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Standing Up For The Planet By Bob Purdy-SUP Radio

Bob Purdy Standing Up For The Planet

Bob Purdy founder of Paddler for the Planet and World Paddle

Standing Up For The Planet by Bob Purdy

I work with developmentally and/or physically challenged adults during my day job at Tier Support Services. Most of the time I wonder who is working with who, it’s a coin toss who is teaching who, and who is benefiting the most!

The challenges that people I work with face on a daily basis are staggering, and yet they are some of the most positive people I know. Confidentiality prevents me from giving you specifics, however I think I can paint a pretty good picture of what life is like for them.

Imagine for a moment that you somehow end up in a wheel chair and only have feeling in your upper body and your cognitive abilities are challenged as well. Further imagine a typical day, starting with getting out of bed. Remember you have no use of your legs. Do you live alone, in an assisted facility, at home? If you live on your own, your surroundings all have to be built to your level, wheel chair level. Low stove to cook on, sink to get water from, fridge that is low, etc. etc. Now throw into the mix less than full control of your upper body. How long would it take to make a breakfast for yourself? Take a shower? Brush your teeth? Get dressed? By now you will have a sense of how long it takes a person with developmental and/or physical challenges to do things.

How do you stay healthy? Often people in these states are very susceptible to germs, obesity, injury and a host of other health challenges that add to the diagnosed challenges. How does this person get around town? Rides are a given, just the mode of transport that is a question. A variety of public transportation is made available to persons with developmental and/or physical challenges. Let’s say you need to make a doctor’s appointment, and it is booked for Tuesday at 3pm. Handy Dart is a type of transportation that can be booked here in B.C. where I live. You are pretty much at the mercy of their scheduling. For example, trips here cannot be booked between 2 and 3 p.m. due to a block booking at a local agency. Can’t get to this appointment on Handy Dart. Bus? Possible, if you want to roll 4 blocks to the nearest stop, take two buses to get to the office, then repeat for the ride home. Round trip time, including the appointment, approximately 2 and a half hours for a 15 minute appointment. That is if it doesn’t rain. Or snow.

How does this person survive financially? Here in Canada, qualified people can apply for and receive a PWD (person with disability) cheque monthly. Grand total of cheque, $900 and change. For many of the people I work with this is the only money they get every month. To pay rent and utilities, buy groceries, clothes, and whatever else a person in today’s world needs to pay for. Here in Kelowna, the best possible scenario for rent is approximately $600 a month. That leaves $300 a month for the rest. I know many people who make this work.

Assuming one is able, a person can work to supplement the PWD. Here in B.C. if you do work, you are allowed to make $800 a month over and above your PWD. If you make more that, the government in its infinite wisdom claws back the overage. If one was to make $1,000 at a job, the government would claw back $200. The net income for taking the initiative to work, $900 PWD +$1,000 income -$200 for the overage would net you $1,700. This person in a wheel chair who really wants to work is penalized for his or her initiative, not much financial incentive to make more than the $800 allowed.

This scenario is not fiction. Not only do people with developmental and/or physical challenges have to deal with what nature or circumstance gave them, they have to deal with systems and a society that adds to their challenges. Our office is only one of several that provides assistance to people not able to meet the challenges of life on their own, and all of those agencies have waiting lists of people that want to take advantage of our services. That means that many people with developmental and/or physical challenges are left to fend for themselves.

Bald Eagle, British Columbia, Standing Up For The Planet, blog by Bob Purdy www.supradioshow.com

Sometimes Standing up for the Planet means Standing up for those who cannot Stand for themselves.

World Paddle For The Planet. Tofino, British Columbia September 13, 2014

The Art of Balancing Balance-Standing Up For The Planet By Bob Purdy-SUP Radio


Bob Purdy Standing Up For The PlanetDip, Swish, Glide. Dip, Swish Glide. Dip, Swish, Glide. Nothing like a flat water paddle!

Paddle, Paddle, Paddle. Paddle, Paddle, Paddle. Paddle, Paddle, Paddle. Nothing like paddling into a wave!

There is an honesty about paddling that is hard to find off the water. Conditions like weather, wind, waves, temperature, and terrain, all collaborate to hone a paddler’s skill. You can’t fake it on the water.


I have an old friend from my windsurfing days that used to say, “The bullshit stops at the beach”!

It’s quite simple really, a paddler’s skill set had best match the conditions, survival depends on it. Posers paddle over their heads at their own peril. Nature can be a fun playground one second, and the next can turn to bite you in the ass. Nature is ever changing and is not shy about showing us her many faces. Under estimate Nature and she will b*%^# slap you. Hit it right and there that’s where the magic is.

