Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Innovation, Hope, The Plastiki, & The Royal Wedding

"Our culture has been living as if we are forever young.  We throw things "away" as if there is no tomorrow." ~from the "Op- Ed" by William McDonough (author of Cradle to Cradle), page 61, in David de Rothschild's book Plastiki: Across the Pacific on Plastic: An Adventure to Save Our Oceans.

On a plane this past Friday morning, these are some of the words I was reading, and they really struck a chord with me.  I see this sentiment as symbolic of the expectations and the approach of the young, thinking that they will live forever. We all have done this...and sadly, with age, we learn that in the circle of life, this is neither true or accurate.

In the blink of an eye, babies all of a sudden are school-aged kids. Then, before you know it, those same kids "instantly" grow up and graduate high school then college (or, at least, so it seems). Our parents become grandparents, and our childhood memories become cherished memories as we suddenly are facing the loss of loved ones we never thought would grow old.

They say that wisdom comes with age.  You'd hope so. Yet there are still naysayers out there debating if global warming exists.  IF?!? So much for scientific proof.  (Find some pretty compelling, undeniable, undebate-able proof here: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/).  
As those ocean levels are rising, warming, and increasing in acidity...glacial sheets are shrinking, extreme weather events are increasing, global temperature is rising, and arctic sea ice is diminishing.  All the while, the oceans are becoming more and more crowded with their growing "plastic to plankton" ratio.

Then you have David de Rothschild, who not only tried to think outside the box, but he reinvented the whole shape of the box--to the geodesic hull of the Plastiki.  Relying heavily on biomimicry, his designers shaped the hull using the natural references of the turtle's shell and the horseshoe crab.
"Experimentation and new thinking were woven into every facet of the Plastiki" ~page 53 of David de Rothschild's Plastiki: Across the Pacific on Plastic: An Adventure to Save Our Oceans.
Innovation. That's what it took, and that is what we need. In a world that watches in awe the royal wedding of England's Prince William to Kate Middleton, it becomes evident that the world needs and yearns for good news and hope. It's the same world that is bedraggled by economic downturns, natural disasters, world-wide skirmishes, repeated bad news on the nightly programming, and the inane "reality" shows which know and show nothing of true reality.  In our adoration of the royal wedding, we embrace the vision of hope it inspires. We are a world looking for--craving--hope and innovation.

Hope and innovation...it bears repeating.  Plastiki and its 12,500 plastic bottles and its voyage from San Fran to Sydney last year offered that. Our children offer that. The royal wedding does that...in fact any and all weddings do that.  But it is more than a mere fairy tale. It is a hope for mankind, and it is a belief in mankind. It is an awakening that perhaps we can do better. Think better. Be better. It is just up to each one of us to become creative and inspired people like David de Rothschild, to think outside the box and create brand new, sustainable paradigms.  

Doing this will undoubtedly leave the world a little better than we found it.

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