Person of the Planet- A Message from Down Under by Shanti Moorjani

I met a man from Cairnes (pronounced "cans") on our recent trip to Australia. He is a Person of the Planet.    His name is Dean Nulty, a biologist/naturalist, and a guide.  We had the priviledge of spending a day with in him in the Daintree Rainforest in the Northeast coast of Australia.  Daintree is a 450 square mile lush green rain forest.  It is the oldest one on the planet and a very complex ecosystem. 

Dean started out by saying: " I don't like the word 'Climate change' when it is really 'climate disruptions'".  Take for instance this forest. In the 1950's onward there was a rush to cut down the rainforests to plant sugar cane and develop fish hatcheries.  The motto among the "powers that be" was "the only good tree is a cut tree".   Consequently, 80% of the forests were gone, and they were itching to finish the last 20%.  They rushed a crew to start cutting without any environmental impact studies.  This was 1983 and the local people had had enough. Violent protests broke out to prevent the bulldozers from continuing.  Thanks to a miracle monsoon-like rain that disrupted the clear-cutting from continuing and organizers coming to help from outside the country, the message finally made it to the news media and the rest of the world.   The bulldozers stopped and eventually this last piece of rainforest was declared a World Heritage site in 1987.

Recently, concerned wealthy individuals are starting to buy back the farms and asking people to come and plant a tree. Dean understands the importance of a rainforest environment and its positive impact on the health of the planet.  He said, "The answer to climate disruption is so simple! If every person on the planet were to plant just one tree the problem would be solved.  But, politicians just don't get it."  He continued, "Plant a tree or donate to their Save a Rainforest project so someone can plant a tree for you."  Even so, he said it takes about 400 years to create another rain forest.  Pretty sobering.

As I looked around Daintree I remembered a quote I once heard:   " look around you,.... the trees, grass, flowers, water,'s all alive".

This planet is truly alive, a "garden of Eden", a "gift from God". We are standing on "holy ground".  This earth has supported us unconditionally over the centuries, yet it has no voice of its own.  Would it say,  "Stop cutting the trees, I can't make air" or "If you wipe out all the bees, I can't pollinate the fruit" and so on.   We have everything for our needs; just look at this computer you are reading, the chair you are sitting on, the house you live in, the car you drive, the food you eat: all are gifts from the planet. In fact I can't think of anything that did not ultimately come from the earth.

Our Person of the Planet movement is an opportunity for each individual to be part of the "voice of the planet" and do whatever you CAN do within your" sphere of influence" (thank you Linda Jones for that lovely phrase) to make a difference. Even just re-cycling shows your care for planet.  In addition, by always asking the question "IS THIS GOOD FOR THE PLANET?" we can choose with more awareness. 

Dean Nulty is honored to be a Person of the Planet and hopes he can share his knowledge with us over the miles, or, if ever in California, in person.  Will you join with us?