Posts Tagged ‘humanitarian’

The Importance of Water

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
AzureRose

AzureRose

 

The image above was shot in Maldives, an island Nation which lies approx. 1200 SE of India and in comprised mostly of water.

The man in the frame is Jon Rose. I am not sure why, but frequently my work tends to be prophetic in nature. This message above is a good example of that.

For those of us who live our lives around the Sea, the significance of water is an ever present issue for us. Life is all about Flow. In fact, one of the groups which I am a member of, Triiibes, just put on a global retreat here in Ventura along the theme of Flow, which held deep significance to all who attended.

When I was on Bali earlier this year, I ran across the story of a man who brought clean water to over 50 villages on Bali which exist in an area with little clean drinkable water. That man had been Jon Rose. He went on to found this organization, Waves for Water.

There is little which is as important as water to man, and this blue ball which he lives on. It is no secret that just as Nations use oil as an economic lever, and go to war over it, there is a looming battle over water rights Globally, Nationally, and yes one is possibly even coming to your own town. You can see it as clearly as a wave headed to shore. Why? Because water is life, and if you control life, you have power.

It is no secret that my little town of Ventura, is getting ready to do the same thing: exercise greater control over water and the fees which it will charge for access to it by local residents. In fact, we have a telltale of the direction in which they plan to go with water. They hired a PR firm for a distinct purpose. Now you may be scratching your head a bit about this. PR firm? What?

Ventura has a history of late, related to our City Manager who was brought in to work here from another town (where he was fairly unpopular) in order to implement a tenet termed Sustainable Urban Redevelopment. That has not gone well for him here. Many of us are ready to run him out of town on a rail over his management track record which has brought the City all manner of wonderful income and personality downgrades, and cost us a fortune in money and Community Unity.

Red light cameras, parking meters, onerous and proacative code enforcement where you need (legally speaking) to pay a permit fee for basic elements of home maintenance, and now this, a threat of radically increased water fees to help offset the massive fiscal loss of all the other programs. My town invited the devil in. They may need to perform an exorcism.

Water is globally agreed on as a basic human right. Watch this and get a glimpse of how water rights affect us.

The latest wave looming is in water. Rumor has it that residents will be seeing more increases in water-sewer rates to the tune of a fairly substantial and potentially fiscally debilitating increase, that will serve to both line ailing City coffers as well as milk local residents over the performance of our City Mgr, which is underscored by dire economic times.

But water?

Of course.

Recently I received a letter from the City, advertising a VERY cool film called Flow. Flow is all about the value of water. The film screened here in Ventura at the Ventura Film Society’s festival a couple years back. I am well aware of it, and the dire message it delivers regarding the war for water.

So why is Ventura doing this? How much is 2 plus 2? Why does the City need a PR Firm to “raise awareness about water”? Why are they using the local chapter of Surfrider to help promote it?

Pretty simple to figure that green washed corrupt mess out now, isn’t it?

Think about that collective of villages on Bali and Jon Rose who helped them.

Now reverse that.

There you have what the City of Ventura and it’s Mgmnt has planned, if one cannot afford to pay the rate increase.

There are a vast amount of undercurrents which surface, and can suck a city into the stream of ill health. In this one you are seeing the affect of an inappropriate Philosophy of Governance which sees Citizens as serfs, bound to provide assets for the Feudal lord to dispose as he sees fit.

Ever hear of  the term, Permaculture? Think on the affect of a 100-200 percent increase of water rates for homeowners engaged in permaculture systems, which are thought of by many, as THE preeminent way forward for communities

I would really like to see my City Council fire Rick Cole and his Cronies.

N0 City needs this type of thinking.

And about what they will actually DO with the funds?

“Everybody wants clean water, right?”

In this link penned by a sage Attorney, in a publication Entitled Res Publica,  is a very informative look at how water and sewer funds were diverted into other social causes. That is illegal. It was done here in Ventura, by the City Manager.

Repression and bad Govt are frequently behind a green mask these days, or offered in the guise of increased sustainability, health or a benefit of some sort for the Community. But all too often today, it is a mere charade, and is a game of musical chairs done with a veiled but specific intent, to extract funds from a populace, to cover failed economic policies and drying up income streams for Muni Govt.

If a Community aids and or abets this, it dies a little death.

No flow.

Seth Godin had this to say today on Extending the Narrative.

The image below was shot at the entrance to Downtown Ventura. This is the tone being set here by people not from here. It is NOT the tone of my Community. They are the polar opposite of this. So why invite that in, ever?

Time for a purge.

Time to flush out the corruption in Govt.

It needs to begin where we live.

Water is life. Make it a priority to preserve your water and access to it. Work to keep it clean.

Be aware.

Here is a remarkable story about water. It is both detailed and rather long, but well worth a read.

Here is another great and easy to absorb piece suggested by Paul Jenkin, our local water expert who is a Science Advisor to Surfrider Foundation. It is called The Cycle of Insanity.

selfish

selfish

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first as and only legitimate object of good Government” -Thomas Jefferson

Beauty

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Beauty

Beauty

 

One of the linchpins in the success of my imaging career, has been the ability to recognize and communicate beauty. Sounds simple. The reality is far from that. The reason being, is that beauty is a complex subject, and really has little to do with obvious and apparent physical attributes.

