A new wave is breaking.
There has been a lot of change afoot for me, and there were a few things I had been avoiding acting on. Those subjects called for much research and thought. They have been on my plate repeatedly lately.
In one circumstance, I had to take a close look at an environmental group which some friends had created many years ago, for the purpose of preserving beach and ocean access. The group, Surfrider Foundation, has done an amazing amount of good work, and I have assisted it by various means, since its inception in the mid 80s.
The past several years have seen me sort of look the other way, (after I was politely ignored) in pointing out what I thought to be some rather serious misdeeds. I won’t get into those, because that is unfair. I simply disagreed with the circumstances and events, which I was cognizant of having occurred.
After much consideration (months) I penned a manifesto of sorts and circulated it amongst my friends and colleagues, which may make me “the enemy” in their eyes. I dislike hurting people. So I tend to be very slow to act on some things. But that tenet (distaste for inflicting harm) just came back and forced me to do and say something. Many of these people are life long friends and confidants. I wanted, no, needed, to be clear.
Surfrider has joined with a Govt agency (NOAA) and implemented actions which I see as completely opposite of those it started out with.
In fact, this is being endorsed by the President. Here is the link.
It reads as something good. It is not. If you believe it is, then you may want to consider that both the MMS and EPA (Govt agencies) were in charge of regulating the drilling projects on the Gulf Coast. I am assuming you now know the part they played in contributing to the disaster, and assisting in it, with the implementation of massive usage of Corexit. Some call it the “crime of the century”.
I disagree with assisting in this. On every level. Hence this blog. The ocean is something I take very personally, as I do regarding my obligations to my friends.
Keep in mind that I was right there when this group started, and have supported them in various ways throughout the years. That is a lot of support, and a lot of years.
I realized, what has been quietly eating at my insides, is that what I do requires me to listen to everybody. When, as a result of listening, a situation arises that forces me to actually DO something, I am no longer a Photographer or Journalist. I have become something else. It is very uncomfortable for me, and I hate how it makes me feel. But to say and do nothing instead, is amoral when one believes a wrong is being committed against innocents. What is being acted on now by our Government, and being promoted by the Environmental Community, will alter the rights and freedoms of all future generations of ocean users.
Often, change and ethics shifts occur in the merest of increments, and one does not realize the ship has actually turned around and is heading the wrong way.
After many years of informal efforts to input the process, I have found that the group is determined to keep people out of the ocean. Something I want no part of, in any way.
They believe it is for the good of the ocean. It may be.
Below is an excerpt from the manifesto which I sent to my editors, close friends and colleagues in August of 2010.
“My position basically, is that I want no Government regulation of my access to the Ocean or any of my activities in it, when those activities are already thoughtful, informed and benign, long term.
I believe that if you think Government is here to help the environment, that you are seriously misinformed. If you look closely at the recent episode in the Gulf, it points at exactly what one needs to realize: The system is not working. When something is broken, you do not give it more responsibility, weight and money. You stop.
As someone who has worked with the regulatory control system in the development of laws and regulations for industry in California, I think that this entire movement, to place a relatively healthy ocean under increased lockdown to the public, is a sham. It is regulating and controlling the wrong thing: YOU.
When organizations such as Surfrider were formed, it was written into the charter that they existed to preserve beach and ocean access. Someone may have rewritten the charter, as SR is now not only endorsing the MLPA, but has worked with NOAA to implement public access sanctions behind the scenes. One need only look as far as the banning of PWC’s in the Monterey Bay Santuary.
Here is another revealing link to a piece published by the San Luis Chapter of Surfrider. I am going to point out here, that they agree with surf rescue usage of PWC’s , but as this rule is applied in real life, the rescue community is NOT allowed to train or practice anywhere in the Santuary nor will be. So the liability for the people behind the legislation should someone die as a result, is rather high. I will not bother to point out every one of a huge number of inaccuracies in the document as arguing is pointless at this time. I am done trying to push the square peg of reason into the round hole of prejudice and prurient interest