This past weekend I was fortunate to be both a presenter and attendee of the Surfrider Foundation’s Florida Chapters conference attended by some of the most dedicated and wonderful people on the planet who have dedicated themselves to help protect our oceans, waves and beaches.
During our conference we were fortunate to hear lectures and presentations from Surfrider personnel and activists as well as from environmental experts on topics like global warming and it’s effects on sea level rise, water pollution and water quality issues, the problems with plastics and how to reduce our dependence on them, the problems associated with our dependence on oil and our need to move towards renewable and clean energy and the benefits derived from Ocean Friendly Gardening just to name a few.
In the movie “A League of Their Own”, there is a favorite quote of mine near the end when the one teams pulls off a miraculous victory. The announcer says “I’ve seen enough to know I’ve seen too much”. This quote applies to how I felt after listening to all the science presented by the experts at the conference and from my many years of involvement in Surfrider. There is no doubt in my mind that we are at a cross roads with regards to our environment and it’s health.
Our oceans are becoming more polluted than ever, ocean and air temperatures are rising at an ever increasing rate, our coral reefs are in serious trouble and we are losing animal species or seeing a drop in the numbers of many species at an alarming rate. We are polluting our rivers, streams and oceans with runoff from “fracking”, drilling and from the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers just to name a few.
I know it’s easy and maybe comforting for us to believe these issues aren’t real or are trumped up by those “tree huggers” who have an agenda but as I’ve said before I’ve seen enough to know better.
I’ve been surfing now for fifty years and I have first hand witnessed the negative changes in our oceans and environment. As a child I travelled with my family to a Gulf Coast and South Florida that was exquisitely diverse and beautiful with clean beaches and divers sea life and shells. On recent trips I often see beaches full of litter, some rivers and waters that are too polluted to swim or surf in and a depletion in the numbers and kinds of shells, corals and sea life.
It has been said and believed by many of our fore fathers and the ancients that we don’t own the land, that we are only residents of it for a time and that we are simply stewards of it. As stewards of it, I believe it’s our responsibility to protect and honor it and leave it in as good of shape as possible for generations to come.
As such, I am grateful to all my fellow surfriders as well as all of those who are committed to protecting our land, rivers and streams and oceans, waves and beaches for us and future generations.
For those who don’t see any problems with our environment I suggest you at least open you mind and heart and study up on the issues. if at that time you still don’t believe then so be it. If you do then I hope you get involved and volunteer. Nearly every one of our chapters, as I’m sure it is with most other environmental groups, is desperately in need of volunteers and activists thus leaving the work to the dedicated few.
I’m not one who thinks we can change everything in our lives or in the world overnight but I do believe if we all make positive changes in our lives and do our little part to help the environment then we can make a huge difference and protect the beautiful world we were gifted with for future generations.
Thanks again for checking in and I will look forward to seeing you again next week.
Aloha and keep the faith.