I have always been inclined to be a tree hugging, environmental conservation preaching, back to nature enthusiast. As a child I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, running wild in the forest with my three brothers and best friend. As I grew older, I started to become covetous of our little slice of forested paradise. We would chase off anyone who tried to encroach upon it, and hide from the adults whom we could not scare away. I grew to believed that the best way to save a beautiful place was to keep everyone else away. Although this technique is initially effective, it is doomed to fail. As I progressed from
childhood to adulthood, this learned view of conservation lead me to be a frustrated nature lover. I was not able to fully enjoy my time outdoors because I was frustrated that I had to share it with others who may not have the same values I did, or show the same amount of respect as I. Although my introverted nature did lead me to many excellent places off the beaten path, it was ultimately detrimental to my quality of life. If it wasn’t for my best friend Simon’s unconditional joy and accepting nature, I fear I may have lived a much less enjoyable life. He was the one who pushed me to be more accepting of new comers and to look past the crowds and enjoy myself regardless. It’s not that I’m a totally introverted loner, its just that I am wary of new people, but once I come to accept someone into my inner circle of friends, I am more than willing to share. I’m a “all or nothing” sort of friend. Friendship with me is hard to earn but even harder to lose.
It was my love of the life aquatic, particularly my love of sailing that earned me the nickname “The Captain”. I have always loved the water, and boats! Some of my earliest memories are of swimming in the creeks, pretending that I was an otter, or trying to sail our toy box down the river. It was a fine vessel named the Silver Crumpet. Although terribly unstable, due to a flat bottom and non symmetrical shape, it made my heart soar like an eagle to pilot it down the stream. This was one of the first of many makeshift vessels to come. Eventually my father bought us a small dingy with a mast and sails named “The Otter”. We piloted it for years until it met it’s sailing end whilst trying to make a beach landing on Twin Lakes beach in Santa Cruz during a more than adequate swell. Simon and I may or may not have misjudge its ability to “catch a wave” and ended up going stern over bow. No one was hurt but the mast was bent beyond repair. However the finest vessel I ever had the pleasure to Captain was not The Otter, but a 1970’s Catalina 22 with a swing keel named “The Stray Cat”. It was given to Simon and me by my uncle Bill, a devoted sailer, when he bought a Catalina 31 in 2004. We spent the last half of the school year fixing her up and then spent the summer living aboard moored off the Capitola wharf. It was one of the best summers of my life! We learned many lessons and had many adventures to be proud of.
When I became a father, I became unable to cope with the problems we as a species have created for ourselves, and with our collective ignorance to those problems. I was no longer concerned with just my wife and I. I now had children to think about and their future to consider. By the time my second daughter was born I had sunk into a mild depression. I just wanted to shout at everyone, ” We can’t just run away from our problems! We all have to do something now!” but he only solution I could come up with was the ever taboo “drastic population reduction”. Obviously this is not viable solution. It also made me feel terribly guilty because I had just added to the problem. Finally the solution came to me, although it had been hovering on the outskirts for some time. It was right after my brothers wedding. I was feeling happy and optimistic and I was having a much needed long chat with Simon. We discussed many things but mostly focusing on the solutions to many of our collective problems. It was Simon’s optimistic view that woke me up from my funk, and sparked the fire of my thought. The next morning I woke up feeling better than I had in a while, despite the lack of sleep. I said to myself “I am done with focusing on the problems, I will now dedicating myself to focusing on solutions, and I’m going to share these solutions with everyone!” I felt positively enthusiastic.
It took me a few months to turn this thought into action, and formulate any kind of a plan. One of the points that kept cropping up in Simon and my late night discussion was that the only plausible way to save the world is through education. We must share our knowledge and wisdom with each other so that we can make better more informed decisions everyday, based on billions of life times worth of knowledge. We have to teach ourselves so we can teach our children by example. A person can only be expected to make decisions based on the knowledge they have available to them. If that person does not know another way to do something how can they be expected to do it any differently? We MUST lead by example! The ancient peoples who came before us knew that we are part of this earth, and whatever we do to it we do to ourselves. It seems that every generation comes to this realization, although the acton taken and the influence varies from generation to generation depending on the political climate of the time. I feel that the time is again ripe, and I think many others would agree with me. If we learn from the lessons of past revolutions, their successes and their failures, we just may be able to pull it off. We also have something they didn’t have… We have the World Wide Web! We have the power to reach almost every person on earth and share information instantly. At the least we will be able to lay the foundation for our children, and set a good example for them. So that they can learn from our failures and successes, and go on to change our world for the better. I invite you to share your wisdoms and insights to our problems big, and small, with me and with others. Through this action of mutual education, each of us will add our little bit of change together and create a force 7 billion strong.
Yours truly and enthusiastically, The Captain, Enthusiastic
If you would like to be more active in this quest, you can visit The Captain at https://www.patreon.com/CaptainEnthusiastic and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Thecaptainenthusiastic/
The Captain on YouTube is coming soon….