A light begins to shine

As i was on my morning run around the Sutera Harbor Resort grounds i looked up to see a banner about a coming event. the picture at the top caught my eye, it was the famed Dr. David Suzuki!((http://www.seedmalaysia.com.my/index.php/speakers/speaker-for-conference/david-suzuki) This lifelong activist is from Vancouver BC, just a hop from old home town of Friday Harbor. Years ago i was in a small store in the Gulf Islands, found one of his books and as i was about to buy it looked up to see the author in the checkout line. One of those serendipitous events that stick with you for a lifetime. So seeing that he would be right here at my marina was a great thrill.

With some help of the great staff here i was introduced to the organizers and invited to attend the greeting dinner. A search of Furthur and found the needed albeit rarely used attire, slacks, dress shirt and –yuk–shoes and socks. Been a while since i dressed so well.

I was cordially welcomed at the event attended by many young, bright eyed Malaysians and some government officials. Dr. Suzuki was the first speaker, and as i predicted, riveting as he told of the perilous future of our planet and that now is the time to act, now!

i introduced myself at the reception and we talked about mutual friends, Paul Spong, Paul Whatson and others from our region with long standing valor. We got a good laugh exchanging some of the less known tales. Dr. suzuki chuckled as he remembered twenty years ago when the Malaysian government labeled him persona nongrata for his work against deforestation, now he an honored guest.

Back to the speakers the next man to speak, Matthias Gelber, was truly invigorating, such passion, humor and logic. He was clearly inspiring. Known as “The Green Man” he was named “the most green man on the planet”.(http://www.seedmalaysia.com.my/index.php/speakers/speaker-for-conference/matthias-gelber) Gelber has found that great path that combines his passion and his vocation, he is a consultant for companies that want to “go green” and yet save money. When asked what five things one can do to save the planet his answers were intriguing as they describe life on any cruising boat: use less electricity, use less water, bur green when possible, only buy what you absolutely need and will use, and for a bit of humor the bald man suggested shaving your head as it saves water.

I look back at my youth and the emergence of environmental awareness that grew in the USA in the 50/60’s. i remember the introduction of the term “litterbug” a term that transformed a common practice into a social sin. Kids harangued their parents not to litter. The fundamental organizations that took the US into the age of green all started when i was a kid. Keep America Beautiful hit the mark with its epic TV spot showing the aging Native American looking over a litter skewed scene with a tear in his eye.

it was our generation that changed our parents and then raised our kids to be “green”. the great names in the enviro world are mostly from the baby boomer age, now passing the torch off to the youth of America. i know from the so many wonderful young crew i have had that this torch has successfully passed and is burning bright.

Now we see that light coming to SE Asia, dim at first and fighting against extreme challenges but burning all the same. the room full of bright eyed young Malaysians so eager to learn and act gave me great hope, hope for the future of this fragile and beautiful part of the world.