Take the image above. Pretty girl. I made her prettier with my skills as a photographer. But what makes this beautiful, is understanding. Me taking the time to understand who and what she is, made me want to pursue working with her.¬† Jentry is the daughter of two¬† remarkable parents. She is a dancer with discipline, talent and creative vision, and has what I like to call: “purity of motivation”.

In other words, she “gets it”. That makes her inspiring. This translates to real beauty. You cannot forge beauty. It may be counterfeited to those who only see in the superficial tones¬† communicated in today’s highly compromised value systems. But true beauty will always be above corruption.

That is probably why I attach myself to the Ocean so willingly. It is difficult to corrupt that. It goes on. Powerful and Beautiful in it’s intricate workings and purpose. Water is life and carries within it the energy signature of the universe.¬† When we experience beauty, it resonates in the human heart in much the same manner as a string plucked or stroked on a musical instrument which vibrates and exudes sound.¬† Beauty is like that: pure in tone and motivation.

Blue Pulse

Blue Pulse

My phone rang early yesterday morning. I was online and engaged in a written conversation with Dr. Ed Brenegar about corruption in our culture. Ed is a very educated member of a global leadership community. He always seems to be on point and is generally writing what I am thinking .

The voice on the other end was my friend George Orbelian, who was ringing to speak with me regarding an event being put on by Tre Packard of the Japanese based Environmental action group, Pangea Seed.

Pangea is putting on an Art event in SF, and had sought some help in promoting it. I had suggested Tre speak with George, who is a loved and connected member of the SF Community, and heads a plethora of Organizations.

George is a busy man. He always gets right to the point. “David, what can you tell me about Pangea?” I went straight to the heart of it. I knew what George was asking. “They endeavor to change the perception of Japanese culture through Art and Inspiration, George. Being Japan based, they understand cultural tenets and know that in order to implement real change, the head on approach to Environmental Activism that we use in American Culture is ineffective. Pangea has what I would call a very pure approach. They communicate the beauty and importance of preserving sharks and other marine life, in building a healthy ocean and country. They get it.”

Eternal

Eternal

“That is perfect. Okay I know what to do”. George is like that. We all should be. One needs to check behind the facade these days. For often, what appears to be beautiful and pure, may be something else by the time you see it, than what it was when it was born.

I asked my friend a question. “George, are all Environmental Govt agencies and NGO’s corrupt? I mean, is that just the way things are today? ” (George heads up Project Kaisei, an NGO Environmental entity).

I gave him a brief account of a locally based NGO that was founded on the premise of serving the poor, and what I had recently learned about the leadership, one of which is paid a 200K annual salary.

Majesty

Majesty

“Let me tell you a story” George quietly launched into an account of some close friends of his, who had gone to India to do some humanitarian work. In process they found themselves in the facility of a world famous organization headed up by a global religious figurehead. What they saw there perplexed and alarmed them.

In the facility was a large  room being used as a nursery. Against one wall of the dirty room was a huge pile of toys apparently discarded and untouched. In cribs throughout the room where infants. Grimy, marginally cared for. George began to choke up and explained that this was difficult to talk of. He went on.

“As my friends began to pick up and meet each child, they realized that the children were being left in there. They were never taken outside. They tried to make a difference in caring for them. But it was obvious what was going on. (George describes in intimate detail what those aide workers saw. Chokes up more)

“Thanksgiving was a few days away. They figured that maybe they could help by easing the lot of the women in the religious order, who were a part of the operation. So each member of the party picked something to cook and on Thanksgiving, they brought the people at the orphanage a beautiful traditional American Thanksgiving meal.

As they brought it in, one of the workers there, realizing that the group was trying to do a good thing, took them aside and explained something. The people of the Religious order ate like that every day. A prestigious Hotel chain catered all of their meals. They also told them this: “And you see some of those unkempt babies? Those neglected, discarded children? Some of them were born to the members of the order.”

In tears, George explained “Everything goes this way, they are all bad. But they generally do not start out that way. It is just the process that organizations go through.”

In tears as well, I got it.

Beauty is an honorable state of being. The pretty face of the warm fuzzy thing you thing you feel compelled to “save”? Well, you may have just fed something corrupt. In not looking, and not endeavoring to see, you may have contributed to something evil.

No one wants to abuse babies.

People are what matter.

Be the solution.

Seek beauty.

Whisper

Whisper

 

When we do this, if we do this, we take the lead, and engage the creative process, rather than becoming a part of the destructive process, also known as entropy. That should matter greatly. It cedes to accountability and responsibility. Our organizations need this.

Click on any of the images below to toggle through as a slide show.

Bali Journal 3: A Day Apart….

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

EBPP Celebration

Sometimes will drop into your life announced. But in our case we had plenty of advance warning.

