What would happen if we all consciously took a few breaths of air in right after we wake up and thanked the Creator for providing the air that gives us all life?
What would happen if, when we get out of bed, we were to consciously go and get a couple of sips of water, then thank the Creator for providing the water that gives us all life?
What would happen if we all took a bit of conscious time to savour the first few bites of food we take in the day and thanked the Creator giving us “Mother Earth”, host to all life here?
What would happen if we took a few seconds a day to appreciate the role that Sun plays in our “Web of Life” and thanked the Creator for giving us “Fire”?
During “World Paddle for the Planet Day” this year I was fortunate to meet several Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations People, in particular, respected Elder, Levi Martin. Levi asked me these very questions, and explained that in his culture, these are the four elements that support all life on the Planet, Air, Water, Earth and Sun. He also explained that all four elements are required together in order to support life. For example life could not exist if there were no Air. Take Water away and the same problem exists. Fairly obvious, and yet we are messing with this formula in a big way.
Levi also mentioned that it is important to express “humbility”. Air is humble, it asks for nothing in return for breathing life into our bodies. Water does not send us a bill for the rain. As far as I know photosynthesis is free. As incredible and necessary as these elements are, they ask for nothing in return. They don’t brag.
The most frequent question I get as I move through “Paddle for the Planet” is, “What can I do to change anything, I am only one person”? There are so many things, depending on where one is at in life. Getting started is the first step, do something. Here is a suggestion for a place to start! Life is a precious gift. All life is sacred. “Mother Earth” plays host to all life on the Planet. Recognizing that Air, Water, Land, and Sun are necessary for all life on the Planet seems like it would be a good first step!…
We are just a few days out from this year’s “World Paddle for the Planet Day” and I have just returned from the “Great Bear Rainforest”! These are both big events in my life, one just a few days away, and the other one in the books so to speak!
I don’t get a lot of time to reflect these days, so when I do I take full advantage! This will be the third “WPFTPDay”, and previous to the last two I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on what this event means, to me, and to the World. This year is no different, and on reflection I find myself conflicted. On the one hand so many of the things I have worked hard to change remain the same. We still have people who leave their cars idling, throw garbage in places where garbage doesn’t belong, consume single use products like we have infinite resources, and in general feel a sense of entitlement to everything on the Planet. We still have wars, greed and corruption, homelessness, and abuse of all kinds. These things cause me great sadness and anger. These things represent the worst of what it is to be human to me.
On the other hand there are a handful of people who are genuinely working to live in a different and sustainable Way. We have people whose compassion knows no bounds. We have warriors who are standing up and working to end wars, greed and corruption. We are seeing some areas of the Planet return to health and vibrancy because of the efforts of the few and the many. These things cause me great joy and encouragement. We all have the potential of so much more and this represents the best of what is to be human to me.
Like I said, I am conflicted. We humans are geared for success, and I am no different. How does one measure success? How does one measure the success of “Paddle for the Planet” and “World Paddle for the Planet Day”? I have been successful at paddling consecutive days, and that is something I can easily quantify and reflect on. I can recall the memories of every paddle, enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing what I set out to do, and I can do that on a daily basis. The purpose of all this daily paddling, “Changing the Way we live on the Planet” is a bit more difficult to quantify. Does a small amount of success really qualify as a success? Shark Finning is still going on in the World, although through the efforts of concerned people, the practice is diminishing. Does that qualify as a success? Many people still drink bottled water, although I know some who have stopped this practice. Does that qualify as a success? We still have decision makers without concern for “Mother Earth” or the very people they have been elected to represent, yet there are more who are speaking out against damaging practices. Does a small amount of forward movement qualify as success?
I have always considered myself well connected to Nature and the web of life. On reflection after my return from “Great Bear”, I discovered I am not even close to understanding the connection of all things to all things. “Great Bear” showed me in a big Way that all life is intimately connected on this Planet. Remove or harm one species from the web, and the rest of the web is affected. Life is a precious gift. All life is sacred. “Mother Earth” plays host to all life on the Planet, and it is our responsibility to ensure the health of everything here. On reflection, I am of the opinion that we are not yet doing a very good job of taking care of “Mother Earth”. When we take, take, take we affect “Mother Earth’s” ability to support life on the Planet.
