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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The "Making a Difference Contest" Grand Prize Winner

Air Date: Week of

Delilah Flynn of Seattle, Washington maps out her plan for a "Well-Nation Day" and talks with Steve.


CURWOOD: And now, the final chapter in our Living on Earth / Stonyfield Farm Yogurt "Making a Difference" contest - the Grand Prize Winner in the adult division, the recipient of a ten-day trip for two to the rainforest and national parks of Costa Rica, courtesy of Overseas Adventure Travel of Cambridge, Massachusetts. And the person whom our judges chose as having submitted the best answer to the question, "What would you do to make a difference for the environment in 1993, if you were President?" - are you ready? And now, the winner is - from Seattle, Washington, Delilah Flynn. And this is her winning entry.

(Diesel horn and train sound fade under)

FLYNN: If I were President, this is what I would do in 1993 to make a difference for our environment. I'd declare a day of peace on Earth - a "well-nation day." I'd do this once a month, nationwide. Think of this as a celebrated public holiday, for the preservation of the quality of life on Earth. A day when everything stops. This would mean no going to work, no phones, mail delivery, TV, radio, newspaper. No driving automobiles, no airplanes, trains, buses, power saws, lawnmowers. No shopping, no Stock Exchange. Think of this like December 25th, except no one is driving to Grandma's house. The gift we'd be giving would be for Mother Earth. The emphasis for that day would be to stop the clock, take time out to be a human being, and regain contact with the natural world around us. Only emergency agencies, hospitals and public utilities would be staffed. Use of the phone would be strongly discouraged. TV stations would be closed, except for emergency broadcast systems. This would mean complete community support and participation by private citizens, businesses and all levels of government. We'd all need to support it and we'd all benefit too. Advantages? We'd cut down on air pollution, alleviate noise pollution, achieve resource conservation, and as a human benefit, we'd reduce stress, thus reducing health care costs. We'd be scheduling the time to relax. A chance for the birds to be heard. On that day, you could read a book, paint a picture, ride a bike, visit a neighbor, rake leaves, plant a garden, take a walk in the park, meditate, play a board game with your kids, reflect on life, daydream, write letters, interact with your local community or do nothing at all. Think of it - twelve days a year to experience a different environmental reality. Technology and competition keep our noses to the grindstone 24 hours a day. Everything is paved. We are sequestered behind the glass and steel bodies of our automobiles. Our jobs take precedence over our quality of life, our human relationships and our health. We all deserve a break. I see my plan as having bountiful, holistic benefits nationwide, and soon to become worldwide. It can only happen with the help of my Administration's enthusiastic leadership and support. I pledge a full-on campaign to unite all of us behind a well-nations day - a day for peace on Earth.

(Fade out "Hail to the Chief" and applause)

CURWOOD: Well, Delilah Flynn, that was very well done. This is your prize-winning entry for the Living on Earth "Making a Difference" contest . . .

FLYNN: Thank you.

CURWOOD: . . . what you would do if you were President - a day off for everybody, huh? Once a month.

FLYNN: Yeah. Sound like a good idea?

CURWOOD: Is there something that we would realize if we did this?

FLYNN: Yes, definitely. I think it would give us time to be thinking in different respects, that's what the whole idea really is, is a chance to open up our minds. Another thing that struck me after I sent this idea in is that it wasn't really a choice of do it or don't do it, it's only a matter of choice of when. Because if we keep on with the present direction that we're going, with technology and the Earth, there'll become a day when the ozone's gone and the air's too foul to breathe and there's no gas in your car and you can't go out and do anything anyway and you're too sick to go to work - except there won't be an environment to enjoy.

CURWOOD: How were you inspired to create this sound piece for this contest?

FLYNN: Well, what I do is, one of my focuses as an artist is to dance with nature, and to tell you the truth, when I heard the prize was a trip to the rainforest, that's what I wanted to do. I want to take my sacred dances into the rainforest and videotape them, and - it was just - I wanted that prize so bad that I - you know, to be inspired means to breathe in. And I remember putting my feet on the ground, and taking a deep breath, and you could just feel that Earth energy come up into my body, gather into my belly, move up through my torso, and part of it spilled out my right arm onto the page onto the paper and the rest moved up into my head and out my mouth and now it's in the airwaves, I can't believe it. I mean, to me it's just, the whole process is an inspiration. It's a dance.

CURWOOD: All right, well, I want to thank you very much, Delilah Flynn of Seattle, Washington, and congratulate you on being the Grand Prize winner of the Living on Earth "Making a Difference" contest.

FLYNN: Well, thank you, and I feel very privileged and the prize will be put to good use.

CURWOOD: Thanks to everyone who entered our contest, and congratulations again to our four winners: Delilah Flynn of Seattle, Catherine Reeser of New Berlin, New York, Thomas Murphy of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, and Paul Meckes, of Orlando, Florida.



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