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The priceless gems we don’t see

January 02 2014 | Waves, Communications, Culture Shifting, Surfing,

Sometimes it's easy to see the things we value and other times it's darn near impossible. 

Our instant-gratification mindset is constantly fed by life's chatter... the Lakers win, the new iphone, the market closed the year up 30%... we see events like these because they demand our attention. Something happened, something is new or something changed.

Meanwhile, life's treasures largely go unnoticed, taken for granted or worse... forgotten.

This occured to me over the past few days as I read a trove of end-of-the-year posts from organizations. 

We can "see" new things and get caught up in the trending-hype. Meanwhile, we can fail to see the things which we would say have the highest value in our lives and are right in front of our eyes, like our families.

This brings me to Surfrider's mission, we exist for the protection and enjoyment of oceans waves and beaches via our powerful activist network.

The absolute best case scenario, the highest level of success for Surfrider is to have a beach or wave stay the same as it was last year and the year before.

The business of preservation is harder to see than the business of stuff being built.

If the natural state of our a coastline is lost it's ironically easier for us to establish value and meaning with people. "Plastics shouldn't be on this beach, come help us clean it" is an easier message for people to grasp than is "help us continue to keep this natural beach pristine."

Of course Surfrider can point to real fights and a real, growing movement. I did that in this end-of-the-year post a few days ago.

But the simple truth is that the highest level of success is NOT a coastal fight, it's preservation of the coast without the fight. 

When I think about what is ahead for Surfrider and think about preserving those special places we sometimes take for granted... I think back to a conversation I had a few years ago with Peter Cole (#85, here).

Peter is one of the unsung heros of surfing and environmentalism. He is one of the people who has been fighting, for more than two decades, to "keep country country." Surfing's "Mecca", the North Shore of Oahu, remains undeveloped, rural and even bucolic because of Peter and a few others. They have created massive value in every surfer's mind by building nothing... they preserved the wonder of nature in their backyard.

As we kick into 2014 let's not forget about the priceless gems right in front of our eyes. Let's continue to work together to preserve the things that we love the most.

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