A couple years back, Donna and I had met David Booth and learned of the work he had accomplished through his organization, East Bali Poverty Project. This morning, as we rolled down the gravel drive of Villa Gayatri in Ubud, with Gusti at the wheel, planning, hope and circumstance had four of Donna’s company icons-ambassadors and film maker Aaron Marcelino  aboard for the 2 hour drive into the mountains of East Bali.

We had been invited to attend a festival where most of the children who had been educated through the project would be participating in one great big party of sorts. That much we knew for sure.

In 1998 David Booth had found the tribe which had been cut off from Balinese society by circumstance and the simple fact that no one thought to ever look for them. No one is exactly sure where the tribe came from but suspected that maybe it had been Lombok, due to the people bearing a strong resemblance to those who reside on that island.

A volcano eruption, poor diet, a persistent problem with goiter and a few other environmentally related issues had combined to provide a lack of real history due to memory loss. In effect, these people are the tribe that the world had forgotten. Such was the poverty endemic to the area when David found them, that they themselves knew little of their ancestral past. In terms of Western understanding THAT is true loss and deprivation: not having a history. No connection to anything. The ability to smile which is such a part of Balinese culture: it was simply not there.

I will not attempt to communicate how EBPP exactly restored hope and at he same time implemented the tribe as a model of social and environmental restoration right now. I will simply say that the feat is of such scope, that as I met and interacted with the children this day I had a hard time keeping back the tears, because I understood that not only did these children have hope, but that a future now exists where only death and oblivion had loomed prior.

We are hard at it, and time is short for writing and imaging, but I hope that in future I will have more available, in order to tell the complete story.

So I will let the images do the talking. And later the motion picture may as well, document this day that occurred in a dry river wash in the lee of the volcano which had almost obliterated a tribe.

They are back. And in their return, David Booth has shown us a way that we can transform our own society potentially. It is a great story that will make the world smile. We all need hope. No matter what our lot in life.

At days end, at the home and in the temple of our friend Gusti Made Merta, prayers of thanksgiving went up, Christian with the Hindu. And you realized what the affect of a life could be, and for some maybe ought to be and for a few will be. Hate, division and separation are odd and common bedfellows. Love is a better way.  It is much stronger. We saw the affects of it today.

The Drive

The Drive

Pit Stop: The Road Up.

Pit Stop: The Road Up.

Children of EBPP

Children of EBPP

Must NOT Smile (She did)

Must NOT Smile (She did)

Beauty

Beauty

David Booth, a Child's View

David Booth, a Child's View

Sidelined for a Moment

Sidelined for a Moment

A few tents in sandy wash

A few tents in sandy wash

Weaving and Sowing Vetiver grass

Weaving and Sowing Vetiver grass

Games

Games

puu-0958puu-6098

Ready Set...

Ready Set...

What an Ambassador really does.

What an Ambassador really does.

Mary and David Booth and  a couple hundred friends

Mary and David Booth and a couple hundred friends

Dance

Dance

Ecoturin: Sustainable Culture

Ecoturin: Sustainable Culture

Pulse

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
Rainbow Bridge one recent morning in Ventura

Rainbow Bridge one recent morning in Ventura

Brian Nevins name first came up almost ten years ago, as I was at Calumet in Santa Barbara and my pal Craig, had told me that a Brooks student was looking for me and wanted to assist. My answer had been somewhat sarcastic as I recall, something to the affect of : “What is he gonna hold my hand while I swim or something?”

The short of it is that Brian pursued the heck out of me and over a period of months, I relented. (I think Craig still laughs about it to this day.) We became best friends and eventually colleagues as his air status due to his Dad flying commercial jets allowed for Brian to pretty much go anywhere that I did.

It was with satisfaction that I attended Brian’s commencement ceremony at Brooks and watched he and Jon Steele (who later became one of my editors) graduate. In the ensuing years Brian and I traveled doing jobs together and I have watched with an immense pleasure as he hit stride and has become one of the better Photojournalists and human beings that I know with publications and commercial clients too numerous to list here.¬† Elite shooter and Brooks Instructor Ralph Clevenger calls this experience, where we watch people that we mentor grow, “The grand reward”.

The link to Brian’s website is here.

The copy and images below with the exception of the rainbow, were sent to me today by Brian:

A friend of mine just forwarded me a few images from my last trip to Nicaragua of the young girl Wendy and I at the beach. Besides a reminder of needing to start a weight loss program… I had a good reminder of those few moments in life that you strive to be a part of.
Wendy was the focus in my Surfers Journal article and has always been the face that drives my work and heart down in Nicaragua. If only you had the opportunity to spend one day with her… you would understand a lot more about what this life is really about.
Regardless… these are photos of us at the beach. The first time she has been outside of the dump, Managua and a life un-explainable. The first time seeing a surfboard and feeling the movement of the waves, the first time smelling salt water and having the sand burn her feet instead of the burning trash. Everything I’ve done in this life has given no greater perspective on whats real and whats important than to watch Wendy play in the waves for one day.
If only every day could be like this.

Click on any image in this blog for a full view.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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