Images in the Sand Connect Our Global Community

venice protest

Photo by Venice Paparazzi

There are some things we humans have just one of. We have one heart, one liver, one tongue, one nose… Of course, there are probable anomalies to even these similarities. I’m sure in the annals of medicine there are cases of individuals with multiples of even these, although physiologically we humans need just one.

Our organs are individual and perform at different degrees of efficiency. My heart is different from yours, as are the rest of my organs. Although we all have one heart, one liver, one tongue, one nose, etc., we don’t all share the same one, and the ones we have all vary from each other. We’re similar, yet unique.

Okay, by now you’re probably wondering ‘where the hell is she going with this?

Just hang with me for a bit while I try to explain. I know I’m being obtuse and waxing way more philosophical (and physiological) than my average intelligence allows. But I’m inspired to say a bit more…

You see, there is one thing – I’ll qualify this for those who believe in a god by saying, one PHYSICAL thing, that all humans and all living creatures have just one of. In fact, not simply one of, but the same one of. And not simply the same one of, but the same shared one of. It’s the one physical thing I can identify that all beings share, and that all human beings would agree we all share. That one physical thing we all share is our planet.

Our one magnificent planet.

We have but one shared planet, and as I see it, it should be our greatest love. Without it, we physical beings – in fact all physical beings – would cease to exist. We must do all we can to protect it.

venice green day

Photo by Venice Paparazzi

We who are selfish, who sacrifice our planet to fulfill desires not related to sustainment, are earth-perps. Every drowned polar bear incriminates us. Every oil asphyxiated dolphin, pelican and turtle inculpates us. Every decapitated mountain besmirches us. Every toxic landfill debases us.

Any annihilation and destruction that weakens our one planet and destroys its inhabitants for reasons other than essential sustenance, dehumanizes us. Plain and simple.

For centuries, our planet has been victimized by the reasoning beings it sustains. As years have progressed, we reasoning beings have victimized it more and more. We’re killing it with fossil fuels. We’re murdering our only home with the poisons of organisms millions of years decomposed. And I’m helping. I drive a car. I use electricity. I own products of petroleum base. My culpability and criminality are daily. I’m an earth-perp. And I really need to change.

What’s odd is… even though I’m an earth-perp, and have been my life long, to others on our planet I’m still not baad enough. They want me to do even more harm. I’m mocked for scrupulous recycling. I’m dumb for not eating animals. I’m strange for not relishing leather. I’m nuts for refusing plastic bottles. I’m crazy for gray-watering plants. I’m just a loon. I cry for the rain forest. I pine for the ice caps. I grieve over the spill in our ocean. But as planet-loving as those others believe I am, to me, I’m barely planet-loving at all. I’m an earth-perp. I’m part of the problem. And I need to change.

So I seek community.

I gravitate to the like-minded. Those I seek share my shame and my pain and are working to make needed changes. We mourn the spill in the gulf. Its catastrophe overwhelms us, even at this, its very early stages. No one yet is cognizant of how damaging it will be. The predictions of eco-system destruction are unfathomable. We’ve attacked from below in the subaqueous riches of our planet. We’ve exploded its insides and its poisons are spilling out. We are earth’s most deadly inhabitants.

Photo by Linda Milazzo

My like-minded community suffers the pain of knowing how reckless we are, and inferior to resolve our own havoc. We suffer knowing that greed trumps the blow-back of irreversible harm. We’ve decimated the oceans, the forests, the habitats, the animals, and the people of earth’s most plentiful regions.

I seek community, and I need that community to grow.

This past week on the Huffington Post, Stefanie Sekich posted a blog about the global Hands Across The Sand events scheduled for this past Saturday. I’d already known I was attending one in Venice, California, organized by CODEPINK. We were to create an aerial image directed by artist, John Quigley, with people standing joining hands, and others positioned on the sand, forming words that sent messages. I was anticipating the event – not because I fool-heartily believed it would quell the gulf spill.

Of course not.

I was anticipating the event because, at this moment, unity and community are what I can give, and what I most need. I grew up on the ocean. I treasure it more than anything. It’s been my solace, my guru, my inspiration and my friend. I wanted to face it in communion with others to express my apology, commitment and love.

I commented on Stefanie’s blog, “Yes Stefanie… I absolutely plan to be there!!”

Right after my comment, a second commenter wrote, “Waste of time…”

venice green day protest

Photo by Patricia Foulkrod

As a writer and activist, I’m used to being critiqued by those who don’t agree, and by those who question my actions. But where most comments have minor affect, this “Waste of time…” annoyed me. I thought a lot about it.

If the commenter meant our beach action wouldn’t stop the oil from spilling, he was correct. If he meant by holding hands, we couldn’t affect corporate greed or government ineptitude, he was correct. But as to being a “waste of time” – on that he was dead wrong.

What that commenter failed to understand is the value of communal passion and shared expression. What that commenter failed to understand is the need for unity and community during crisis – particularly this crisis – that affects the one physical thing we ALL share and cannot exist without.

We have but one planet. It should be the love of our lives, and we need to save it together – as one global family.

There are ways we can learn.

In February, 2009, I attended a screening of Fuel, winner of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary. It’s directed and narrated by young filmmaker and environmentalist, Josh Tickell, who grew up Louisiana. A year and a half ago, when I first saw Josh’s movie, it affected me deeply. I was particularly struck by its many scenes describing the harmful effects of oil and oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fortunately, I have the FuelDVD at home. After our Hands Across the Sand action, I watched the film again and found it more informative than ever – on the gulf oil region – and on the effects of oil on our planet.

Here’s the trailer. If you want to learn more about oil, Fuel is the film to see.

As to the comment that our Hands Across The Sand was a waste of time, I believe it was quite the opposite. It was a success for those who were there.

linda_milazzo.jpgDid our actions stop the oil spill? Of course not.

Did we express our love for our planet as part of the global community, creatively, and in unity?

The article shows  more photos. You be the judge:

From my perspective, this was no waste of time. We have just ONE planet. We need to collectively honor it. And we all must change to save it.

Linda Milazzo

Published by the LA Progressive on June 29, 2010
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About Linda Milazzo

Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based participatory journalist and educator. Since 1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry, government organizations, community development projects and educational programs.

Linda began her writing career in advertising and promotions. From 1976 to 1989, she operated an independent public relations service providing specialty writing for individual and corporate clients. A socio-political activist since the Vietnam war, Linda has focused on political writing since 2002. Her essays, letters and commentaries have appeared in domestic and international journals, newspapers and magazines. She's an educator and creator of a writers' program she's taught privately and in public schools.

Linda has facilitated an advocacy writing workshop and has developed an advocacy writing program for implementation in public and private educational institutions and in community based organizations. She's a regular contributor to numerous high profile and highly respected news and opinion websites.