is that we live in a world where people on the extremes are all shouting at each other, and what we need are more centrists or people in the middle to bring it all together into programs that can constitute a global strategy. Roz, because of her education and talents and life experience is the perfect kind of person to bring people with varying viewpoints together. And her ability to say “I was there, seeing this first-hand, while rowing across the ocean(s)” is just an added credential that can prove invaluable in swaying sentiment toward her own conclusions. But anyway, I was just throwing out some thoughts. Roz doesn’t need my assistance in figuring out her life path. She’s doing a wonderful job of that on her own, and we’re all proud of her.

  • Dear Lady Roz,
    Thanks so much for the wonderful image tour of your 2009! Now, on into the future! Down in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 15 of 2009, you asked us perhaps the most important question facing every person and soul on this planet: “Do we believe we are worth saving?”
    Thank you for the question! Now it’s up to us to supply the answer! Given your magnificent example and inspiration, I believe in 2010 we Rozlings worldwide can come up with a thunderous “YES!!!” And then take the enormous collaborative actions necessary to prove it!!
    Again thanks, Lady Roz!
    – Doug S., with Nicole & ‘Grammy,’ (visiting) in Santa Fe, NM

  • Roz and Rozlings all … I just don’t get rugby, but Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and a magnificent supporting cast gave it new meaning. Invictus is appropriate for this new year.


    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    -William Ernest Henley

  • Dear All – but particularly Richard in Austin, Claire in LA, and UncaDoug…. I feel incredibly lucky that I have such erudite, intelligent, deep-thinking people not only visiting my blog, but feeling moved to post comments that lend new insights into some of the challenges facing the world today. As I search for my role in 2010 and beyond, these comments provide invaluable food for thought, and useful clues as to where I should be expending my time and energy. Thank you, sincerely, for your input. All noted and filed to be read and re-read and incorporated into my strategies.

  • Hi All, I am looking forward to this year in the world of Roz! I was actually in one of the photos in her 2009 slideshow. You’ll see me kissing Charles Moore of Algalita! Take care, Roz. I see you won’t be in LA. I’m bummed. Maybe I can get to Seattle or one of the other west coast sites on your agenda. -Sindy

  • Am I the only person that thinks we are just as guilty for denying the emails out of East Anglia University as the right wing is for disputing the science of Global Warming. We better come up with a rational explanation soon or Rush Limbaw and his followers will be winning the argument. We have fought for years to get the type of legislation we are getting now and I don’t want any of it undone. Wake Up!!!

  • It’s interesting that “Rus in Reno” considers Global Warming a political rather than scientific issue because that is what many have been saying for a long time; that the objective of the “Left Wing” is to use alleged global warming as a tool to increase its control over various countries’ economies. The disclosure that much data supporting them was fradulent and that contrary data was being concealed only reinforces that conviction.

    I wonder how many people such as Rus are actually familiar with the sciences of climatology and not merely followers of someone who happens to share their political views.

    I commend this:

  • The CRU hack is less than a waning bad memory, debunked and explained clearly by many, but it apparently lives on in the minds of some. Gavin Schmidt and Joe Romm are just two who have debunked the contrived allegations. provides in-depth analysis as well as dozens of links to others’ explanations of the context from which the allegations of scientists’ malfeasance were manufactured. Rush Limbaw and his followers don’t hold a candle to Schmidt, Romm and others of their knowledge, integrity and stature.

  • Hi John Kay,
    I apologise for weakness in the things I have said sounding political. I just want the legislative control. Kinda like speed laws, created by government and law for the safety of everyone. Imagine our roadways without speed control. I know I sound stupid and wish I could make more sense, I’m just afraid without restrictions on society we are going to kill this planet we all love.

  • Thank you, Rus. However, my observation remains valid. See this:

    Incidentally; does “UncaDoug” mis-spell Russ Limbaugh’s name as an intended insult or out of ignorance? I wonder because so many people respond not to what that gentleman says but rather to distorted reports of what he has said without troubling to read or listen for themselves.

  • Hey guys. Whoah. Can you take it outside please?

    I am all in favour of lively debate, but this seems to be getting personal, which is NOT appropriate for this website. Thank you.

