Good People Doing Good Things – For Mother Earth

Last night, I was literally glued to my laptop screen for over three hours watching a ping-pong match in Georgia between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.  By the time the race was finally called (the better candidate did win, in case any don’t know yet) at around 10:30, I was exhausted and my eyes felt like sandpaper, for I didn’t even blink much!  So, long story short, today’s ‘good people’ post is a reprise of one of my first ‘good people’ posts back in 2017.  I think this is one that bears repeating, for what these good people are doing will benefit us all, no matter what country you reside in, no matter your gender or ethnicity.

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.


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.


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.


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.


31 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things – For Mother Earth

  1. Pingback: Good People Doing Good Things – For Mother Earth — Filosofa’s Word – MARY CALVO

  2. I was lucky enough to have visited Mumbai 10 years ago (November 2012) and yes, the pollution really stood out to me. I remember reading about this clean up initiative and how wonderful and much needed!

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    • That is awesome, Ab! I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who traveled to Mumbai! I’m really happy that the word of this project has spread far and wide … I keep meaning to go in search of an update, but … you know how time slips away and the “best laid plans of mice and men …”?

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  3. Pingback: Good People Doing Good Things – For Mother Earth — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

    • Too many people completely turn a blind eye to climate change, believing instead the lies and ‘disinformation’ put out by those with a vested interest in the fossil fuel and other industries. We must work on opening the eyes of the public, removing their rose-coloured glasses, for it will require each of us doing our part to solve this problem before it is too late. The time for prevention, as my friend Janet said, has passed and we must now figure out how to clean up the mess. Glad you enjoyed the stories!!!

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      • I don’t know how it is in the US. Over here, people are pretty aware of the fact that we need to act right here and right now. Many are willing to invest money or at least change their habits. Yes, prevention was… we need to take constructive action!
        I am producing and selling natural cosmetic and I take care that from the ingredients until the packaging everything is environment friendly and sustainable, aside from only using pure nature.
        We installed a photovoltaic system and exchanged our gaz heating system with an air heat pump. Also we sold my beloved Dodge Durango and went for an electric car. And I can tell that we are not the only ones at all.

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        • I truly wish it were that way here. Many of us are all too aware of the effects of climate change, and we believe the models and predictions by the scientific community. However, the fossil fuel, logging, and other industries here have an oversized influence. They spend millions of dollars every year to boost the campaigns of candidates for Congress who will agree to vote against any legislation that would cut into their profits. Then, they spend millions more putting out lies and disinformation to the public. The public readily believes the lies because they LIKE keeping their homes at the perfect temperature, driving their gas-guzzling SUVs all over town, sometimes even just to the end of the street, they LIKE flying to Las Vegas for a weekend of fun, etc. They LIKE their conveniences and don’t want to give them up, so they readily accept it when they hear that climate change is blown out of proportion, or is a hoax perpetuated by George Soros or … Jewish space lasers! Then, when a bill placing regulations on industries comes before Congress, those members of Congress who took money from the oil/coal/gas industries just say, “Well, my people don’t want this bill, so I won’t support it.” And the bill dies. Meanwhile, the West Coast burns, hurricanes devastate coastal states, the air becomes harder to breathe, and we are inching ever closer to a time when food and water will be scarce. I wish the people and government of the U.S. would open their eyes as your country and your family obviously have! Thumbs up to you!!!

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          • That’s the big problem. If those who can afford their luxury life set an example by changing their lifestyle, everyone else will understand more how serious it all is – when even they don’t fly to the next city with their private jets only for a coffee or a dinner.
            When we lived in the US, we lived in a two bedroom apartment. It was like a wooden box, no isolation at all. The heating system blew warm air into the rooms (or cold in the summer). But since there was no isolation you had to have it blowing all day long. I am not surprised that the energy demand is that high. Over here we have brick walls plus isolations around the house. Also, air condition in private houses are prohibited.

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            • Oh, I didn’t know you had lived in the U.S.! Where, if I may ask? We have the luxury of being able to set our own thermostat and heat or cool our own home to our desire, and I try to be frugal, but admittedly sometimes I turn it too far one way or another. I am trying to do better, remembering a time long ago when we had only a wood stove for heat and no air-conditioning! I’m amazed that air-conditioning in private houses is prohibited in Liechtenstein … does it get very hot there in the summer? Frankly, though, the day may come, sooner than we think, when there is no electricity anywhere in the world, so air-conditioning will become a moot point.

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              • We lived in Williamsville (suburbs of Buffalo, western New York), only 45 minutes away from the Niagara Falls. It is a beautiful area. Our second child was born over there.
                We had the opportunity too, but since there was no isolation and such thin walls, everything went off instantly if you shut it off. However, we have this here too with a central heating where we can control the temperature but we keep it low. Also we have a floor heating which runs on lower temps anyway.
                It is not allowed in Switzerland too, as far as I know, and probably also in Austria (but not sure). It can get very hot (think of climate change). This summer we were mostly between 90 and 100 °F. But due to the isolation around that house and the roof, it takes longer until the heat gets in.
                Yes, electricity is a matter that needs to be approached now! We need to work with alternatives, regardless the price. It is our future… or not.

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                • Too many people are not convinced that we are heading toward disaster if we don’t change our ways, and they are selfish in wanting their conveniences. A lady across the street puts her trash on top of her car, then drives to the end of the street (about 50 steps) to deposit it in the dumpster. In the winter, she lets her car warm up before making that trip to the end of the street! 🙄

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  4. Little people and people with Big money can all do something. The ship project sounds great, we need people who have the wherewithal to get Big projects going and this is what it takes. We have got past the stage of prevention, now we need to clear up our terrible mess.

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    • You are so right … I’m working on a post about how those with vested interests in ignoring climate change (mainly fossil fuel industry) are finding more underhanded ways to spread lies and ‘disinformation’ to keep people from taking climate change seriously. Don’t they realize they are putting future generations at risk??? Or don’t they care? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


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