Good People Doing Good Things – For Mother Earth (Redux)

Earth Day 2018-4Well, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea for this morning’s post.  Since today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I thought to combine ‘good people’ with Earth Day … you know, good people doing good things for the planet on Earth Day?  Sadly, it didn’t pan out, though, for it appears that in the shadow of coronavirus, the planet has been forgotten.  😔 Nobody seems to care at the moment, and I was able to find not a single incident of even something as simple as someone picking up trash around the neighborhood or off the beach.  So disappointed was I that I lost the incentive to keep looking, thus I am reduxing a post from June 2017, a time when people were doing good things for the planet.  Tomorrow, Miss Goose and I will be picking up trash at the park behind our house.  Happy Earth Day.


Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans. – Evo Morales

This week in my search for good people I found several examples of people spending their time doing good things for the environment, so I decided to follow that theme, in honour of World Environment Day, which was earlier this month on June 5th.  While some may greedily take from the Earth without a thought of giving back, there are many who are dedicated to helping clean up and protect our environment.  Let us look at just a few of those people.

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In Mumbai India, a lawyer by the name of Afroz Shah brought together over 2,000 volunteers to clean up a 2-mile stretch of Versova Beach.  The group collectively picked up over 160 tons of trash from the beach, but they didn’t stop there!  They also planted 500 coconut trees!

The group was comprised of local students, local business people, and members of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). This in itself is impressive, but what I find most admirable about Mr. Shah is that his commitment is long-term … for the past 87 weekends he has spent his time organizing community clean-ups on the beach.

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Afroz Shah

In the words of one local fisherman, “Before this movement, we were helpless when we saw garbage affecting the marine life, but nothing was done about it. However, after the clean-up drive, we can see the difference. We have realized that if the entire fishing community of Versova comes together, there will be no plastic in sight.”

My hat is off to Mr. Shah for his tremendous and inspirational efforts!  See … there are even good lawyers in the world!


rokkeKjell Inge Røkke (please do NOT ask Filosofa how to pronounce this name!) started his career as a fisherman at the age of 18, with neither a high school nor college education.  His rise in business is a story in itself, but will have to wait for another day, for today’s topic is what he is doing for the environment.  Røkke is considered to be one of the ten wealthiest people in Norway, with a net worth equal to $2.6 billion USD.

On 16 May 2017 Røkke announced that he is funding the purchase of a giant research vessel. The ship is built in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in Norway. The Research Expedition Vessel (REV) is a 600-foot vessel that will maneuver the ocean’s waters sucking up plastic waste. Capable of accumulating and recycling up to 5 tons of plastic per day, the REV will also double as a mobile laboratory for scientists to monitor and observe the ocean’s ecosystems.

Once completed, the ship will accommodate 60 scientists who will ‘monitor and observe the ocean’s ecosystems’.  The scientists on board will have some of the most hi-tech research equipment available to them in order to properly observe the seas. Røkke hopes that the team will be able to utilize these facilities to discover new ways in assisting and nourishing the ocean’s struggling ecosystems.

“I am a fisherman, and curious by nature. Resources in the oceans and on the seabed have provided significant value for society – and also for my family and myself. For this, I am very grateful. However, the oceans are also under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification, and one of the most pressing challenges of all, plasticization of the ocean. The need for knowledge and solutions is pressing.”

Røkke told Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper that he wanted “to give back to society what I’ve earned” and described the cost of the ship as costing “the lion’s share of his fortune”.


vetpawThink about this pairing:  veterans coming home, feeling displaced, often suffering from PTSD or other physical/emotional injuries … and … species of wildlife endangered by poachers with little or no conscience, willing to kill an animal as a trophy or for profit.  How do those two connect, you ask.  The answer is Veterans Empowered To Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW).

According to their website, VETPAW “provides meaningful employment to post-9/11 veterans, utilizing their expertise to train and support Africa’s anti-poaching rangers to prevent the extermination of keystone African wildlife, and the disastrous economic and environmental impact it would have.”

rhino.jpgFounded by former marine Ryan Tate and his wife Jeanne, the group of US military veterans he has assembled work in a remote private reserve in the far north of South Africa.  African park rangers are often shot by the poachers who are intent on killing animals for their ivory tusks or horns. With the training and assistance provided by the VETPAW soldiers, conservationists can work to defend the massive mammals, while knowing someone has their own back.

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Ryan Tate

The program has resulted in a 11% drop in the number of rhinos killed during the first half of 2016.  Rhino horns are made of keratin, the same substance as fingernails, yet a kilo is worth up to $65,000. South Africa is home to 80% of the world’s wild rhinos.  The poachers are often criminal gangs, armed to the teeth, well-funded and part of transnational syndicates who will stop at nothing.

VETPAW is serving two important functions by helping preserve the wild rhino and other endangered animals, but also giving returning vets a purpose in life, a focus.  And there is another benefit from this program … local farmers and communities say they are safer now, as the poachers frequently posed a threat to them.


There is no single cause that is more important than protecting our planet, our oceans, forests, and wildlife.  We cannot all go protect wildlife in South Africa, or purchase a billion-dollar boat to clean up the oceans, but isn’t it good to know that there are people out there doing just that?  And we can do small things that make a difference.

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35 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things – For Mother Earth (Redux)

  1. This is not a redux for me, but new. I was not one of the fortunate followers back in 2017. Though it is indeed well worth the revisit by those who have previously enjoyed this post. We are guests of the Earth, not the owners, and have abused the privileges and gifts that have been given to us. Were the Earth able to smile, I rather doubt that she would…a frown and tears is more likely. I’m reminded of some words that Kurt Vonnegut said, though in truth they are a shorter version of those from the XlVth Dalai Lama : “If you can do no good, at least do no harm.” The Earth would appreciate even that shortcoming from the human inhabitants. Thank-you!