  • To Unca Doug, Penn state university is now investigating Michale Mann.
    The DOE has sent a “Litigation Hold Notice” to all employees of the Savannah River Site concerning documents that pertain to the Climate Research Unit in England. Not a bad memory at all and if you are referring to the hockey stick graph of Mann being debunked, yes I agree with you.

  • Roz, I detect an unhealthy drift/unfocusing of your website.

    If I can make a suggestion: you are an ENTERTAINER, stick to entertaining. You are a rower. Most of us came to your website because of your daily ocean accounts. We respect you as an endurance athlete. You are not a scientist. Science is highly nuanced. An active debate in science is a sign of a healthy field of study. As an ENTERTAINER, you can only, in my opinion, diminish yourself by strongly aligning yourself with one side of a scientific debate or another. Stick to what you are good at. When I want to see the latest on the global warming debate, I go to the magazine Science, or Nature.

    When I visit your website, what I really would like to see is your latest rowing blog. That being on hold, what would be most entertaining, and what you are really qualified to discuss, would be keeping us apprised of endurance events in the world–what do you think of the failed (my opinion) Golden Gate Endeavor? (they were supported in the end, no? But what a battle!). What about Over-n-Under’s epic strain against currents? And what is happening with that Goliath Expedition? What about climbs on Annapurna, etc….

    Respectively, Steve

  • Dearest Steve – if you look at the contents of my blog itself, I think you will find I do not even pretend to talk about the science. What happens in the comments is another matter altogether – but I am not going to censor comments on this basis.

    I’d like to refer you to my last statement of my position on this: So I focus not on the science, but on a common sense approach to sustainable living.

    I try to strike a balance between entertainment (e.g. the 2009 Slideshow), information, and inspiration. Most people seem quite happy with the mix. But I am open to feedback – if anybody agrees with Steve, please let me know.

    As for commenting on other people’s endeavours – that would be most presumptuous of me. Unless I actually meet with an adventurer and get the story from the horse’s mouth, my comments would have to be based on press coverage, which I know from firsthand experience to be extremely unreliable. So I have no interest in pursuing that path. May I recommend the excellent if that is your interest.

    But ultimately it is MY blog, and I can write about whatever I like. It was concern over our treatment of the planet that led me into ocean rowing in the first place, and it would be a betrayal of that concern if I did not talk about it. My blog is a reflection of my current thoughts and feelings. And right now, those thoughts and feelings are dominated by a passionate desire to halt the damage currently being wrought on the world.

  • Dear Roz; Your energetic support for the circus in Copenhagen seemed in conflict with the sentiments you expressed last November. The “conference” assumed that global warming/climate change was a certainty and refused to even consider the opinions of anyone, however qualified, who disagreed. It had nothing to do with “sustainability” but solely with taking control of those nation’s economies that were assumed to be responsible for the abitrarily defined situation.

    If you wish to avoid political discussions then please, please, avoid provoking them.

  • Steve – thank you for being so magnanimous!

    John – if I had been running the conference, it would have been very different! Far from supporting it, I was quite critical of the proceedings, although possibly not for the same reasons that you are.

    Ultimately, we all want the same thing, which is security for our future. Our future cannot be secure while we rely on limited and non-renewable resources.

    And that is all I have to say about that.

  • Roz, I have to say, but you DO pretend to talk about science. You are drawing your thoughts re. sustainability from scientific fields. And so to be so convinced, as you are about particular fields, we can only assume that you have considered the science behind your stance. Be that energy/oil consumption (you make assertions about oil shortages–which is based on geology); you have aligned yourself with global warming (which is based on climatology); you promote alternative fuels (which is ultimately rooted in the field of economics)….

    You are an inspiration, have a nimble mind (as stated by Richard in Ausin above), articulate, and are passionate. One of Great Britains national treasures. All of my comments are given with the utmost respect.


  • Hi Roz,

    The best of luck with your plans for 2010. I’m sure you don’t need me to say this (I’ve read elsewhere on your site: if you could get across the oceans then a few naysayers won’t put you off) but well done for having the courage to stand up in public and work towards a goal you believe in.

    I agree with John Kay that Monbiot’s comment about decent humans v. bloody selfish ones isn’t helpful or particularly true.

