Broadly, the topics that interest me are water, wellness and wildlife -- with a healthy dose of wonder in the mix.
Specifically, I'm interested in learning about how others are creating common knowledge and changing conversations - and the world - for good.
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My daughters Grayce and Julia and their friend Kanami presented Jackson Browne with an Ocean Hero Award this week. He kicked off his solo acoustic tour in Santa Cruz, a community that loves both him and the ocean.
The award itself is an "Ocean Platter", as the kids called it. One side has a classic Japanese wave, the other side a collage of heartfelt messages "LIVBLUE", "You Rock", "tank you," a smiley face, a peace sign. It's meant to be a beautiful, useful reminder. My brother Josh, a sculptor, guided the kids through the process of making it during an all day session at our local pottery studio, Petroglyph. A true multigenerational artistic collaboration.
The kids presented the award to Jackson on behalf of Save Our Shores, the City of Santa Cruz, and Gateway School. Save Our Shores worked with the city to formally declare February 23, 2011, Jackson Browne Day, and a framed and signed proclamation was shared as well.
The honor recognized Mr. Browne's steady leadership on social and environmental issues, most recently related to plastic pollution. His tour successfully strives to be single-use plastic-free (I forgot to ask about his guitar picks).
The proclamation itself is a series of official sounding "whereas's" and "therefore's" highlighting some of Jackson's tireless work for people and our planet over the past decades. In fact, my brother-in-law recalls hearing the teenage Jackson play at Columbia University in the mid 60's with the gone-too-soon Tim Buckley.
Near its rambling end the official Jackson Brown Day proclamation reaches the statement: "WHEREAS, PEOPLE NEED SOME REASON TO BELIEVE".
When the songwriter got to that line, he stopped. He said, I think about the English language a lot when I write songs. And I've always thought that lyric was missing something. I'll see if I can fit the "whereas" in there tonight during the show when I sing.
Cool, funny, talented and a warrior.
During the show he did fit it in. He paused to explain his personal commitment to fighting plastic pollution and his ocean connection, reflected on how simple it was to change how his tour is run and lamented the amount of unnecessary plastic around the fruit basket in his hotel room. Maybe it was meant to be a backup raincoat in anticipation of this winter downpour?
He thanked the community for their efforts. Then, someone from the crowd in the packed Civic Auditorium shouted, "Happy Jackson Browne Day!" And he said, oh, you know about that?
Yes, we do!
Our local Monterey Bay crew of Save Our Shores, Surfrider, Dan Haifley, Laura Kasa, Manuel Maqueda, Mark Stone, Ximena Waissbluth, Daniella Russo, Dan Cort, Dustin McDonald and many thousands of other organizations and individuals around the world work hard to promote better policies and physically clean up plastic on our coast and ocean. The plastic industry is better funded, highly motivated and intricately enlaced with the world economy and political power.
The relentless grind to make day to day progress against a seemingly endless stream of plastic pollution is critically important.
But so is the music, the celebration, the art. It's the glue, the flow and the fuel for the tiresome work and the grind.
Sometimes, we need to stand together in a crowded hall and sing along with Jackson Browne and his guitar.
"Everyone I know, everywhere I go [WHEREAS] people need some reason to believe..."
Check out Jackson Browne singing his hit song 'Running on Empty'...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson Browne Receives Ocean Hero Award for his Fight Against Plastic Pollution
February 23rd Officially Declared ‘Jackson Browne Day’ in City of Santa Cruz
(February 15th, 2011) Santa Cruz, CA - Save Our Shores (SOS), the leader in ocean advocacy on California’s Central Coast, will honor world famous musician and activist Jackson Browne with their Ocean Hero Award before his solo acoustic tour kicks-off in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, February 23rd. The organization and Santa Cruz Mayor, Ryan Coonerty, will proclaim the date Jackson Browne Day in the City of Santa Cruz.
