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One by One

I just attended a lecture by Professor Takami Hatano, visiting from the International Buddhist University in Osaka, Japan. He was speaking about climate change and pollution issues impacting Japan. Someone in the audience had a question about oil tankers leaking, crashing, dumping, and otherwise making a mess in the ocean surrounding the Japanese islands. He confirmed just such an incident and then shared an anecdote which, to him, was completely mundane; he did not anticipate the impact this story would have on his American audience. Speaking only for myself, I can say it filled me with reverence and gratitude.

When an oil tanker crashed in the Sea of Japan the current washed most of the crude oil ashore on Japan's beaches. Professor Hatano told us that after this happened, "Volunteers from all over the country came to the beaches. Everyone came to help. Everyone cleaned the rocks, one by one. Everyone polished the rocks, one by one. One by one we cleaned the oil away."

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