For the foreseeable future, I will not be making any more music. Instead, I will be focusing on taking action to promote basic human and civil rights. In the wake of the pandemic and the growing civil unrest, I feel like this year has been a wake-up call, and that I need to take significant action if I want things to change for the better. Despite not even having 10,000 dollars in savings, I've donated about 1,500 dollars to various organizations since George Floyd's death, but I've realized that donating can only do so much. What I really want to do now is take action that directly challenges the systems in place that allows such injustices to occur. I do realize that there will, naturally, be limitations on what I am able to do, due to various obstacles (Economics, laws, Pandemic, etc.), but nevertheless, I will be doing what I can.
I had been employed as a treasure diver/crew-member for Mel Fisher's Treasures since June of 2018. As of June 22nd of this year, that is no longer the case. Since March, there has been a hold on our activities, so we had not been doing any treasure diving since then. We were furloughed, with the notion that we'd be available to be put back on payroll as soon as operations started up again. I had been living and continued to live on the boat I was a crew member of, as one of the perks of the job was that you could live on the boat rent-free. Since the job doesn't pay well (If you find treasure, that's a whole other story, due to bonuses for treasure found and all that), that was naturally quite the benefit. However, that also means I was sharing my living space with anyone else on the crew that decided to live on the boat. My fellow crew members, due to their personalities, political views, habits, laziness, noisiness, etc. created an environment that, for me, was stressful and made it ultimately more difficult for me to focus on things I was passionate about. So, that's something that affected my decision to no longer stay on board.
The other one was a disregard for the crew's safety. In a meeting some weeks ago, the captain asked us if we'd be willing to go out to sea again if we got tested for the virus beforehand. We all said yes, so that seemed like it was going to be a way to ease back into work. However, there was no followup with the company to get tested. In another meeting, which was maybe a Thursday or a Friday, don't quite remember, our captain said that we were scheduled to go back out to sea and start working starting the next week on Tuesday (23Jun2020). I started drafting up a formal as well as an informal resignation letter on Saturday, as well as sent him a text that I will be handing him those on Monday, so that he was aware that I intended to quit. It was intended to be a 2 week notice, with the condition that I would only remain on board for two weeks if we do not head out to sea, during which those time I would be doing whatever I could to train the newer crew members and do whatever other work that needed to get done. My condition being also that if he still intended to take us out to sea, that I would start packing my stuff right away on Monday and would have everything I own off the boat by the time they set sail.
So, Monday came, I gave him both resignation letters, and he had one final meeting with the crew, which, in a nutshell, was him asking if any other crew members feel the same way that I did about leaving for sea. None of the other crew members objected to it, so the plan remained the same, and they'd be leaving the next day. I started to pack all my stuff along with helping them get ready for their departure. I also donated many of my things to them because I didn't have much room in my car (Plus I didn't think about getting some kind of miniature storage unit for my car to tow. Hindsight). Plus, my sending our captain that text on Saturday allowed him to contact someone to replace me, someone who always joins the crew during summers, so they wouldn't be shorthanded when they set out without me, so all-in-all, I left them under the most amicable of terms possible in my opinion.
My formal resignation letter was just something very basic to give to the company, but my informal resignation letter was basically a letter for the captain and the crew, saying why I'm quitting, and what my next plans were. Not necessary, but I felt that having been a part of the crew for 2 years, I could at least let them know what I intended to do next if they were curious.
So, as soon as I saw them off, and got everything squared away in my car, I set off towards Flint, Michigan. I decided on Flint because of the water crisis. The handling of the crisis by the government, both state and federal, has been a disaster from day one, and to me, stems from the prioritization of profits over people. I could go into the how and why it's been such a disaster, but I feel like I would just be repeating what's already been said in books or documentaries or other media.
In any case, I chose Flint because there's an obvious problem, and I want to do something to solve that problem. My intention and goal is to set up a water filtration system that will allow the people here access to clean, safe water for free. This is not something I intend to make a profit off of, this is something I want to be part of my goal of promoting and providing basic human rights to everyone unconditionally. Achieving this goal would also be a step in undermining a system that prioritizes profits before human and environmental health and safety. You can call it capitalism, or the monetary system, or the economy or whatever, either way, it's a problem and it needs to go.
It would probably be impossible to just dismantle it immediately, but I feel that with individual actions like what I intend to do, we can make a smooth transition away from it. I feel like the time we have is short before irreversible damage from pollution is made, sealing many people's fates, and we can't rely on simply voting, or urging for-profit organizations or corrupt governments to do anything to change things. 2020 has been my wake-up call, and I realize that individual actions can absolutely make a difference, but those individual actions need to be so much bigger than they were before to make that difference.
Here's my current plan for Flint. I am looking at cheap land to buy that I can build a living area, but more specifically and importantly, a laboratory, as well as a workshop to experiment with and develop water and soil filtration systems. I intend to use some form of concrete composition, and utilize dome shapes for the building structure. I don't have a whole lot of money to spend, less so when I purchase the land, so I will have to plan out their design and size and function very carefully without wasting resources. I will have multiple dome buildings on the lot, but I will start with the living unit first. It will probably be fairly basic, and may even be taken down in the future to be replaced with a more advanced version, but I just need a small area where I can sleep, eat, and focus on researching filtration, architecture, materials science, pollution, and a variety of other topics that will help me in my goal. I ain't a genius or anything, I don't have all the knowledge for how to achieve my goal right now, but I intend to acquire that knowledge, and to put it to use once I do.
One of the other things I want to do as well is, at some point in this process, make multiple living units on my property for like-minded people who are willing to contribute in some way, to stay at rent-free. I've made clean water in Flint my goal, but I feel that there's likely other people who would also want to achieve that goal as well, and if they had a place to call home while working towards that goal, the goal will be reached all the sooner. So in addition to the clean water goal, I'd also be helping a small number of people avoid homelessness without having some kind of monetary condition attached.
So, that is where I'm at right now as far as plans go. I have a couple of lots that I've looked at that look promising, and will be looking at more and getting in contact with landowners once I make my final decision. I'm fairly active on Twitter, so I may post updates there semi-frequently, so follow me there if you want to keep informed on this. Send me a DM or something if you want, I might be understandably busy during all this, but this doesn't need to be a solo act for me.