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The more you know the greater impact your actions can have

July 24 2009 | Activism, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Yvon Chouinard said "The more you know the less you need." I love the simplicity in that statement. The statement itself is minimalistic, it has a stickiness/hook to it and I think of it when I feel myself slipping into consumer mode... yet look at us.

Look at how we approach surfing... we know virtually everything about swells and coastal conditions.

I woke up this morning and before a foot even hit the ground I knew every real time, relevant detail regarding the swell that's hitting Southern California. I knew the swell direction was coming in at 197 degrees (telling me where to go), the waves were averaging 4.3ft @ 18 seconds (telling me what board to take), the tide was negative but rising nicely, the wind was 1 mph at 335 degrees, air and water at 70 degrees (telling me no wetsuit)... oh and I had streaming video.

So, I got out of bed.

I should probably mention that to gain access to that plethora of intelligence I didn't open my Mac. I hit one button on my phone and and then tilted it. Nutty.

Like most people that surf with some regularity, I fully understand the argument against innovation. Specifically the argument on the bumper sticker that says "Leashes and forecasting ruined surfing" (for those that aren't frequent surfers, the sticker suggests that those two things opened up the sport to... anyone and everyone). But the real truth is that those two things didn't do anything to the waves except let others in on the joy of riding them. What we're really suggesting with statements like those is that surfing is a limited-resource activity and that as long as we're a part of the group that get's access to that limited resource... we're all for anything that limits access by others. Sure, I detest crowded waves as much as anyone. I hate being dropped in on, etc. But I'm guessing that while many of us surf without leashes some percent of the time... how many of us totally disregard all forms of forecasting?

Here's my point. Let's all stop the whining about the past and look forward. Instead of looking backward, let's look forward as there is a whole lot at risk and this era of large-scale environmental damage is high stakes. We need all hands on deck.

We can't turn back the clock of time. No, I'm not suggesting we embrace globalism. I'm simply suggesting this... use the tools that exist to maximize what you're seeking to accomplish what you want to with your life.

I dig that I can have that much info regarding swells. I love that I can text with my family from across the globe. And I love that emerging tools can be pointed and powered directly at our mission.

We know so much. We know when and where a swell will hit. But we also know that single-use plastic is changing our ocean's composition. We act on the former, what about the latter?

We know the water temp to tell us to leave the wetsuit at home... but we also know that sea-level rise is real and is impacting coastlines all over the world. Why does the former warrant more action than the latter?

I love the age-old (Mies van der Rohe) "less is more" inspiration behind Yvon's quote. It cuts to the heart of consumerism. Yet I think derivatives of this suggest a more holistic look at life... something like "the more you know the greater impact your actions can have." Of course, that impact can be positive or negative... but your actions will undoubtedly make an impact.

Two points there. First, you know a ton. Second, act. Join us. Come to a chapter meeting. Subscribe to a blog on wave energy. Invest a few minutes to really understand marine protected areas. Look to the right of this post, there are a number of topics being updated there.

The more you know the greater impact your actions can have.

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