February 2016 on the Great Barrier Reef

Love You for It

Captain Trevor Jackson

“Your opinions mean nothing, your actions mean everything!”  I read that on a t-shirt, or its modern day equivalent…the so-called Meme. Still can’t quite define what the word Meme means yet, but I know they can be funny, sometimes cruel, often insightful… and they are a great way to waste many an evening while you’re waiting for something better to do. This particular one took my fancy though. Opinions = nothing, actions = everything. In the modern internet driven world we see everyone has an opinion about everything and they want it to be heard. They want you to know when they’re pleased, angry, offended, whatever. But at the end of the day, what does an internet rant get you? Apart from ‘likes’… nothing.

Actions on the other hand can mean a heck of a lot. I witnessed this first-hand the other day at my daughter’s school. Normally folks don’t intermingle too much when they’re dropping off their kids, especially with me. I guess I can present as a bit gruff, unapproachable, even a bit mean looking. I can’t even get as much as a passing smile from the other moms. But this day was different, today I was popular, today it seemed that everyone had suddenly seen beyond the exterior and thought ‘he’s a real nice fella that big guy with the tiny blonde daughter”. A wave here, a slight upward nod there, a smile from the meanest of them. Yep I’d cracked it…..no more getting snubbed outside the classroom for this fella. I was father of the bloody year! But what had changed? It was a question I was asking myself all the way back across the playing field until I got to car.

When I got there, my wife who had been waiting for me had the answer. “They all saw you pick up that bottle” she said….. “Huh?” Sure enough I had.  “When every other passer-by had waltzed on by it, you stopped and bothered to get it off the field, the same field all their kids will be running around on soon”. Of course. I saw the wisdom in her words…..on any other day I would have just had a gripe in my head, “bloody teenagers”, “which twit left this here for someone to trip over?”. On this day instead of voicing an opinion, I took action. The smallest of things changed the world for the better. The tiniest of changes, but a change nonetheless.

I thought about this for the rest of the day. Bleating and moaning, agreeing and disagreeing… these things just give us the feeling of having done something. The world is an indescribably beautiful place. Out here in the Coral Sea… we see it every day…. untouched, unfathomable BEAUTY… keeping it that way won’t really take much, but it will take more than an opinion on it. Maybe it just means picking up that bottle instead of walking on by. I do know one thing for sure. When that bottle goes into the bin instead of the local creek… all the other mums will love you for it.

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