Many years ago I made a promise to send a healthy and vibrant Planet into the future. Personally, I feel like I have failed miserably so far. “Paddle for the Planet” “World Paddle for the Planet”, “The Paddler Movie”, speaking engagements, interviews and events are just some of the efforts I am making to fulfill my promise to future generations. My biggest fear in life is handing off a lemon to my yet unborn Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandchildren. One thing I know for sure is I will continue to do everything I am capable of to turn the tide, and make sure places like the “Great Bear Rainforest” survive intact! It is important to me that the People of the future have the same opportunity to experience the beauty and wonderment that I have been able to experience in my lifetime.
After reflecting on “World Paddle for the Planet Day” I wonder if I am doing enough to send a “Wave of Change” around the World. After reflecting on the “Great Bear Rainforest” I am concerned that our actions today will spoil this area like we have spoiled so many places on the Planet. I find myself wondering what else I can do to send a healthy and vibrant Planet into the future!…
Next stop, “World Paddle for the Planet Day” or bust!…
The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
The calendar and thermometer say it’s summer, as hot days and sticky nights continue to prevail along the Gulf of Mexico. Neighbors lament the heat and humidity, and my wilting garden and tomato plants barren of fruit speak of the rigors of late summer. Yet looking closely I see the many subtleties of the season, as the signs are here that summer is slowly loosening its grip.
Unlike the tenuous winter cold, the heat of a Florida summer is constant. As an antidote we move slower and seek the cooling shade beneath a tree, the sea breeze, the afternoon thunderstorm, the glass of iced tea garnished with a sprig of mint from the garden.
Our clever adaptations help greatly, but never fully tame the beast of summer. So I relish the fall, when the air turns cooler and dryer.
Just a couple of weeks before the autumnal equinox and the official start of fall, there’s no cool air yet. But I do notice the sun lower in the sky and less intense as it moves toward the southern hemisphere.
In my yard, the shorter days trigger the longleaf pine trees to drop pine needles to the ground, which I gather for mulch that adds the beautiful burnt red color of fresh pine straw to my landscape. A few monarch butterflies flutter-by, and the buds of fall wildflowers swell.
On the Gulf, the north wind blows more of the time, calming the water like a little backyard pond and turning it shades of deep blue and green. Diving into the calm seas I feel cooler water as the Gulf catches-up with the sun that has been lessening in intensity for nearly three months now.
I find great joy in being attuned to the season, and adapting my life to work in concert with it. I cook, eat and work differently in July than I do in January. All of that has helped me to make peace with the seasons, so that I like them all and look forward to what each one brings.
So go outside. Breathe gently. Take a hike, a swim, and a paddle. Notice the sun lower in the sky, the squirrels busily preparing for winter, the nuts falling from the pecan trees, and whatever seasonal changes are happening where you live. Feeling the seasons is another part of living well, and living with purpose.
***Join us Saturday September 13, for World Paddle for the Planet Day! Paddles begin at noon all across the globe. Let’s send a wave of change for the Planet! Post your paddle activities on our Facebook page!***
Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
“The Great Bear Rainforest”! “The Great Bear Sea”! How many know of “Great Bear”?
“The Great Bear Rainforest” is a very large territory in coastal British Columbia, Canada, surrounded by “The Great Bear Sea”. This territory extends roughly from the northern tip of Vancouver Island all the way to the southern tip of Alaska. This information you can find on any map. What the map doesn’t tell you is the magic of this very special place!
Sharon and I recently returned from a trip into part of this Territory, the heart of this Territory around Hartley Bay. One of the clues to how special this place is, is the effort it takes just to get there. First one has to get to Prince Rupert, about a 17 hour drive from where we live in Kelowna. Then, you have to hop on a boat or a ferry and take a 3 to 4 hour excursion by water, Hartley Bay is not accessible by road.
Our host and guide for the week was my good friend Norm Hann. Norm has been connected to Hartley Bay for many years, and is an adopted member of the Gitga’at First Nation there. We stayed the first night at Cam and Eva Hill’s home, who are Norms adopted family. That was the second clue that we were in a very special place. Cam and Eva welcomed 6 total strangers into their home as family. The entire village of Hartley Bay welcomed us in the same way, it is the Gitga’at Way! Through Norm, we were connected to the most amazing week I have spent in my life. His knowledge of the Sea, the Land, the People, was freely and willingly shared, and I learned a lot! We also had the pleasure of breaking Jenny Poppit in as Norm’s assistant on this trip. She visited Great Bear last year, and such is the power of the place that she just had to come back! Many, many thanks to Norm and Jenny from Norm Hann Expeditions for opening our eyes and hearts!
