Grateful Traveler: Journey On, Dorothy Green
One of my closest friends died last week.
In Los Angeles, her death was front-page news.
Radio and television stations paid homage to her. Her funeral was a virtual who’s who of California politicians, government leaders, entertainment industry insiders, and members of the environmental community.
All rose to sing her praises. And she deserved it.
Who was this woman? My friend was Dorothy Green—an aptly named woman who led the charge for a cleaner, more livable world long before the environment was a sexy issue.
As founding Director of the California Water Impact Network, and founding President of Heal the Bay, among many, many other environmental pursuits, Dorothy’s dedication and devotion to the cause inspired generations of activists.
But that’s not why I loved her. I loved the traveler in her soul.
Dorothy was a traveler in the very best sense of the word. A seeker, a doer, she understood at the deepest level that it’s about the journey, and not always the destination. She fought political battles that any environmentalist will tell you always seem to be about reclaiming the same piece of land—never losing the gleam in her eye, her profound curiosity about others, or her wonder of the world.
Dorothy navigated through life the way explorers navigated their way to new worlds. When the established maps of the time proved insufficient, she simply threw them out and drew her own.
She brought opposing forces to the table while others were still screaming “Demon!” at one another. She understood that we are only so much stardust, that life, like all journeys, must end and that our obligation while here is to treat one another with respect.
She had no time for pettiness. No time for negativity. No time for the trappings of wealth, celebrity or false gods. She loved those around her in the most profound of ways—sharp-tongued when you displayed your weaknesses; your greatest cheerleader when you displayed your strengths. She was a woman with a mission and your job was to join with her or get out of the way.
And yet through it all, through endless political battles, through the death of her beloved husband, through her own decades-long battle with cancer, she never lost her traveler’s spirit—that insatiable curiosity, the perseverance and boundless energy that made others shake their heads in disbelief, and the drive to make the world a better place for one and all.
Travel on, Dorothy, travel on.
By Jamie Simons for PeterGreenberg.com. Photo by Paula Daniels.