(Photo by Gregory Borne)
How we engage with and understand our environment is a hugely complex process. We all understand the world differently, drawing on our personal experiences and preferences. The way we behave towards the environment is equally complex, simply understanding something and even caring about something does not necessarily translate into positive action. And even if it does, so many things take priority in our lives, family, finances concerns about the future that perhaps stop us acting in a way that goes beyond immediate concerns.
But what if you spend a lot of your time doing something, or thinking about something that innately connects you to nature, immerses you in it and becomes a lens through which you understand the world around you- what then? This could be anything that engages you with the natural world whether it be rock climbing, kayaking, running or even simply walking in the park. For me it is surfing, with some cycling thrown in as well. As a surfer you are literally immersed in the natural world, your experience from one surf to the next is dictated by the elements and in that respect each surf is unique. From walking across the beach to paddling out to the lineup and waiting for the right set of waves to connect with you at that point in space and time you are acutely aware of the world around you. And if this is not simply out of appreciation of beauty of the context that you find yourself in it is almost certainly out of respect for the ocean and a strong urge to survive and surf another day.
But what impact does this immersion in nature have on our understanding of it and subsequently our actions towards it. Is it therefore possible that surfers can lead the way and inform broader society on issues relating to sustainability and climate change? That question has formed the basis of my research for over five years. But as always what is needed to explore these issues is data that is capable of moving past the anecdotal rhetoric and asking pertinent and informed questions. And to that end I've teamed up with Sustainable Surf and the SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography to ask those questions through the Deep Blue Survey.
The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and, whilst contributing to a greater understanding of the issues and an opportunity to help save the world should of course be reward enough, by completing the survey you will also have the opportunity to win a Slater designs ECOBOARD. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to win it !
For more information and to take the survey go to the Deep Blue Survey Page www.sustainablesurf.org/deep-blue-survey/