Standing Up For The Planet by Bob Purdy
This past week I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Birute Galdikas speak about her life’s work with Orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra.
For those who may not recognize her name, she is one third of the trio known as the “Trimates”. The other two are Jane Goodall, known for her work with Chimpanzees, and Diane Fossey who worked with Gorillas. These three women are world renowned and have made significant contributions to our understanding of Primates.
She spoke for about an hour, and managed to give us all an education. She talked about Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Gorillas and Orangutans, in particular the way their societies are structured. Chimpanzee groups are male dominated, and they maintain order by removing outside male threats to their own groups. The males are not shy about banding together to protect their own group. The females are submissive and tow the line that dominant males lay out for them. Dr. Gildikas referred to Bonobos on the other hand, as the Hippies of the primate world. The females rule the roost, and the males willing go along with this arrangement because of sex. Boy/girl/ Boy/boy, Girl/girl, with any partner, anytime seems to be the order of the day, and they live in a cooperative society as opposed to a competitive one, apparently there is rarely a fight. Gorillas have one dominant male that will control the group, and maintain law and order by fighting off any outside males. Relationships among the members of the group is more like what we think of as normal, testosterone driven. Orangutans are more closely aligned with Gorilla society, with one dominant male who is distinguished by his cheek pads, doing the fighting to keep order for the group.
After introducing us to these Primates, Dr. Galdikas told us about the challenges Orangutans are facing. This link will take you to the OFI (Orangutan Foundation International), her non-profit society. There is all kinds of information on her website, including ways you can help. http://orangutan.org/OFI/
The main thing I took away from her talk about Orangutans is that they are endangered, and face extinction if we don’t take steps to address the challenges they are facing. The main challenge they face is a theme we have talked a lot about at “Paddle for the Planet”, loss of habitat. Fire, which is a naturally occurring phenomena devastates forests and Orangutan, habitat. Dr. Galdikas has lived in Borneo for 43 years, and has watched the frequency of the fires increase substantially as climate change has kicked in. These fires have also been exacerbated by logging, both legal and illegal. The money making part of the trees are hauled away, and things like branches are left on the forest floor, making really good fuel for a fire. Not only have the fires increased in frequency, they have also increased in intensity.
The other challenge to habitat is being caused by man in the form of palm oil plantations. Palm oil is a highly profitable commodity, and rain forests are being bulldozed to make way for this monoculture activity. Dr. Galdikas told us that even Cocaine dealers are switching to palm oil crops because there is so much profit in it. Orangutans face a double threat from this practice, loss of habitat and brutal death by plantation owners as nuisance animals that dare to feed on their trees. Palm oil can be found in many products of our modern society today, including vegetable oil, additives for many processed food products, cosmetics, soaps and even bio fuels.
Dr. Galdikas made an impassioned plea at the end of her talk. She gave us something specific we can all do today to ensure the survival of Orangutans. She asked us all to stop using palm oil and palm oil products. There are links on her website that list virtually everything that contains palm oil. Her request hit on a basic law that our modern society seems to have forgotten. We all, through our purchases, shape the world we live in! If we want a different world, a world that survives into the future, we all need to be more aware of how our purchases contribute to degradation of the Planet. The story of the Orangutan demonstrates in a clear and concise way the interconnection of our actions and the effect of those purchases on something seemingly far removed.
I was struck by the fact that Dr. Galdikas did not ask for one dime the entire night. The lecture was free, thanks to the “Distinguished Speaker” series put on by our local university, UBC Okanagan, and I came away from the evening with an impression of a very strong woman with loads of humility. She spoke to a full house, and her story impacted every person in the theater. She is a wonderful example of a person who has followed her passion to the benefit of us all. I wonder how many of the people at the lecture checked their cupboards for palm oil the next day, and studied up on purchases they can eliminate?
My thanks go to Dr. Galdikas for her life’s work! I am very grateful she came to Kelowna to “Talk Story” with us, she is one person who is “Changing the Way we live on the Planet”, and her passion has had a Global affect!…
**Today is day 1200 for Bob Purdy Paddling For The Planet! Join him and lets send a Wave of Change around the World!
Morning Gratitudes with Leslie Kolovich
Enjoy this 3 minute podcast as I share what I am grateful for this morning. I encourage everyone to take time when you wake in the morning to write down or say out loud what you are grateful for. It really does make a difference for the rest of the day. Starting with positive thoughts sends a good vibe through your body and to the universe.~ With Love Leslie
The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
People And Nature: both bring us full and healthy lives
As people who love the water and love nature, paddlers find great beauty and inspiration in the natural world. We relish the up-close view that paddling brings us, and our ability to explore and experience while treading lightly. The more I experience of nature, the more fascinated I am at its beauty and complexity. I marvel at the connections between various plants and animals, the seasonal changes, and the amazing ways that energy and resources flow within ecosystems.
It’s the way that migrating shorebirds arrive hungry and tired along the shores of Delaware Bay every spring just as horseshoe crabs lay millions of eggs at the water’s edge, ensuring a bountiful feast. Or how seeds germinate and plants sprout green and healthy following fires that sweep through fire-dependent landscapes. As much joy and wonder as I find in those elements of the natural world, I find an equal amount in the people world.