So, what is it that makes “The Great Bear” such a special place? Is it the fact that this is probably one of the few pristine places left on the Planet? Is it the Whales, Bears, Wolves, Eagles and so much more who call Great Bear their home? Is it the People, the Gitga’at First Nation who have lived here for thousands of years? Is it the rugged Mountains, vast trees, Oceans and Rivers that fill your senses from every angle?
For me, it was all of the above and much more! I got to experience the web of life and connect to Nature in a profound and personal Way! I learned about the Ocean. I knew Plankton was important in the Ocean, I had no idea that 90% of the Oceans oxygen is produced by Plankton. I knew that Plankton was food for bigger fish, and bigger fish are food for still bigger fish. I had no idea about their coming and goings and seasons. I knew that Salmon are a keynote species and play a vital role in the survival of Bear, Wolves, People and others. I had no idea that they are vital to the life of the forest as fertilizer. I knew the Gitga’at have been harvesting food in “The Great Bear” for centuries. I had no idea how deep their history in the Territory really is, and how extensive their knowledge really is. I knew that if one part of this web of life is disturbed, or destroyed, all life would be affected. I had no idea how much until I heard the history of the Otter.
Otters flourished in the Territory until man discovered that Otter pelts could be used and sold to make money. They were hunted nearly to extinction in the late 18th and early 19th century. Their numbers dwindled from the many thousands to a scant few hundred, virtually overnight. First Nations noticed a dramatic decrease in Kelp forests, one of their Traditional Foods. Simultaneously, they noticed an increase in Sea Urchin populations. Sea Urchins feed on Kelp, and without Otters, whose main diet are Sea Urchins, their numbers flourished and nearly killed off Kelp. Finally, our decision makers banned Otter hunting, and their numbers slowly increased. In areas where they are flourishing again, Sea Urchin populations are once again under control and Kelp Forests are recovering.
My writing skills are not sufficient to truly give you a picture of what “The Great Bear” is like. I can tell you that the “Web of Life” is palpable there, and permeates every cell of your body. I can tell you that “Great Bear” is indeed a very special place on the Planet. I can tell you that the elusive “Spirit Bear” “Moksgm ol” remained elusive for us. I can tell you that the Gitga’at are a very special People. I can tell you that “Great Bear” is a phenomenal teacher! I can tell you that “Great Bear” tugs at my heart like I thought it would!
If every person on the Planet could spend one week in “Great Bear” the World would be an entirely different place!…
Speaking of the World being an entirely different place, “World Paddle for the Planet Day is coming up on Saturday, September 13th! Where ever you are on the Planet, you are invited to “Pick a Change you want to see in the World, paddle for that Change on September 13th, then commit to that Change until it becomes reality”! Join us at noon on Saturday and let’s send a huge “Wave of Change” around the Planet! http://worldpaddlefortheplanet.com
To hear the Podcast interview with Leslie Kolovich and Bob Purdy click here.
Standing Up for the Planet with Leslie Kolovich
Today Bob will have paddled 1,344 consecutive days for the planet!!! But hey, who’s counting? WE ARE! This is amazing Bob Purdy! Congrats!
My conversation with Bob Purdy is just 2 days after he returned from a one week paddle adventure in the Great Bear Rainforest with Norm Hann Expeditions. Bob talks about the profound experience he and his wife Sharon had in Great Bear, one of the Planet’s last pristine areas. Paddling amongst great Humpback whales, connecting with people who lived along this waterway, seeing vividly through clear air and water, waiting patiently in hopes of seeing a Spirit Bear, eating fresh clean foods, Bob states, “if everyone could spend one week in Great Bear the world would be a completely different place.” “The web of life is represented in Great Bear, and you truly realize how everything is connected, and if you disturb one thing you disturb all.”
We also talk about the upcoming World Paddle For The Planet Day, September 13th with home base being in Tofino British Columbia, and the Movie that Bob is filming telling the story of water called, The Paddler. So much to talk about, all so inspiring! Join us to spread the message, it is time we change the way we are living on the planet. Together we can make a difference!
Please post what you have planned for World Paddle for the Planet day on our Facebook page! Check back for more blogs and podcasts as the paddle gets closer!
Peace and Love~Leslie Kolovich