To give to the TLC Foundation through the Phil Cook Memorial Fund, please click here. To select the Phil Cook Memorial Fund, please click the drop down arrow beside the TLC Foundation in the ‘Transaction Details’. Your support enables the TLC to continue protecting and managing nature in Tasmania.
This fund was established by Di Kilbride in memory of her husband, Phil Cook.
From the time I met Phil in 1985 in Vancouver Canada, he was concerned about the state of the world and wanted to live a different kind of life, exploring other lands, other cultures, a simple lifestyle. I had similar dreams and had already done a lot of traveling and living in other countries and cultures too. Phil returned to Australia in 1985 and I learned to sail as crew across the Pacific in 1986 on different boats to NZ, flew to Australia for a “visit” that never ended. I’m still here. Even then, Phil was writing letters to stores asking for solutions to single-use plastic bags and letters to the newspaper about the cutting down of old-growth forests.
He had met a guy from the US while traveling in Asia in 1977, who used investigative journalism as his way to reach the world with his own concerns. They became fast friends who cared deeply about living in a sustainable world, just in totally different ways. Phil wanted to live it, Dave wanted to write about it. Dave says, ‘Phil was one of those rare people who could go anywhere and talk to anyone, all while dealing with the world on his own terms. An accomplished sailor, a master electrician, a constant traveler, a student of the world…He will be missed every day’.
I feel this quote from Mordaunt sums up how Phil lived his life:
One crowded hour of glorious life / Is worth an age without a name…
Phil and I bought a 28 foot sailing boat 33 years ago to sail around the world with no schedules or time frame in mind. During those years we saw much of the South Pacific, some of the North Pacific across the Indian Ocean to South Africa and up to the Caribbean before sailing home across the Pacific to Australia. During that time we worked wherever we could, sometimes small jobs related to our trades of accounting or electrical, sometimes bartering, never staying long at one time but coming back to the same places often when we could.
We saw a lot of changes over the 25 years we cruised the world, so much plastic and rubbish washed up on beaches or swirling in the currents of the gyres. We saw fish stocks deplete from the time we started cruising to the return trip across the Pacific, so many more illegal fishing boats out there. We attended conferences on a few Pacific islands as visiting cruisers and together with the other attendees, we discussed their future with climate change and rising sea levels, increasing population and consumption.
We returned to Australia determined to make our own contribution to our community and to projects that we believed would help us rebalance some of the devastation we have all witnessed. We joined bush regeneration groups as volunteers in Coffs Harbour, I joined the volunteer working bees at the botanical gardens and currently sit on a few volunteer environmental committees, but there is so much more that needs to be done. We contribute monthly to many worthy projects including Tahiti Coral Gardeners, French Polynesia and B.C. (Canada)’s Protection of Wildlife and the campaign to stop the culling of wolves in Canada.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better - Albert Einstein
After Phil’s death I was introduced to Margie Jenkin and the work being done by TLC. I had read My Rainforest Years by Germaine Greer and was inspired by others finding ways to combat the destruction of old forests and wildlife habitat in a long term sustainable way. I was impressed with how TLC had a proven record of being effective and innovative in their approach. I knew that Phil would have jumped at the chance to support TLC.
In memory of Phil’s dream of saving the forests and restoring land in a sustainable way, we are donating this money to a memorial fund in hope that one day the forests and wildlife will be able to survive once again in harmony with us, without human interference for political reasons or personal gain.
Banner image of a rainbow over Recherche Bay Reserve is by Phill Laroche.
Photo by Eric Burrows and poem by Hazel Westbury.