The Luncheon Society/An update with Global Explorer Roz Savage/SF-Fior D’Italia/April 10, 2012

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When you’ve surmounted the unimaginable, what do you do next?

For Roz Savage, she completed something magnificent when after she experienced the implosion of her personal life as a consultant in London. While sitting down one day, she wrote her obituary of what would amount to a long and full life; cube farming in London was not part of the picture.

She put down her briefcase, picked up a set of oars and was off to explore the world.  In 2006, Roz participated as the only female solo rower in the Atlantic Rowing Race and spent a harrowing 103 days rowing from The Canary Islands to the beaches of Antigua. 

She joined us for a very intimate luncheon at Fior D’Italia in San Francisco to give us a look to the next chapter of her life.

As she recounted in her book, Rowing the Atlantic—Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean ,  which was published in 2009 and became the subject of two Luncheon Society gatherings, one in San Francisco and another in Los Angeles., she recounted how the technology which told her friends that she was still alive began to fail her as she struggled to survive in a hostile place. Radios failed, oars snapped, but through it all she persevered and made it alive.

Stopping barely to breathe, Roz began the next phase of her adventure, which blossomed into becoming the first woman to complete a solo row around the world. Next up was to circumnavigate the Pacific, which was completed in three legs. In 2008, she traveled from San Francisco to Hawaii.  In 2009, the continued her trek from Hawaii to Tarawa.  She completed her Pacific row in 2010 with a short hop from Tarawa to Australia, but landed at Papua New Guinea instead.  She then rowed the Indian Ocean in 2011 from Australia and ended up in 4,000 miles later in Mauritius and the added danger for her was to evade pirates.

All in all, Roz has spent over 520 days at sea, pitting herself against the elements and we are thankful that she has emerged victorious. 

However, Roz has seen the oceans at a vantage point few have experienced.  North Pacific Garbage Patch , a slice of ocean twice the size of Texas, has become the final resting place for a ghastly collection of plastic waste, used once by consumers and forever forgotten,  swimming in the ocean, where it remains out of sight, out of mind—unless you’re a dolphin.  

Plastic might break apart into smaller pieces, but it never leaves us.  It enters into the food stream and harms the ecosystem in a fundamental fashion. However, The North Pacific Garbage Patch is an abstract to so many who throw away their plastic bags. It lacks the visceral appeal of the garbage being thrown along the highways, not unlike the famous public service advertisement where Iron Eyes Cody cried as garbage was thrown at his feet. The challenge that Roz and others will have to connect the dots on how our seemingly innocuous waste impacts the wildlife we cannot see. Instead of living vicariously through her adventures, we can partner with her as she clean up the oceans, one plastic bag at a time.

While that will be her most difficult row, she will certainly persevere in these waters as well.

The Luncheon Society™ is a series of private luncheons and dinners that take place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Manhattan, and now Boston. We essentially split the costs of gathering and we meet in groups of 20-25 people. Discussions center on politics, art, science, film, culture, and whatever else is on our mind. Think of us as “Adult Drop in Daycare.” We’ve been around since 1997 and we’re purposely understated. These gatherings takes place around a large table, where you interact with the main guest and conversation becomes end result. There are no rules, very little structure, and the gatherings happen when they happen.

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