Segment: Power of One and Quaker Philosophy

Source: Interview with Sharyn Richardson, Secretary of Friends of the Everglades and personal assistant to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove.

Link to Audio: SPC955_6

Length of Segment: 00:04:04

Interviewer: “What other satisfactions, like that, being involved with the Friends of the Everglades, for you?”
Richardson: “Knowing that I’m doing something, that […] I’m not saying, ‘Well, what can I do?’ It’s like […] with the nuclear arms race, that seems almost so far removed from anything in the Everglades. I can say, ‘Well what can I do? What can I do, about the nuclear arms race?” There’s a few things I can do, but this is home. This is right here. This is happening right now and there… there is something I can do. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much. Maybe reading Marjorie’s mail to her or taking letters for her doesn’t seem like much, but it is the best that I can do. I’m doing the best that I can do and knowing that I’m doing the best that I can do is satisfaction. I’m not just sitting back and hoping that someone else will…will do it.”

Interviewer: “Do you ever get discouraged?”

Richardson: “Yeah. A lot!  There’s a lot of discouragement fighting for things. I think probably, just an example, Port Bougainville is a big discouragement, but we’re not so discouraged that we’re giving up. We’re always optimistic. Always optimistic. […] I think optimism is a real good thing, because it really keeps you going. There is a lot of discouragement, for sure, but you have to stick with it. It’s not over yet and Port Bougainville is a good example of that. It’s not over yet, not even close. We’ve still got a lot of fight in us and we’ll fight.”

Interviewer: “Well, what […] you mentioned, a couple times, about Quaker philosophy; does religion have an important role in motivating you to do this?”

Richardson: “Well, I don’t think I’m an overly… I don’t consider myself a religious zealot, by any means, but I believe in the natural order of the universe and I believe in the natural order of… Well, the earth is part of the universe, as is man and as are all creatures on this earth and I think that […] everything has a right to be here.  I mean developers have a right to be here, but I think that there’s a place and… it’s hard to explain. I feel like… I don’t know what I’m trying to say.  […] I don’t consider myself a religious person, but I do appreciate beauty of the world around me, of the universe around me and of the natural order of things. I think that animals going extinct or facing extinction is… there’s something wrong there with the natural order. Man is basically responsible for that and so man has to take responsibility, and I feel that as a part of the human race, that’s […] sort of my religious commitment, so to speak, is to protect what’s there, what I have been given.”