    John, I feel that most people are (as usual) in the middle of the road; well meaning but apathetic and, as you say, more concerned by their immediate priorities than something as big and scary as the environment. However, in criticizing one generalisation you swiftly make another; that environmental campaigners are arrogant, self-centred and attempting to ‘reorganise civilisation’.

    In my experience this couldn’t be further from the truth. The ones that I know are in fact motivated by compassion, social conscience, and an acute sense of collective responsibility. The irony is that people like Roz are campaigning on behalf of everybody, naysayers included, whether or not they yet realise how important it is. I for one am grateful!

    There are dogmatists and fanatics on both sides of the argument and Roz is neither. Of course the environmental challenges we face will best be solved by debate and discussion. But it needs to be the right kind of constructive debate and, all too often, discussions crystallise into boring and false dichotomies or dangerous intellectual exercises (which smack to me of fiddling while Rome burns).

    How about we plan for the worst, hope for the best, create fair solutions along the way, and work out ‘who was right’ in 50 years time if and when we have properly mitigated the risks?

    Roz, having the self-awareness and intellectual integrity to evolve your position within the parameters of your wider goals is just the kind of pragmatic approach the world needs from spokespeople like yourself. Changing tactics is important. I don’t think you need a clearer voice / position / strategy at all. It’s very clear what you stand for to me: A GREENER FUTURE.

    Even if you hadn’t rowed oceans you’re still well informed and passionate enough about this important subject to deserve to have your voice heard. Having achieved what you have on the oceans only increases your mandate. Stick to writing about rowing? If I understand correctly, that’s missing the point of why you do it! To paraphrase from Lance Armstrong: ‘it’s not about the boat’.

    Have a great year and keep up the good work.

  • Roz, Well done for admitting you honesty about admitting your uncertainty about figuring out how you can ‘be of most use.’

    As I’m sure you know, just holding that space of uncertainty and ambiguity can be a very creative place to be. However, many people feel the need to ‘bolt things down’ quickly. It can feel safer that way

    You are allowing the creative inspiration to rise up and making space so you can attract resources towards you.

    The life changes you have achieved so far are truly inspiring.

  • Wise words, Trudy. I am still reading, listening and assimilating, and I know that all will become clear when the time is right. Thank you for reminding me that this is okay! “The fertile void of uncertainty”, as Deepak Chopra describes it….

  • There is an interesting article in the New York Times today (“Therapists Report Increase in Green Disputes: As awareness of environmental concerns has grown, therapists are seeing a rise in household bickering, particularly about food”). I won’t put up a link to the article, because it requires registration on the NYT website, but if anyone has already registered at the NYT they can easily access the article. This, of course, again raises my concern that we’ve turned the environment into yet another battleground, when the world is crying out for compassion and gentility among people. Why is everyone just screaming at each other, criticizing each other, and unable to “get it together”. But I’m sure that different people see this differently. My real interest is actually not at the individual level, but at the governmental and national levels: “Why has decision-making become so difficult, and often so wrong, at the governmental level?” This reminds me of Barbara Tuchman’s superb historical book “The March of Folly”, and the issues she puts forth in her first paragraph: “A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests. Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere, wisdom, which may be defined as the exercise of judgment acting on experience, common sense and available information, is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests? Why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function?” If couples, domestically, seem to be requiring more therapy over environmental squabbles (as depicted in the New York Times article), is it at all unusual that political parties and governments are in similar chaos? What exactly will it take to bring civility, and good decision-making, back into vogue? Or am I simply asking for too much? (I know, I know. I’m just rhetorically thinking-out-loud.)

    And one of the reasons I keep coming back to this issue, is because (I think) it goes to the heart of a question that you keep asking. You like to phrase the question along the lines of “Why is it so difficult to get the environmental message out to the people?” Whereas, I would tend to phrase the question a little differently: “Why in this era of a quantum increase (and maybe improvement) in the flow of information, does decision-making at both the individual-level and governmental-level seem to actually be getting worse?” Is it that we are now so saturated with information, that we are actually dumbing-down, both as individuals, and as governments? Has this information explosion actually been to our detriment? Have we exceeded our capacity to absorb new information, new facts, new conclusions, and are now using squabbling and argumentation simply as coping-mechanisms, because our brains have tuned out from reality? And if any of this is true, is any of this also “new”, or have humans always (as per Barbara Tuchman) been poor at ingesting information, and making decisions?

