summer is coming ... fast!
i will be off-line for a while : but want to leave you with a story ...
one less butt
a friend of mine is a commercial fisherman; an alaska salmon seiner. he is a harvester of a beautiful and abundant resource, working the wild and wonderful remote reaches of kodiak island.
he annually flies into kodiak in the spring and is there until mid-september, plying the fish runs near shore, working to feed the world with the rich, nutritious bounty of one of mother's most precious gifts to us : salmon.
|art : everett athorp, haida-tsimshian clan|
it is said that in the long ago, when the gods gifted mankind with our beautiful home, they spoke with all the animals, plants, atmosphere, etc. about the new, fragile being they wanted to bring here. the animals, plants, weather and all other sentient and non-sentient beings began offering what they could to bring happiness and plenty to this marvelous new species the gods proposed. the salmon were among the first to offer their bodies for the sustenance of man, as they do for bears, other mammals, fish and ecosystems that understand, partake, and/or in some way depend upon or appreciate their beautiful sacrifice.
the 'resource' (in this case, salmon) is managed well, and there are normally plenty of fish to maintain the species and to feed the millions of humans (and other denizens of earth) who hunger for various varieties and forms of wild caught fish. it is a good living, and my friend enjoys his job.
over the years, he has witnessed the ocean's rhythm and her ability to rejuvenate herself; to take all that humanity deposits into her, and by her own rhythms to remain relatively clean and habitable for the billions of (unsuspecting, innocent) denizens for whom she hosts life.
he posits that the oceans, rivers, streams, etc. constitute the planet's own circulatory system, and that the massive amounts of debris (flotsam) she swallows (created both by herself and by ourselves) are by and large digestable and digested, becoming itself nutrition for herself and her denizens. the food chain in the ocean is alive and (relatively) well.
my friend has a belief that if the earth cannot digest something it should never enter her circulatory system - the ocean (this includes the vast overabundance of digestible material also); those things which earth cannot herself process must be (somehow) otherwise dealt with . undigested waste will never become part of the cycle of life, and only lie on the surface of whatever it lands on, blocking further life from forming. he believes plastic (and its entourage) is one of, if not the most harmful creation mankind has ever endeavored. he also believes that each of us must make a commitment and take a personal role in responsibility for what (undigestible flotsam) goes into the ocean ... to protect the (mostly) pristine nature of his fishery.
he has a policy on his boat : one less butt in the water. great numbers of fishermen are smokers, consuming their filtered cigarettes and flicking the (plastic) butts overboard ... a seemingly harmless act (notwithstanding the whole 'smoking is bad for you' thing) : until one actually thinks about extrapolation. if there are 100 fishermen smoking a pack of cigarettes per day, flicking those 2,000 butts overboard - every day, over the course of a summer; now imagine 1,000 fishermen, 10,000 boaters and so on, and so on. imagine the massive clog in the (earth's) arteries from the buildup of tiny particles of (butts) plaque. as our own bodies cannot break down plaque and the buildup has the ability to shut off the flow of blood to our brains, we become sick, and without intervention (circulation) our brains become starved of vital, nutritious oxygen ... earth is no different : i don't know if she's starving (yet) or not, but i do know that our bodies are not all that different from hers, and we're hacking away at her lungs too ... how may we do a better job of stewardship toward our home?
the fisherman's policy is simple : when you smoke, throw the (harmless) tobacco end overboard, but not the butt. keep an empty pack handy, place the butts there (or in your pocket), then into the trash can when its handy. my friend acknowledges that not everyone will, but he asks his crew to, and leads by example. he made the commitment several years ago. the first summer he lost a total of 2 packs (of butts) overboard. his second summer, he lost (the equivalent of) about 1/2 pack; the next year, a total of 4 butts, and last season, only 1. he figures it's a commitment he can keep : and a promise kept to himself also.
it's small, but significant - and has become a way of life outside of the summertime season as well.
yes, the issue is enormous, but so are we ... just look at how many of us there are ... how may we harness the power of our girth in service to lightening our impression : the earth is small (but mighty) : we are so vast. the very interesting thing is, we are her (welcome) guest. have we worn through our welcome? maybe its time to step up : earth is going to do that which a planet does - reinvent ... its ours in this time here (with each other) to enjoy the ride.
her mission is known to her : ours is unknown, unless we know it - some do : what would symbiosis, balance among us look like? why does it seem that it is not okay for some of us that there are other ways, ideals, cultures, colors, foods, languages, etc. that are different from our own? or that we are incapable of reaching our highest potential because there is too great an ocean of us. thinkers are needed. so, thank you for thinking : bless your thoughts to the service of light in the world. how may we serve? how may i serve?
when we were smaller many old ways worked for us : we began fighting when we began expanding ourselves : war was a great adventure, it was noble; until it became an addiction, and we now compete to find the most legally lethal (morality notwithstanding) cat and mouse game there is : catch (kill) me if you can. lord have mercy... it serves well our self created energy, money. the headlines extol the gajillions (still) spent on it : the spoils of it are worth taking to create more (gajillions and itself) : how may we put down our swords and take up our rightful mantle of brotherhood among ourselves, stewardship for our home, earth. how may we wear our own crown of goodness, as is our choice, and know ourselves good.
there is a huge difference between righteous and good.
righteous is a wholly man-made virtue,
good is inspired.
may we all know that our own contribution creates itself goodness (to and for ourselves, and to and for each other, and to and for our home), and may we strive to contribute . in the long ago, we saw contribution as a virtue, and 'enough' wasn't yet invented. commerce began in earnest, with salt. some needed it, some had it, some would kill for it, many would die for it. i wonder why it is the only way we can even (seem to) contemplate among us ... what if we chose to think our way to peace (the one that passes understanding). who knows but that we may find ourselves peaceful .
our mission, should we choose to accept it, is (also) reinvention. each of us has a part to play - and our parts will be played. shall we do this consciously or on auto-pilot is entirely up to each individual one of us. spoiler : consciously is the much scarier, more rewarding, more satisfying choice ...
one less butt in the water ... do-able, important.