by Whitt Birnie
The lagoons of French Polynesia capture the imagination. It’s difficult to break away, unless you have a better destination in mind. I was torn between nature and civilization, eventually giving in to temptation for a return to Papeete.
Tetiaroa Island, Brando’s atoll, just to the north of Tahiti, always belonged to royalty and remains a majestic spot, lost in the warm calm waters of the South Pacific. It was on my way back to Tahiti, so I made an effort to pass nearby and pay my respects.
The mountainous southern coast of Tahiti is in great contrast to the low island of Tetiaroa. Simply navigating the passage through the reefs takes total concentration as the currents can be wicked.Swells from the Southern Ocean and the ‘Roaring Forties’ excite everyone in the Fenua, especially surfers, but for navigators, attaining a safe anchorage inside the coral reef is the first order of business. Nature delights in showing off.
Good humor, constant laughter, skill, beauty and happiness endear the Tahitians to everyone. They are truly a remarkable people. I consider it an honor that they permitted me to record their joy in the Heiva I Tahiti.
Photos by Whitt Birnie
While the planet gently glides through the equinox into another season, we on earth know we’re in for big changes, either towards wild winter weather or more peaceful summer calms. Since most Polynesians know no winter, these outdoor people follow the seasons closely, the most skillful working the best Southern Ocean waves generated in the stormy ‘Roaring Forties’, to the delight of everyone. Others share a traditional moment together in their va’a, the outrigger, working the languid lagoon, angling for dinner.
by Whitt Birnie
Very well-informed and respected persons at the summits of their research professions have repeatedly met to present findings on the urgency of modifying our behavior and economic model, so that life as we know it will survive. Those who deny the conclusions that climate-change must be addressed immediately are ignoring the facts — the future health of our lives on this beautiful earth should not be decided by those who have fallen victim to disinformation, lobbies and vested interest groups.
Mankind needs to accept that the ‘common good’ trumps ‘individual desire’ when it comes to matters such as human destiny. Sacrifices are never pleasant, especially when they are voluntary and without immediate results, but the cards are on the table. We must change our behavior or climate-change will change us for the worse, relatively and absolutely. It will increasingly treat us with such fury that the environmental disasters we occasionally suffer from today will become commonplace.
We have risen to all sorts of challenges before, but this one is threatening our world, our children’s health and happiness and their grand-children’s very survival. Don’t be blind, accept the obvious. Support your organizations, contact your representatives, consider alternate green solutions, convince the clueless, act intelligently – we are approaching the point of no return. Honestly, are you willing to be remembered as the generation at the helm when the pilot just abandoned the controls?
Earth Day 2014. Nasty weather was brewing offshore, but for a moment the sun shone thru, celebrating Earth Day’s anniversary. I chose a similar image for the photo challenge “My Beautiful Planet,” sponsored by TIME and Google+.
Reassuring in its warmth, the setting sun sends us warning signals about climate-change. We are at a tipping point today. It’s become our turn to change our foolish ways. “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”
by Whitt Birnie
I thought of all the telephone conversations, e-mail correspondences, attachments, pictures, posts and social media passing thru the cables as the seabirds chatted and dried their feathers and I thought, “this is a wonderful, wonderful world”. Nature can be so ‘awesome’.Always remember how important a healthy, sustainable environment is, work at convincing the hold-outs how dangerous climate-change is becoming, and try to celebrate Earth Day every day. This concept is not for the birds, it’s serious and concerns all living creatures. This message of tidings will arrive on your screen thru the very telecommunication cables you see here. The spirits send their greetings too. We’re all in this together. Happy Easter one and all.