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    • After I thought about it, it was probably new for about half of my readers, for I did not have nearly as many followers in 2017 as I have today. I think the planet cries in pain every day for the atrocities we have reigned upon her. I’d much rather live amongst trees, flowers, and woodland critters than high-rise buildings, auto fumes and black smoke belching from factories. We have decimated this planet in so many ways … 😥

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  2. Thanks for sharing and Happy Earth Day!!.. I grew up on a farm in the 1940’s, ’50’s and early 1960’s and my Dad always said “if I take care of the land, the land will take care of me”.. unfortunately for many in today’s societies it is all about wealth and self-gratification and well deny anything that may pose a threat to that ideology… but there is hope… 🙂

    “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ( Mother Teresa)

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  3. I finally left living at the beach partly due to having to witness humans behaving like pigs. I hope people finally catch on to the ugliness of littering. Also, some countries have a long way to go to eliminate their citizen’s ignorant behavior.

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  4. Strangely enough, I think the virus itself has been helping the planet, and in some places it sounds like there isn’t even garbage to pick up, and skies are clear for the first time in decades. So, silver linings,,,

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    • True, but it’s only as a result of people not traveling by car, bus or plane, and factories being closed. Once all of that returns to it’s pre-March status, the skies will be just as smoggy as before. Sigh. 😥

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  5. Jill, it is great to see these stories. I am constantly reminded, when people in position of leadership don’t lead or care too much about their own hind end, others just move forward without them. The world is working together in spite of incumbents being too interested in looking good. It would be nice if they abetted these efforts, but people will go beyond the call. Keith

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    • Thanks Keith … it IS great to see these stories, but it would be even more great if they were still happening today. Sure, the planet is getting a much-needed rest from carbon emissions now, but the minute shops open back up, and planes begin to fly again … it will take but a week to put it back the way it was. Meanwhile, people have increased their use of plastics, are creating more garbage, and throwing those damn masks and rubber gloves everywhere! Sigh. Maybe mankind will awaken before it’s too late, but I’ve lost hope for that.

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      • Jill, I watched a portion of a documentary on plastics. What many don’t realize is China stopped taking the world’s plastics a couple of years ago. So, where is unrecycled plastic going? Landfills, beaches and oceans. And, the plastic bits end up in fish we eat. This is not a climate change centric issue, it is short-sighted environmental degradation.

        Kids and young adults should push this envelope to get demonstrative action. But, it is more important for that kid to have a gun than protect his or her environment. I guess they can shoot the plastic off their property. Keith

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        • Yep, exactly so … it’s ending up in the landfills and oceans, where it will remain for … forever, for it is not biodegradable. Why hasn’t a biodegradable substitute been developed and marketed? Well, there is one, but since plastic is a product of the petrochemical industry, a division of the oil industry … it is not widely even known! In fact, I wasn’t aware of it until recently when Scottie sent me a link. Sacrifice lives and the planet … for corporate profits. This is why I think capitalism in this country has run amok.

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    • Indeed, the earth began to sing about two weeks ago, but … you and I both know that as soon as factories open, planes start to fly again, and people are driving everywhere, it will revert to just like it was before mid-March. And … it seems like people are actually using more single-use plastic now, so … a mixed bag. Still, do try to keep a positive outlook … I struggle to, but if you can, then maybe it will be contagious and I’ll find one, too.

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  6. Is it possible that no one is thinking about what we are ding to the planet? Is it possible that we can only think about one thing at a time? Probably so. But sad.
    I would just add that to is absurd to speak about the earth having “rights.” It’s also absurd to say trees and animals have rights. The key here is that WE have the obligation to do the right thing, to treat the earth and other animals with the same respect we have for one another. It’s not about “rights” at all.

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    • Apparently that is the case … while they are cowering in fear of catching the coronavirus, the idea of saving the planet has flown out the window and no longer seems to matter, as they increase their reliance on single-use plastics and throw their damnable masks and gloves on the ground for the few of us who remember our duty to planet earth to pick up. You’re right … every plant, every critter, every lifeform was here before humans and if we don’t take our obligations seriously, then perhaps it’s time the human species ceased to exist. Sigh.

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  7. Thank you, Jill.
    Just in case anyone is interested, the wildfire that devastated northern Alberta is reported to have survived the winter. If it will flare up or not this year, no one can say, but it will be there, waiting for anything that might make it blaze again. What with the Covid-19 pandemic, evacuating people would be a logistical nightmare. We are hoping for a very wet summer.

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    • OH NO!!! How … how did it survive the winter? Does that mean it’s still smoldering? Didn’t it pretty much decimate all the trees last year? I shall keep my fingers crossed for a VERY wet summer for you guys! Give Gail hugs for me, by the way … and one for yourself.

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      • It did decimate a number of trees, but skipped right around others. Don’t ask me how.
        Yeah, it is smouldering as we speak. And there are enough trees standing that it could do it all again.

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  8. But we shouldn’t be waiting for others to start, we can do our bit too.Our beaches always need the rubbish removing and there are plenty of places in town and cities where you could start.Go onmm Be a Hero.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not waiting for others … been trying to do my small part for years now, but … it sure would be nice if others joined it. All of a sudden, even those who were once environmentally aware, seem only able to think of themselves. Sigh. Some days, I hate this world.
      Cwtch

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