Imagine driving out to southern California for vacation. Instead of easily accessible golden beaches, you find yourself surrounded by housing developments with privatized beaches. Instead of clean, fresh, crashing waves to paddle out to, there are sea walls, toxic runoff, and marine debris. Sounding less like the sought-after vacay, we're in danger of this scene becoming a more-often seen reality. Fortunately...it’s an exciting week in the world of waves!
Conservation International and Save the Waves recently announced their partnership in support of ocean conservation. Their aim? To increase the number of World Surfing Reserves – areas "that protect world-class wave breaks and their surrounding coastal environments.”1 Today, at the Global Wave Conference, the CEO of Conservation International, Dr. M. Sanjayan, will be sharing more of what’s to be expected by this strong syndicate.
"Surfers are uniquely positioned to become an incredible force for ocean conservation...this community is over 30 million people strong, with both a deep connection to the ocean and incredible buying power."
He is right. Save the Waves has numerous campaigns and programs to promote ocean conservation and proactively protect the water and shorelines. They work to reduce pollution in surf zones and surrounding areas, and of equal importance, work to educate the public on the profound environmental, cultural, and economic impacts of ocean preservation.
Whether a devoted surfer or a landlocked marine enthusiast, the condition of the ocean affects the well-being of the global climate. Oceans regulate our earth system, supply living and non-living resources, and provide social and economic goods and services. The ocean is in constant exchange with the atmosphere, transferring energy and carbon to help reduce climate change effects.2 Ocean currents transport large amounts of heat and water around the world and constantly interact with the atmosphere, which enables the ocean to act as a heat sink to delay the full effects of climate change.
The energy of the ocean can be harnessed with wind farms to provide renewable energy sources. Speaking of sources, the ocean is also a staple food source for over a billion people. By protecting the marine habitats and coral reefs, the nursery grounds for fisheries and the diverse ecosystem have environments to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, if these extraordinary reserves of life and energy are destroyed (either by the toxic wastes and/or accelerated shoreline erosion), there will be a major shift in the ocean currents, loss in marine diversity, and reduction of the carbon exchange.
Saves the Waves does more than preserve the swell...it preserves life. By forming a dynamic partnership with Conservation International, there are sure to be global waves of positive change!