Friday, October 17, 2003

Working in reverse

I read a poem at the "Day of Ray" celebration in Jack London Square last Sunday. It was an excellent event with many fine bands and booths representing many of the organizations that Ray supported or was an active member of. There was a Native American drumming group that spoke of songs written from a person's first screams when they are born. And the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation that did dances from the Solomon Islands. I'm not sure how Ray did it. How he managed to balance all these things in his life. He was on the board of at least a dozen organizations on top of being everything else.

Now that Ray is gone. I think a lot of the people who knew him are asking the same question. How did he do it? How can we do the same in the hopes of filling the void he left behind? But in seeing all these people there, it seems to me that Ray wouldn't ask any of us to be like him, but instead be who we are, and do what we do.

They played a video about people speaking about Ray. And appropriately enough, Ray spoke the last words, from an inspirational talk he gave:

Be like water. Be gentle with the things that come along your flow. Be gentle with the thing that come along your flow. Be like water. Through the rapids, gurgle and bubble if you must. Through the rapids, gurgle and bubble if you must. Knowing, that the pieces of you will come together as one again to form your stream. Be soft. Be gentle. Like water.

[not quite a direct quote, but the phrases that stuck in my mind]

In the spirit of Ray, and in the idea that each person does what they can, a list of "ten simple things you can do to save coral reefs."

From the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation:

  1. Conserve water - the less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater will pollute our oceans.
  2. Use only ecological or organic fertilizers in your gardens and on your lawns. Chemicals and pesticides flow into the water system, pollute the ocean, and can travel on ocean currents at great distances, doing harm to coral reefs and other sea life.
  3. Plant a Tree - you will reduce runoff into the oceans. You will also contribute to reversing the global warming of our planet and the rising temperatures of our oceans.
  4. Organize a beach clean-up. Garbage pollutes ocean waters and harms coral reefs and other sea life.
  5. When you visit a coral reef, practice reef safe diving and snorkeling. Do not touch the reef or anchor your boat on the reef.
  6. Interview your family, friends, and neighbors. Ask them what they know about coral reefs and the coral reef crisis. Ask them what they are doing to save coral reefs.
  7. Write to your government representatives and demand they take action to protect coral reefs, stop sewage pollution of our oceans, expand marine protected areas and take steps to reverse global warming.
  8. Support and volunteer for organizations like PCRF that work to protect coral reefs, oceans, rivers, lakes or other waters in your area. Clean water is important everywhere. All watersheds affect the oceans and eventually, the coral reefs.
  9. Learn more about coral reefs, their remarkable biodiversity and the special role they play as messengers for the health of our oceans and the world.
  10. Build Wastewater Gardens (ecological waste recycling systems) in your home, school, or community.

The Philippines has some of the richest coral reefs in the world. Efforts continue in education to local fishermen who help protect and maintain the reefs by using non-poisoning methods of fishing and to reduce dynamite fishing. (Check my June archives about diving in Camiguin, Philippines). Though we're an ocean away, the efforts we make here are only a shoreline away.

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