Coral Reefs & Prison

Coral Reefs & Prison

On President's Day, we went to the Museum of Science. I haven't been since a young girl and was more excited about it this time around than I was 30+ years ago. The changes that have occurred in the world in my short lifetime truly amaze me.

We purchased tickets at the counter for "The Last Reef" playing in the Omni theater and "Space Junk" playing in the 3D theater. We felt okay about spending the extra money for the tickets because we had taken the time to pack our own lunches.

Why can't we just live in peace?

Given the choice, I opt-in for data every time. Food is simply one of life's annoying nuisances - sort of like having to use the bathroom. I try to take care of business as quickly as possible in order to return to more important things. Data, on the other hand, is the air I breathe, a life force that sustains me. Thank heavens I came to earth during the Great Data Deluge.

Back to the point...

The Last Reef was thus advertised:

Reefs are hotspots of biodiversity as vital to life on Earth as the rainforests. They have been shaping our shorelines, literally forming islands and mountains, for millions of years. But the world's coral reefs are also vanishing at five times the rate of the rainforests and could be gone within our lifetime. Like cities on land, though, reefs can rebuild. Catch a glimpse of the future with an inspirational vision of the reef's incredible power to flourish again. -source

What was I expecting? Why do I purposely torment myself? I imagine most in the audience have forgotten this movie by now but I have not. I continue to replay in my mind the underwater images reminding me of the devastation happening this very moment as I pound away on this keyboard, sucking energy from our planet, inadvertently killing it.

Inspirational? The movie advertisement was a bit misleading.

To be fair, the message that it is not too late to save the Coral Reefs is indeed inspirational but whatever inspiration was sparked by that realization is lost in the sea of my inability to do anything about it. The movie lacked something. What is one thing I can do to save our dying coral reefs? It is only inspiring if we are empowered with tools or knowledge to help make the needed changes.

Who the heck is the change agent in charge of this exhibit?

What good does it do to illuminate a problem if you do not provide the tools or means whereby to solve it? How hard can this be? Right as you walk out the door you should be confronted with a display that guides you through the process. How about someone standing there who could answer questions? A quick brochure with 10 actions we can take right now that will make a difference. A kiosk where you could quickly send a message to the people in charge of making grand political changes. ANYTHING!

I walked away from an intense experience without being given the slightest direction regarding the actions I can take right now to make a difference. I suspect most people will throw up their hands - or just throw up.

So, what am I doing about it?

In a moment of insane frustration, I yanked the plug of our electric heater from the wall in the kitchen. You read this correctly. The rationale behind this decision is that I will be using less energy thus placing less demand on Earth's resources. This is how I am helping to save the Coral Reefs, by freezing in my kitchen.

Can you envision this scene? A crazy, mad woman pulling the power cord on her electric heater, shaking it in her fist, while yelling aloud, "This is for you beautiful Coral Reefs! Now go! Rebuild! I believe!"

Something clearly neurotic is happening here.
I blame the Museum of Science. What were they thinking?

There’s no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution.
– Betty Williams

There is a reason I am writing about this experience. I learned something that day far and beyond Coral Reefs. I realized why so many efforts to illuminate the minds of mankind fail. We fail to provide practical resolutions.

This is the reason I stopped speaking about prison reformation - I don't actually know the answer. I understand the problem and can even, at times, be amazingly talented at expressing it. Like the Omni Theater of the Coral Reefs, I can take you on a journey to the depths of life in a women's prison. I can project the devastating images in your mind. I can turn up the volume and shake your inner core with truths about why it needs to change but, in the end, I am no more effective than this movie in offering you a practical solution - something you can do right now to make a difference.

I do not know the answer so I stopped talking about the problem.

I see people running around pulling proverbial electrical plugs in response to the problem. To do something, no matter how ineffective, makes us feel that we are at least doing something. A study of prisons shows we merely move from one reformation to the next. The problem changes but does not go away. We think we are making progress but are we?

Sometimes I feel the solution is nearly as grand as saving our Coral Reefs. Can it actually be done?