Ring of Fire 2016
RING OF FIRE
Musicians, actors, scientists, Native Americans and a former U.S. Commander of the Atlantic Fleet – are brainstorming a Pacific wide concert – Ring of Fire – to take place Ocean Day – June 6, 2016 – in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – the Pacific Garbage Patch – on naval ships – and on other Pacific sites. Envisioned as a wake-up call to the importance of the ocean to the life of the planet, it features rock, tribal drumming, gospel choirs and children’s choruses – integrating singers and musicians around the Rim. The ocean is in trouble – and since it provides up to 85% of the world’s oxygen – so are we.
RING OF FIRE – FIRST HALF HOUR
A two hour musical production that raises awareness about what’s happening to the Pacific Ocean, staged with bands on navy ships in the Pacific Garbage Patch – together with groups performing from Pacific islands and coastlines. Ring of Fire integrates rock with tribal music, gospel choirs and the songs of whales and other sea life and is envisioned as a wake-up call to the importance of the ocean to life on land. It inspires a massive effort to clean up the ocean, and announces the start of a Pacific Rim environmental corps. Using music as a common language, it has the potential to inspire and unify – to bring diverse peoples together to work towards the health of the earth.
Ring of Fire begins with Hawaiian conch shells and moves to Samoa where drummers, in typical Samoan fashion, leap – screaming – from palm trees – to their drums. Other Pacific Rim drummers add on – joined by rock bands in the middle of the ocean.
It moves to a Micronesian chief, on an island flooded by a rising ocean, who states that the loss of South Pacific islands and northern Eskimo coastal communities, is a warning – that rising oceans will soon affect coastal towns and cities everywhere – and calls for the support of the world in this effort to save the ocean, its lands and peoples. He recounts the dependency of all life on the health of the ocean and states that up to 85% of the world’s oxygen is produced by ocean microorganisms – now 43% dead. He says that the continued poisoning of the seas is the primary emergency of the twenty-first century – that if not resolved, will end life as we know it. He states that the destruction of the ocean forces us to recognize that everyone is responsible for the life or death of the planet – that this emergency exists because humanity has lost its ability to feel the pain of the earth and its peoples. He says that no one holds the whole answer, but that each of us holds a part. He offers the ancient Polynesian knowledge of the heart – learned over thousands of years – as crucial towards an understanding of the health of the planet.
Ring of Fire continues with choruses, bands and indigenous and other leaders around the Pacific.
WHY A HEALTHY FUNCTIONING OCEAN IS IMPORTANT
The ocean is in crisis. Two thirds of the coral reefs are dead or dying, significant fish populations have crashed, ocean birds and mammals are dwindling – some precipitously – huge parts of the ocean bottom – where nutrients essential to humans are produced – are covered with layers of plastic bags. Microscopic plastic – ground up plastic bags – is now found in fish and shellfish. Scientists have identified 150 “dead zones” – the largest 45,000 square miles- in which nothing except algae and jellyfish can live. Garbage is everywhere seen floating on the surface, while fish and other life die beneath. Many ocean scientists are calling their work “documenting the decline”. The general public has little idea of the seriousness of this situation.
If all life on land were to disappear, ocean creatures could still live. But if the opposite happened – if all life in the ocean died – then the plants and animals on land – including humans – would also die. For thousands of years we have believed that the ocean is ours to use as we see fit. But biologically – we are alive because of the ocean. Ocean phytoplankton provide every second breath of oxygen we take. The ocean determines our weather and is responsible for the world’s carbon cycle. It is our main life support system. How we live and what we do severely – and negatively – impacts this interconnected global system that is our primary source of life.
The state of the ocean is due to thousands of tons of agricultural, industrial and nuclear poisons that pour into it every day. Ordinary citizens contribute with household cleaners, detergents, hair sprays and many other products that are flushed down drains with little thought as to where they go and what effect they have.
We are in this predicament because of a lack of sensitivity to and ignorance about the inter-connectedness of the planet and the part each of us plays in its health or demise. Indigenous values of nurturing, honoring and cherishing the systems that sustain us are not part of the Western world view.
With enough public awareness and political will, it is possible to slow and eventually reverse this slide into ecological devastation.
Simple and inexpensive – but labor intensive – techniques exist that promote the re-absorption of carbon dioxide and can slow, stop – and even reverse climate change and the acidification of the oceans. All are being used, on a small scale, on six continents. They include the greening of deserts (1/3 of the world’s land mass is now desert), biochar, and tree planting everywhere. Other simple techniques help to restore water – both fresh and salt – and soil.
Effective Microorganisms (EM) – a combination of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria put together by a Japanese agricultural engineer, are helping to restore the health of lakes, streams and seawater around the world.
Mushrooms and grasses are being used to clean chemical toxins from soil – poisons that would otherwise drain to the ocean.
Many others simple techniques help to restore health to the natural systems of the earth, and are effective and inexpensive – and labor intensive. Millions of young people around the world are without jobs and looking at a bleak future. A Pacific wide environmental corps could provide training in sustainable technologies – and help to brainstorm new ways of living – and thinking.
An environmental corps would benefit the students that take part, the countries that sponsor them and the Pacific Ocean – vital to all life.
We propose bringing together scientists expert in sustainable technologies – with native elders who know how to work with the natural intelligence of the earth – with students experimenting with sustainable visions for the future – with musicians that can inspire and unite – to initiate a Pacific wide environmental corps – and invite universities, government agencies and environmental non-profits, already working on these issues, to join.
Dixie Belcher, initiator of RING OF FIRE, is a community activist, musical director and producer in Juneau, Alaska who accidentally discovered the power of music to effect change. She founded and directed a 65 member folk/rock group in Alaska that, in 1981 moved a hostile audience 180 degrees, politically, in 25 minutes. That very unexpected event dramatized for her the power of music to effect change.
In 1986, at the height of the Cold War, she led 67 Alaskan Eskimos, Black gospel singers, Native Americans and Whites across the former Soviet Union in a successful effort to open the Soviet/American border and reunite Eskimo families. She has since brought together Christians, Muslims and Jews in a musical context, and has experimented using music to bridge people with the natural world.
She believes that music has the potential to inspire diverse peoples to work together in an effort to save the ocean – and the earth.