Jackson Browne is being recognized for his decades of social, environmental and anti-plastic activism, and his ongoing dedication to ocean issues. His work as a pioneering member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition and his heartfelt songwriting reflect his passion for social change.
“It’s not a complicated thing,” said Jackson Browne, in his interview with the Santa Cruz Weekly. “All the plastic the world has ever made is still out there. It doesn’t go anywhere because it doesn’t break down. This is a critical moment in our planet’s life. Plastic was a big mistake, and we need to do something about it."
Save Our Shores could not agree more. The environmental group has removed over 25,000 plastic bags during beach and river cleanups around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary since the summer of 2007 alone, and is currently working to pass measures to ban single-use plastic bags in every municipality and county bordering the Sanctuary.
"Ridding the world of the plastic pollution menace takes rock stars, scientists, kids, activists, inventors, politicians and businesses all rethinking how we use this material,” says Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist and SOS Board Member. “Jackson always leads by example, and puts the burning issues on the line, which is equally as impressive as his considerable musical gifts."
Nichols and Laura Kasa, Executive Director for SOS, accompanied by David Terrazas, Santa Cruz City Council Member and former SOS Board Member, will present Jackson Browne with the Ocean Hero Award during the band’s pre-concert sound check at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. The actual award, a clay, ocean-themed platter with the Jackson Browne Day proclamation inscribed, was generously created by students of the Gateway School in Santa Cruz.
About Save Our Shores:
Save Our Shores is the Central Coast leader in caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy and citizen action. Our core initiatives are Plastic Pollution, Clean Boating, and Ocean Awareness. Over the last 30 years, Save Our Shores helped to establish the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, prevent offshore oil drilling and cruise ship pollution, and today focuses on educating youth about our local watersheds, tackling pollution on our beaches and rivers, implementing our renowned DockWalker program, and providing our community with educated and inspired Sanctuary Stewards. For more information visit: www.saveourshores.org.
WHEREAS JACKSON BROWNE HAS BEEN AN ACTIVE AND PIONEERING MEMBER OF THE PLASTIC POLLUTION COALITION; and
WHEREAS JACKSON BROWNE, THROUGH THE SONG HE WROTE IN 2010 WITH SYLVIA EARLE ABOUT PLASTIC IN THE OCEAN, HAS BEEN RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT OCEAN ISSUES; and
WHEREAS JACKSON BROWNE CAMPAIGNS AGAINST THE UNNECESSARY USE OF PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES AND OTHER DISPOSABLE PLASTICS; and
WHEREAS JACKSON BROWNE TAKES STEPS TO ELIMINATE USE OF PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES ON HIS TOURS; and
WHEREAS JACKSON BROWNE PARTNERS WITH THE GUACAMOLE FUND WHICH SUPPORTS GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS IN THE AREAS OF THE ENVIRONMENT, SOCIAL CHANGE, PEACE, AND ENERGY; and
WHEREAS JACKSON BROWNE USES HIS MUSICAL PLATFORM TO BRING ISSUES OF URGENT SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPORTANCE TO HIS AUDIENCES; and
WHEREAS JACKSON BROWNE DEMONSTRATES IN BOTH HIS LIFE AND ART THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SAVE OUR SHORES OCEAN HERO BY LIVING BLUE AND EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT PLASTIC POLLUTION IN THE OCEAN; and
WHEREAS PEOPLE NEED SOME REASON TO BELIEVE.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RYAN COONERTY, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF SANTA CRUZ, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM FEBRUARY 23, 2011 AS “JACKSON BROWNE DAY” IN THE CITY OF SANTA CRUZ AND ENCOURAGE ALL CITIZENS TO JOIN ME AND SAVE OUR SHORES IN HONORING THIS ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE AS AN “SOS OCEAN HERO” FOR HIS EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF OUR OCEANS.
RYAN COONERTY, MAYOR
Signed and Sealed this 23rd Day of February 2011
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