How These Surfers Are Teaching that Beach Cleanups Are More than Just ‘Picking Up Trash’

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Original post published on November 30, 2017 by Krystal Rose in theinertia.com

Do you remember the moment when you caught your first wave? I do. And I remember all the emotions that came with it: the rush of adrenaline, the euphoric feeling of being on a wave, and the stoke of knowing that my life was forever changed. However, out of all that I’ve gained from learning to surf, awareness and consideration for the ocean are the most significant.

As a surfer, my connection to the ocean has led me to believe that protecting it should come naturally with the lifestyle. I know I’m not the only one that thinks so. Take Mary Haberski, founder of Daana Blue, and Helina Beck, founder of WaveHuggers, as examples. Both women are part of a growing collective of surfers who are taking action in their local communities to foster awareness of the benefits of surfing and the importance of protecting the beach and ocean.

For the past three years, Mary has organized community beach cleanups in Venice, California that also offer introductions to yoga and free surf lessons (via WaveHuggers) as a way to include other surfers and get more people in their community involved in taking care of their playground.

“The beach clean up itself is not about ‘picking up trash’,” Mary says. “It’s about enlightening others to make conscious choices in their everyday life. There is no way to make a difference if we, as a community, are not aware of an issue. Beach cleanups are simple and essential in raising the public’s awareness.”

“‘Protect where we play’ is a mantra that we live by,” says Helina. “We are excited to frolick in the ocean and give free surf lessons to the community after coming together with this common goal of caring for this place that brings us joy.”

Collaborative, awareness-building events like the Daana Blue Venice Beach Cleanup give surfers and sustainable brands a platform to inspire their community. If there is a key takeaway from the advocacy efforts of surfers like Mary and Helina, it should be that growing mass awareness can come through encouraging small, conscious daily actions.

 

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