Sunday, February 13, 2011

To my friends

I've noticed that recently my fb site is packed full of environmental articles.

To maintain my connection to my party friends, fb friends, christian friends, and social connections-- dictates that I shouldn't obsess too much about one particular subject---um, and become a bore so to speak :)

There are so many social justice issues and poverty the rest of the world is facing that to make a concentrated effort on environmental issue seems, uncaring and cold?

But let me tell you that having lived in a different part of the world, in an area where pollution, environmental degradation ran rampant, and lack of proper waste management existed, I understood that a lack of concern about rubbish and the environment, exacerbates the feeling of poverty, and insure that the future is bleak.

In 2007, the United Nations Security Council put climate change on it's agenda, warning that it could serve as a catalyst for new conflicts around the world leading to migration, reduction of global food supply, increased risk for infectious diseases, and fighting over limited resources.

So I guess, my involvement and passion for doing something about the environmental issue stems from my desire to prevent future problems, looking ahead, and at the same time from my connection to nature, the ocean, the trees, the birds, and people--and in Biblical terms (because this is the narrative of how I was raised) we were given "Stewardship" over Earth. God called what was created "good" and in the New Testament, when the centurion calls Jesus "Good Master"--Jesus replied, "Why call me Good? Do you know only God is Good?" If you connect the dots--you'll see, what I see, and what hundreds of holy men and women, and shamans across the globe, found--our connection to the earth brings us closer to the Light, and strengthens our connection to each other.

Share this journey with me, discover the issues with me, and let's take Stewardship to another level.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Frontlining in Fifth Avenue

I have to release some of these pent up energy from the streets of NYC.

Yes, I am a Greenpeace frontliner, otherwise known as street canvasser. This is my first week on the street after making staff. And all staff, from top to bottom, are street canvassers.

Yesterday, we canvassed Fifth Avenue, near 59th street. I wish this was a blast. But ah.....

Let me describe these area of New York to you--LABELS, LABELS, LABELS
Including Prada, Givenchy, Gucci, Tiffany's to name a few.

I don't have a fully developed street mentality, well, not yet, anyway.
I've got the mentality that most "cool" party people have--I'm too good for this bullshit, too talented, too cool, et cetera, et cetera. I've dated famous people, I'm friends with millionaires and very talented wealthy people, I could leave this all behind and go sailing and be "cool" again, and so on and so forth.

So going into street canvassing with the remnants of this arrogant attitude is a tad bit, difficult.

Already! I'm faced with the challenge that in the first place, NOBODY and I mean nobody wants to stop in the streets to talk to an environmental activist when they just went inside and spent $1500 on a handbag.

So why am I doing this again?
Well, many reasons.

1. On a personal level, I've gone soft from the years of telling myself "I'm too good for this". I don't like acting like a prima dona especially if I haven't accomplished anything for myself and I'm living off other people's fame, and good fortune.
And I'm gonna tell you, there's nothing like canvassing on the streets of NYC in the middle of winter to fix the problem.

2. On an activist level, I love meeting and talking to very smart people and learning how to frame the issue which I feel very strongly about and convince people to look at the situation through my lenses!

3. On a road to success level, being out on the streets teaches me so many angles, from selling, from empathizing, from taking control of a conversation, being more eloquent and convincing and just knowing more about the issues.

4. On a cool level, I work for Greenpeace--which if you hear my spill on the streets goes something like this--"the world's oldest, largest, independent, environmental organization."
Dude, like seriously? We have boats and eco warriors that jump in front of Japanese "RESEARCH" vessels in order to stop the killing of whales. To me that is even more commendable than serving in any branch of the military.

So now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me describe a situation yesterday that put a damper on my bubble.

I was standing in front of Playboy Enterprises, and there was this girl, hanging out with a couple of douchebags. In my books, this girl was someone I probably would be friends with if we met in a party. So I go, "whatsup!" Obviously, seeing that I am someone that looks familiar, she was pretty cool....
Then I started telling her about the environmental issues. Maybe I should have played the cool card and avoided talking to her completely--but that would defeat the purpose of being out on the streets as a canvasser, targeting people that you inwardly know cares about the issues.

I would have moved on to the next target until the two douchebags played a mindgame. Of course, I knew they were playing a game that most arrogant people play with canvassers. I've been on arrogant people's shoes! The douche goes "Hey! she really wants to talk about environmental issues! She was just telling us a few minutes ago about it."
Meanwhile, she was protesting, "Please! Please don't waste your time on me. Don't listen to them! I really could care less about these issues!"
So for a few minutes longer, I kept going, just to go with the game that the two douche were playing. But then of course, I moved on because nobody likes to be harassed on the streets.
But at the same rate, I'm analyzing whether I should have harassed them more, or was there a different, more "cooler" way to accomplish my objective?
Americans really really do need to wake up to this attitude of a lack of environmental responsibility! Being "cool" and acting like some kind of a hotshot when you're not is such a complete waste of time.

Needless to say, for a minute, I felt a little like some Korean Bible preacher on the streets preaching hell and damnation.

But I felt better when an hour later, some guy from Germany, runs up to me to thank me for what I'm doing. He says that Greenpeace Germany has accomplished so much for his country and watching me, he understands why Greenpeace USA is funded by Greenpeace Europe--literally, Americans are environmentally challenged.

Ah! the story doesn't end there of course. Later, I met a super-uber dork who educates me on the issues of wind farming, solar energy, greenhouse gas emissions and how complicated the issues are. Which makes me want to say, wait, wait a minute, I don't know enough about the issues to be out here on the streets!

This is true of course. But my political activist self understands that the course of the future is paved by what we do today. So if I say, I'm NOT going to act until I know more, then I'm literally, sitting put accumulating knowledge, becoming a walking, talking human computer--emotionless/practical/and out of touch with what it takes to change the masses.

So, yes. I'm continuing with my task and job as frontliner.
AND later on, I was rewarded with cool--hanging out on a starry night on Arctic Sunrise, listening to a band play some kickass music.