By Zachary Moses
As a teenager I worked on the beaches of northern Florida. Each morning us “beach guys” would put out chairs and umbrellas for the tourists, and each evening we would put them away. It placed me on the beach during every kind of weather. From lightning, to hail, to superstorms. As we’ve recently seen with hurricane damage to this region, the Florida Panhandle gets some serious weather.
One evening, I was gathering equipment as fast as I could due to severe offshore weather moving suddenly inland. To prevent open umbrellas turning into wind driven javelins, I tore down the beach closing them as quickly as possible. I watched the gigantic gray/black thunderhead building just off shore. As I closed the last several umbrellas, my anxiety started hammering. In my peripheral view I could see lightning jumping between the cloud-tops and suddenly felt the winds change and come rushing inland. Suddenly, everything went white. For a moment there was no sound. An eerie image developed and hung in my vision, moments before I heard the explosion and saw the raining sparks of the bolt of lightning which had just struck the mast of our pontoon sailboat.
I’d never seen a storm build or move so quickly. I abandoned my fool-hearty umbrella quest and ducked inside one of our equipment boxes, where I curled up and cried, while waiting for the storm to pass.
When I finally emerged from my shelter, the sun was setting, and the sky was a swiss cheese of gray/black clouds. Red-dusk sunlight was streaming through the cloud breaks. As I walked up the beach collecting equipment that had been strewn about in the wind, I looked up at the dunes, wondering at how much light I had left. At that moment I saw the most amazing sight. A red rainbow. Like other rainbows, this one had multiple colors within it, but these colors were all red hues. This is still the only time in my life that I’ve seen this outstanding phenomenon.
I was telling this story to a friend of mine, and he began speculating if there were other shades of rainbows. Maybe blue ones, or green ones. A thought popped into my head. What would a green rainbow look like? I started thinking about the association between rainbows and the LGBTQ+ community, and an idea struck me. A green rainbow might look like a group of LGBTQ+ people making for a greener future. A more sustainable future fueled by a passionate group of like-minded individuals. That’s a powerful image. The Green Rainbow. It even sounds like the name of a super hero.
To start our Green Rainbow, we are looking into anything that we can do to make our activity in the world a little bit better for the future of the planet, and humanity in general. Our first project involves planting trees to offset the carbon from the flights our clients take to join our tours. As of today, we’ve welcomed roughly 1,800 trees into the world. I can’t wait till we’ve found homes for a billion more. Maybe use squirrels? I mean…squirrels are way better at planting trees. Little rascals. Let’s do better. We’re going to keep planting trees, then move from planting trees to bigger projects like preserving shorelines, restoring corals and basically restoring a better tomorrow. We’ll leave the world better than we found it. The LGBTQ+ community working together with our allies as we always have. Together we’ll be the Green Rainbow we’re capable of becoming. This time we won’t just revitalize a neighborhood, we’re going to revitalize this whole damn planet.