In the grand scheme of things we are part of nature. But by necessity we also live in a human-made world, one that puts roofs over our heads and gives us shelter, climate control, better access to food and mates, and many other advantages. Those advantages are so compelling that human societies have always tended to come together in groups. It is a reflection of the most basic fact about us: We are social creatures. We need each other in order to live fully, and in many ways in order to live at all.
I haven’t always believed this. There have been substantial periods in my life where the quiet, the introspection, the isolation of time in nature was just what I wanted. They were times when I allowed difficulties in the people world to take me to a lower place, and my reaction was to retreat. Those experiences helped me more fully develop my love and appreciation of the natural world—one that came before my full appreciation of my fellow humans. Many of us have done the same, and the peril in that is thinking that nature is somehow better or more pure than humankind.
Until I established a better, loving relationship with myself, I was one to draw that boundary. As I learned to love myself I found myself doing better things with my life, and I watched the world expand wonderfully around me, as if it was loving me back. My relationships with others flourished, as it seemed like wonderful people came into my life on a daily basis. The reality is that we are blessed with attributes like creativity, spirit, and compassion that allow us to live as beautifully as anything in the natural world. Those attributes manifest in many different ways.
There are the architectural details and craftsmanship in a historic church; the way colors and patterns flow in a lovely painting; and the inspiring words of a favorite poem or song. Perhaps the most beautiful and necessary manifestation is the bond between two people in love—one that satisfies the human desires for intimacy and procreation. These are all human qualities, and they are as beautiful, compelling, and necessary to our lives as clean air and water and the forests and waters we love.
The natural world, and the human world…separate in some ways, intimately connected in others. Each is equal in beauty and wonder, and to celebrate them both leads us to lives lived fully.
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Enjoy this little video shot last year after World Paddle 2013. Bob Purdy and Leslie Kolovich are gearing up for World Paddle For The Planet Day 2014. Carrying the spirit and momentum of the incredible event that was held on Coastal Dune Lake Powell, in Panama City Beach at Camp Helen State Park. This year the home base for World Paddle is sure to emanate the experience. Tofino, British Columbia another place on the Planet that will take your breath away! Join us here or on your home waters on September 13th to Paddle For The Planet!
Standing Up For The Planet by Bob Purdy
I am an alcoholic. I am also a drug addict.
I have not touched alcohol or drugs since the spring of 1985. There was a day back then that I woke up in my own apartment, and didn’t recognize where I was. Or who I was. That morning scared the pants off me, and propelled me down a long road to recovery and healing. That long road to recovery continues to this day, and is why after 29 years of sobriety I still consider myself an alcoholic and a drug addict.
My journey down the path of alcohol started in my teens as adolescent experimentation. I was a full blown alcoholic before I reached my 19th Birthday. I knew this addiction was something more than adolescent infatuation when I left my first wife and abandoned my only child when I was 25 years old. I began experimenting with drugs, and it wasn’t long before I needed stronger and bigger highs. I managed to hide my addiction well enough to function in a survival sort of way, at least that’s what I told myself. When I woke up that spring morning in 1985 I was 32 years old, utterly and totally lost, and knew there was something seriously wrong.
It took me until 1997 to discover what it was that was so seriously wrong I felt the need to numb myself. I began to recover memories from the black holes in the memories of my childhood. Memories of unspeakable abuse and violence. Memories that shocked me at first, stuff like this always happens to someone else right. Memories that painted a picture that was both familiar and surreal. Memories that haunt me, and at the same time strangely complete me. Now I know the complete story of where I come from, and in that knowing can actively choose not to abuse or numb myself anymore. I can now take better care of myself and those around me.
I tell you this because I see parallels between my alcohol/drug altered life and our lives on Planet Earth today. I would do anything to get my high, consequences to anyone else be damned. I functioned in a state of continual fog, and wandered through life like a Zombie. The first thing to go in an altered state is the ability to make rational decisions. Once the rational judgement goes out the window the walls of inhibition come tumbling down and anything goes. Waking up with a hangover just became another part of my day for many years. I got to a point near the end of my addiction that I just didn’t care what happened to me, or anyone else, all I focused on was getting my next high.
It was only after I quit that the insanity that I realized the damage I had done, to myself and everybody in my wake.
As frightening as that spring morning in 1985 was, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Today, I find myself in a deep and disturbing state of fear again. I wake up every day and increasingly do not recognize the World in which I live. I see haze, weird clouds and contrails in a sky that was clear when I was a child. Green sludge has replaced Tadpoles, Fish and Plant Life on the bottom of the Lake that I have played in since I was a boy. Forests that are supposed to be green are brown. Vast tracks of swamp and bush have turned into malls and subdivisions. Etc. etc.
Our obsession with making money, saving money, and convenience at any cost is creating a society that functions in an altered state, we are literally sucking the life out of “Mother Earth”. Rational judgement is becoming a rare commodity in today’s world, at what point do we realize the damage we are causing and take steps to create a different “Way”?…
***World Paddle For The Planet September 13, 2014 Tofino, British Columbia***