    So in conclusion, I repeat what I said above. What the world need now (“is love sweet love”) are people who can rise above the squabbling that is going on between peoples, between political parties, even between governments, and can act as non-confrontational role models for a world sorely in need of good role models. Leadership is NOT about proving that one person is right and that someone else is wrong. Leadership is having a vision, and “luring” people into following that vision. And sometimes the subtler that people are “lured”, the more they are willing to join into the dream. And that applies both at the international level, and at the family level, which is where we started this little soliloquy, with the New York Times article on families fighting over environmental issues.

    OK. I’m through now. Enjoy your thinking-time and writing-vacation. 🙂

  • Richard, In an earlier comment, someone quoted Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    I think this accounts for the decline of admitted belief in global warming in the U.S.. A surprisingly large number of people are capable of deceiving themselves, and their denials are sincere.

    The implication, of course, is that if you want someone to understand something, don’t penalize him for doing so. A large bloc on the left has been holding back popular recognition of global warming, by equating the case for global warming with the case for expanding the scope and power of government.

    It is a mistake to justify a tax by arguing that the government needs money to buy solar panels. It is better to allow a tax deduction for buying solar panels. Then rational people will use their own money to buy them, at the point where the avoided utility bills justifies the capital investment (if for no other reason).

    Why do people tolerate bad government? Easy. They’d rather let idiots and crooks run the government than engage in politics to the degree necessary to roust them out. IMO non-confrontationalism is the cause of the problem–not the solution. Non-confrontationalism favors the bully, the busybody, and the crook.

    Am I arguing in two directions? Well…not incompatibly. I’m arguing *for* confronting bad politicians (or good politicians when they behave badly). E.g. environmentalists on the left need to engage Obama and convince him that supporting Big Coal (via the sequestration figleaf), is unacceptable. I’m arguing *against* alienating the public with polemic like George Monbiot’s, in the video that Roz touted:

  • Hi Richard – thanks once again for a wise and insightful comment. I like the way that you keep the focus on the positive. There is so much confusion, misinformation and politicking. It is mind-boggling to even begin to try and understand the ins and outs of it. I used to feel I needed to try and get into the details, but now I agree that information does not equal wisdom, and at the risk of being over-simplistic, we need to see the big picture – and at that level it is not really very complicated at all.

  • Well… The global warming deniers have their own “not really very complicated” big picture too.

    Absent a detailed understanding of the issues, their case is as good as anyone’s.

    Conclusion: There’s no avoiding the work necessary to clarify in the public’s mind the difference between the latest science and the latest half-baked hypothesis of the deniers. The truth is in the details.

  • Hi Roz

    Sorry you did not get to see the great Wolf Moon and mars. Here in Shropshire, England we had an exceptionally clear night and the views were great. Many people though reported their views were at least partly blighted by light pollution.

    A loose grouping us are organising a worldwide stargaze and protest against light pollution of 30 March 2010. The aims of the event are modest. We are hoping to get people to comment on their views of the sky and speak out they are blighted by light pollution (early photos of light pollution are already coming in). We should also be turning unnecessary lights off to cut emissions!

    At present we are largely working through Twitter but will add Facebook shortly. It’s a crowd sourced campaign so it will go where it will go, but let’s hope we can bang the drums for dark skies worldwide!

    Will you join us?

    Best wishes
    Andy Boddington

  • Hi Andy – what a great idea. Talk about a win-win. Saving electricity (and money), and seeing the stars more clearly too – fantastic!

    I’ll follow you on Twitter as of now. And good luck with it all!

  • Hey, Roz! You’ve been missing a couple of days. I so enjoy your blog. You’re a busy girl again I see. Please don’t forget to properly prep your beloved boat. It misses you and needs lots of TLC before your last leg to Australia.
    You GO, girl. What an inspiration to us all. AND don’t forget the suntan protection.
    JIMMY 🙂

  • Oh, … almost forgot! Will Nicole be with you for support on your last leg? If not, I can fly out and give you any needed assistance. Just let me know.

  • Jimmy – that’s a very kind offer, and I thank you, but it looks as if I’ll have Nicole and Liz to help me out so we should be okay. Hopefully not to much to do. But just out of curiosity, are you any good at electrics?!

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