Global warming = melting icecaps = rising sea level. Uh oh. Photo: JS Callahan/surfEXPLORE


The Inertia

Stop telling me about global warming. I honestly do not care.

If I’m perfectly truthful with you, that’s the first thought that goes through my head when people try to preach about the accelerator pedal my actions are pressing down on. A childish response of blanket indignation to something I know they are right about. Can I be alone in this response? Wouldn’t more have been done to improve our impact if we empathized with their call to action?

I, like anyone, would do everything in my power and beyond to protect someone I loved, regardless of the consequences. Just imagine if we held this connection to our local break, beach, parking lot or stretch of coastline. “But wait,’ you say. “We do. We don’t litter, pollute, destroy or vandalize. I love surfing and everything that goes along with it. I am playing my part.” We explain surfing in poetic form on a daily basis, as this transcendent, esoteric being which sits between this world and the next; when perfect waves explode the senses to the heavens and the clouds spell out our thoughts in Braille across the sky. Go and check instagram, twitter, facebook or any other social media outlet, to see the bastardized love oozing from every screen. So if our love of the sport is not in question, then where does the problem exist?

David Attenborough, a British naturalist and broadcaster, has had a career spanning some 60 years. He’s traveled and explored the furthest corners of our planet, and he has seen with beautiful clarity the change that is happening to migration patterns, icecaps, population numbers (both our own and of the natural world) but not once has he lectured, pleaded or preached the need to change. His idea was simple: if we are able to show the inherent, unique and diverse natural beauty that exists within the platform on which we operate, then that cause alone will bind us to the world and make us care for it in the same way we care for our own needs without the need to preach.

Inspiring people about what we love is easy. As nature has done 99% of the work already for us, we just need to raise an arm, point and say look, stare closely into what makes our world tick, drive a curiosity deep within people and wonder that this really does exist, but on a infinitely precarious tightrope. This means understanding what makes a huge punt by Gabriel Medina possible, the tingle you feel inside while waiting your turn in the line-up and why we deem it socially acceptable to walk through snow in the depths of winter to get to the barely melted stuff.

Caring for the environment is no longer a pastime of some political agenda or hemp wearing hippy. It is a simply core responsibility for us all. Jonas Salk said “If all the insects were to disappear from the Earth, within fifty years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within fifty years all forms of life would flourish.” I’d like to proverbially punch him in the face by showing him the earth can flourish with us in it.

 We just need to reinvent our call to action.


  • disqus_wYVCXjhn3O

    We need to figure out how to make it personal for everyone. What will I miss due to climate change? Real maple syrup; salmon; Ocean City, MD; Port Mahon, DE; New Orleans, LA; lake trout; apricots ……
    Lee in Dover, DE

  • ScottTX

    For anyone who does not live at the margin (e.g. on a coast, in a very high or very low latitude, or with oscillating water levels and short growing seasons) or who does not make a living from resources at this margin, making this a personal plea will be difficult. People are intelligent enough to understand what a world looks like without what they may take for granted. But on a very general level, it still all comes down to education that will inform peoples’ decisions. In the U.S., to the majority, this education base of course is our school system but also religion. Neither includes enough content to ingrain a subconscious, environmental concern. I’m absolutely a cynic and don’t believe anyone or any group can counteract the…inertia…of climate change. So be self-motivated and do what you can on your own. Live the action you want, don’t preach, and let intelligent people follow your lead.

  • Kevin Whilden

    Surfers should care about climate change, for the simple fact that it directly threatens surfing. In 30 years, coral reefs will be 90% extinct globally. That’s bad news for surf breaks like Pipeline, Teahupoo, and Cloudbreak that depend on coral to form the break. This is a direct result of CO2 emissions that acidify and warm the oceans. Even worse, every surf break globally will suffer from a bad case of “permanent high tide” which is caused by sea level rise from melting glaciers. Not fun, since most breaks suffer at high tide.

    There are many positive solutions that surfers can take. A good place to start is buying an “ecoboard”, which is a surfboard made from sustainable materials like bio-resin and recycled foam. These boards can have a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions, while still having the same or better performance of a normal board. Every little bit helps, and sustainable surfboard is a great place to start.

    You can learn more about ECOBOARDS at our website: http://www.sustainablesurf.org/ecoboard

  • Kevin Whilden

    Surfers should care about climate change, for the simple fact that it directly threatens surfing. In 30 years, coral reefs will be 90% extinct globally. That’s bad news for surf breaks like Pipeline, Teahupoo, and Cloudbreak that depend on coral to form the break. This is a direct result of CO2 emissions that acidify and warm the oceans. Even worse, every surf break globally will suffer from a bad case of “permanent high tide” which is caused by sea level rise from melting glaciers. Not fun, since most breaks suffer at high tide.

    There are many positive solutions that surfers can take. A good place to start is buying an “ecoboard”, which is a surfboard made from sustainable materials like bio-resin and recycled foam. These boards can have a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions, while still having the same or better performance of a normal board. Every little bit helps, and sustainable surfboard is a great place to start.

    You can learn more about ECOBOARDS at our website: http://www.sustainablesurf.org/ecoboard