I received Ronnie’s Globe #12, “Where the Jelly Fish Are”, at a Fulbright meeting at LMU on the west side of Los Angeles around Thanksgiving of 2018. It was a good time to accept the globe, I thought, because I had many things to be thankful for, not the least of which was my family ie. my Indonesian wife and adopted son from Sumatra. I married late in life, at 54 for the first time, and I became a father, also for the first time, at age 68! Both have given me a new and fresh perspective on life: stretching my myopia beyond just myself, along with allowing me to see and experience the beauty and satisfaction of giving.
When I think of my family, naturally I think of Indonesia, where they were both born and raised, an archipelago of about 17,000 islands, in the South China Sea and south of the Malacca Straight, former home to the Dutch East India Company that colonized the area to reap/rape its ecological bounty: spices, rubber, wood from the forests, palm oil and far more. Even today, under an independent Indonesian nation, the natural resources of the country are vastly exploited and quickly disappearing, and much of the local population neither cares or knows about it.
Of course, it has to do with education – that sadly, in “third world” countries, is far “behind” the knowledge and advocacy of our so called Western “first world”. And whereas both my wife and son have strong natural instincts about honesty, family, and self defense that I will never have, they simultaneously grew up without knowledge about keeping the environment clean, recycling resources, or knowing that automobiles burn far too much gasoline. Not their fault. Just a matter of geography and education.
So… accepting the globe was just another way that allowed me to think about my responsibility of educating my family about the earth’s ecology and well being. Simple things like not leaving trash at your feet, like what the blue and green bins of LA do to help save the planet, and like state and national parks being treasures that cost money and require consciousness to preserve and care for. Of course, there are many more things that I sometimes take for granted, and at other times, and far too frequently I’m afraid, I forget about altogether or simply ignore.
I could go on quite a while about ecological responsibility, global warming, and all the rest, but I have a feeling that anyone reading this post probably is familiar with the talking points, and in fact, probably knows far more than I do about ecology, preservation, and advocacy.
But I do believe that education and change start at home. And I have been given the privilege and responsibility, late in life, to pass what I know along to my wife and son, who will be here on the planet long after I am gone. Of course, I worry about the longevity and well being of our planet, and about its ecological fragility that is now, more than ever, in the public eye. And so I ask each of the entrustees of Ronnie’s 25 globes to cherish the opportunity of using the globe for self reflection, action, and advocacy.
We can only save the planet one person, one globe, at a time.
Los Angeles, January, 2019