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Surfrider new years resolutions

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  • Paul Jenkin
    Eye On The Environment: Epiphany, not a shark, stuns surfer http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2007/dec/30/epiphany-not-a-shark-stuns-surfer/ By Joey
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2008

      Eye On The Environment: Epiphany, not a shark, stuns surfer

      By Joey Briglio
      Guest writer
      Sunday, December 30, 2007

      Several weeks ago, I was enjoying a somewhat modest northwest swell at Surfers Point in Ventura. The water temperature had dropped a couple of degrees from my last surf session because of the winter upwelling, but after 15 minutes, my appendages were fully numb to the ocean's icy touch. My mind, however, was far from being numb. It was running rampant with all kinds of outlandish ideas and thoughts.

      You see, as water temperatures become colder every winter, my mind will sometimes dwell on the types of sea creatures that enjoy these chilly conditions. For instance, sharks. Great white sharks. Great white sharks that love to bite scrawny surfers like me.

      I turned my board toward the beach and started my paddle into the wave when all of a sudden I felt something latch around my hand and "bite." I literally back-flipped off my board and began screaming like a 5-year-old schoolgirl.

      The other surfers in the water looked back, half expecting to see a horrific scene unfold, but sadly, all they found was me whipping a plastic bag with an empty beer can around in an attempt to free myself from its clasp.

      Drains empty to sea

      As embarrassing as my experience was, it was a pivotal educational moment for me. It was the first time I had truly encountered trash while surfing. Obviously, I'd seen trash on the beach and even seen some remnants floating around, but never before had it actually deterred me from enjoying my hobby. This was serious.

      I began thinking about ways I could prevent future "encounters" from happening.

      Did you know that storm drains found on most streets are designed only to carry rain water and do not receive any treatment prior to discharging into the ocean? That means anything left on the surface of our streets, driveways and land runs the risk of being swept out to the ocean during a rainstorm. Litter, pet waste, agricultural pesticides and other harmful pollutants can reach the ocean through these drains. So I decided to partner up with our local Surfrider Foundation and do my part in making sure our beaches and oceans stay clean.

      The Surfrider Foundation has created a list of New Year's resolutions I believe will help reduce storm-water pollution and clean up our ocean and beaches. My hope is that other folks in the community will add these to their lists:

      Time for resolutions

      1. When I go to the beach, I will pick up my trash and someone else's. After all, there are more than 300,000 pieces of plastic per square mile found in the middle of the north Pacific Ocean.

      2. I will never dump liquid waste down a storm drain. If I change my own oil, I will bring the waste oil to a certified oil collection center.

      3. I won't use chemical pesticides in my garden, because rain or overwatering could carry them to the ocean and local surf spots.

      4. I will encourage my ocean-minded friends, neighbors, co-workers and family to join the Surfrider Foundation or other local environment-friendly organizations.

      5. I will buy organic food whenever possible. Organic food crops are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers that can run off into storm drains and waterways leading to the ocean.

      6. If I smoke, I won't leave my butts on the beach or throw them out of the car window, because non-biodegradable cigarette butts are the No. 1 debris item found during beach cleanups.

      7. I will save energy and conserve resources, in part by reducing, reusing and recycling.

      8. I will fix my oil-leaking car because I know the oil will find its way to the ocean.

      9. I will check and see if my workplace has an employee-giving program. I can designate an environmental organization as the recipient.

      10. I will check out http://www.surfrider.org and see what my local Surfrider Foundation chapter is up to. I can volunteer and make a difference at my local beach.

      The city of Ventura is establishing itself in "green" leadership. The city is currently working with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and other watershed stakeholders to create an effective new storm-water program to guide us in the coming years. To find out more about these efforts, visit http://www.cityofventura.net/environment.

      — Joey Briglio is an avid surfer, Surfrider Foundation member and environmental specialist with the city of Ventura.
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