Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 99: Treat The Planet Right

Out on a Saturday road trip with my daughter, destination, Santa Barbara, land of healthy living and volleyball.

It’s a lovely drive and we drop off highway 101 just as sunset hits. My daughter has a plan… a sand crab hunt. Chasing the sun, we race down Cabrillo Boulevard and settle at the free parking by the volleyball courts.

She grabs her beach stuff and looks at me, “Dad… your camera bag.” Wow, at nine she has learned at an early age to push me with the fortitude of a seasoned producer.

She is right, 365 never takes a break, and even thought we are on family time, she makes this acutely aware to me, “It’s day ninety-nine, you’re almost at one hundred days Dad. Keep going!”

I accept and strap on my forty pounds of backpack for a soft sand workout. By the way, my shoulders, back and neck are starting to get buff. Who knows? Maybe I’m unintentionally developing the upper body exercise fad of the future: “Sand Backpacking?”

On the horizon are several groups of Volleyball games in various stages of play. We see one group that is wrapping up as the cold evening air begins to take its bite (as much as it can in sunny California).

We approach the group, and although they seem interested at first, when the question arises, “Can I photograph you?” they decline.

The beach is mostly empty, but there is one figure further down the coast, a man fishing, boat at side. Maybe he will be interested. If not, no worries. After all, it’s family time. So if he is out, I’ll find someone later.

The sun is touching the mountains now, and as we get closer to our unknown fisherman, he begins to push his boat into the water as he packs up for the day. Oh well, like I said, “I’ll find someone later.”

Here’s one more finding I’m accepting about 365. It really is directing me, and the more I submit to it, the more is drawn to me. And today proves this point.

The moment I acknowledge, not defeat, but acceptance in finding no new friend, a voice strikes me from behind, “Hey, we just finished or game, I have a few minutes before we leave, do you still want to interview me. The others don’t want to, but the project sounds very interesting and I’d like to contribute.”

Stepping up is the wonderfully energetic and fit Bronwyn. At first words, I really like this lady. There is a magic radiating from her and at first question I know why.

It’s cold!! And I want to be courteous to shivering Bronwyn, so without hesitation I go right to interview.

“What words of wisdom do you have for my readers?”

Even though it is tooth chattering cold, Bronwyn delivers a huge smile, “That’s easy… spend time outside!”

Bronwyn’s is magical. And here is my perception to the key of her magic; – she possesses a love for nature and the world around her. With this, it makes sense as to why she is so radiant; Bronwyn is in her element… the outdoors.

Healthy is an understatement in describing Bronwyn. I’m sure many of you have run on the beach. For those of you who have not, know that 100 yards can be a breath taker. In talking to Bronwyn, she is not at the least breathless, even after sprinting 200 yards to catch up with us.

It gets better. She tells me of her career, “Tomorrow I start a new job, so I’m getting in all the outdoor time I can find before I go to the office.” What of this career? How do you cage a graceful bird to a cubical existence?

The answer can be summed up in two words… passion and commitment. Bronwyn’s profession? Environmental Economist. The title is over my head, so we talk about it.

Many of our 365 friends have spoken of a better future for our children. A wonderful sentiment. One that challenges my every action, pushing me to reflect on the impact and consequences of the decisions I make.

“I’m tired of the little gestures.” Bronwyn states.

“If we are going to change, we have to do more, get involved, and educate ourselves. It is amazing how little knowledge our current people know about the environmental impact of industry and population.”

Bronwyn is not bagging on us, she even says, “I’ve been studying this stuff for years and I haven’t even touched the surface of it.”

What she is saying is this. In my words, “’Sure, it is a good thing to recycle our plastics. The positive impact of that alone is great. Yes, I realize we are all busy and can’t find time to know it all. Bronwyn even accepts this in stating, ‘I have been studying the environment for years, and there is no way I can know it all.’”

Here is what I propose, “We need to push a little harder in doing our part.”

Perhaps it’s in the form of an educated vote. Maybe it is a letter to a politician or corporate executive in lobbying for better reforms or initiatives. Or simply, an hour or two a week in Google or other search engines, education ourselves on things we can do in every day life to help the environment. Whatever it is, I suggest we lean it towards Bronwyn’s wishes for the future.

Those wishes, “I’d love to see a day when we are doing more good for the planet than harm.”

Bronwyn, I hear you about the little gestures, I’ll work to do better in understanding what I can do, and again ask you, my readers, to join me in this cause.

Bronwyn, today you have reached out to me in sharing what to you may seem a little gesture in joining 365. My hope is your message touches enough of us to become one large gesture for us all to chomp on. TREAT THE PLANET RIGHT.