At first Standup Paddle Surfing is all about survival. Just getting off the beach, onto the water and back again is a triumph! A paddler very quickly learns that “Balance” is the most basic tool in the big box of tools needed to succeed at this sport. More correctly “Balancing”, is what is required. Like all things in life, Standup Paddle Surfing is fluid. Movement is constant, and no ten feet of water is the same as any other ten feet of water. Every paddle is different, every stroke of every paddle is different, and every second on the water is different. “Balancing” is an acquired skill, and is instantly recognizable to even the most uninitiated. Fluid movement is a skill we can all see and appreciate. Strength, power, grace, coordination, courage and more, are all qualities we can spot easily when someone like my good friend Norm Hann hits the water for a session. At the core of fluid movement is balancing, the ability to adapt to changing conditions. Strangely, a majority of us would prefer that things could be the same, predictable, in the comfort zone. Balance is elusive, it requires a static image in a perfect set of conditions to create a short lived experience. Balance is rigid. Balancing, on the other hand is an art form, an intensely beautiful art form. “Still Points” are not able to find a home in art of Balancing!

Lake Okanagan

My first time Standup Paddle Surfing was an experience that is engraved in every cell of my body. It happened at Cocoa Beach in Florida on a 3-4 foot, short interval wave day, far from ideal conditions for a crack at a new sport for the first time. I seriously thought about not going, I knew the conditions were a bit big for a first time paddler. I sat and watched the likes of Rob Parmenter and Brian Keaulana make it look easy, they clearly understand balancing. After a while I decided I had windsurfed waves a lot bigger than those ones, so off I went. It was a bit of a shaky first voyage, still I got out and had my first taste of yet another addiction. I had so much fun, and I was feeling pretty good about getting off the beach and onto the water. That thought happened before I actually got back to the beach, and just as I was about to step out of the water Nature b*%#^ slapped me, right on the nose. A wave caught my board, picked it up and slammed it into my face, breaking my nose. Great entertainment for all on the beach, especially after they all realized the blood all over my face wasn’t life threatening. One of the best days of my life!

So, what has all this got to do with “Standing up for the Planet”? That question begs the question, “Is Black Friday really necessary”?…

Dip, Swish, Glide. Dip, Swish, Glide. Paddle, Paddle Paddle!


Passive Bystanders-Standing Up For The Planet By Bob Purdy-SUP Radio

What does Standup PaddleSurfing have to do with “Changing the Way we live on the Planet”?

Bob Purdy Standing Up For The Planet

Words fascinate me! Take the word bystander for instance, “a person who is standing near but not taking part in what is happening” according to Webster’s! What happens when we place the word passive in front of bystander?

Passive, “used to describe someone who allows things to happen or who accepts what other people do or decide without trying to change anything”, again according to Webster’s. A passive bystander. Who would have thought that passive bystanders would form a majority in today’s societies?  Who could have predicted the destructive power of a passive bystander?

Passive bystanders are the single biggest challenge the Planet faces today!


I am frequently asked what Standup PaddleSurfing has got to do with “Changing the Way we live on the Planet”? In a word, the two are connected by the word “connection”. Connection is what Standup PaddleSurfing has to do with “Changing the Way we live on the Planet”. Connection, “the act of connecting two or more things or the state of being connected”, Webster’s again.  Connection, interconnectedness, is what makes the World go around. The opposite of connection is disconnection. Disconnection is the state that allows a person to do all kinds of crazy stuff, and I would postulate that disconnection is the state of a vast majority of the population in today’s World. Disconnection is what prevents the World from going around. Put another way, “in order to connect with something, something has to be disconnected, or not connected in the first place. However you define it, connecting is by “Nature”, an action word. In order to connect with something a person must “do” something, which runs contrary to the definition of a passive bystander. Somehow, we the people, have become a society of passive bystanders, and it is costing the Planet in a big way.

We humans are a complex lot. We humans have complex behaviors. We humans are a “Force of Nature” (thanks to Dr. David Suzuki for that one). We humans are, without question, the most disconnected species on the planet. Wars, Greed, Abuse, Poverty, Climate Change, Racism, Religion, and more thrive because we are disconnected. We humans consider ourselves separate from “Nature”, a major disconnect. We humans mostly live in our heads, and function without input from our hearts, a major disconnect. These two disconnections are the source of many of the messes we have created for ourselves. We have convinced ourselves that we have superior intelligence, and as a result we have also convinced ourselves that the laws of “Nature” do not apply to us.

Winter in British Columbia

So, how does a cerebral creature connect with the heart and “Nature” to end this cycle of messiness? One of the best ways I know to connect is very simple.  Get out and experience “Nature”, chances are you will experience a twofer! When one is in “Nature”, one can appreciate the “Oneder of Nature”, and when one can appreciate the “Oneder of Nature”, one can also connect with the heart, voila, a twofer! When one connects with the heart and “Nature” things like war do not compute. Things like greed do not compute. Things like racism do not compute. Etc, etc.

One of the best ways I know to get out in “Nature” is to head out on the water on a Standup PaddleSurfer! No cell phone, no computer, just a place where a person can slow down, breathe, and experience “Nature”. As my good friend, Leslie Kolovich says, “it’s hard to be grumpy when you’re on the water!”

Words fascinate me! One can change the meaning of a word just by spelling it differently. Passive buystander. Passive byestander. Oneder. However one spells it, one thing is clear, the Planet can no longer afford passive bystanders. The Planet is asking us to become fully engaged, fully alive. The easiest way I know of to “Stand up for the Planet” is to “Stand up for the Planet”!…


Ceremonial Paddle-Standing Up For The Planet By Bob Purdy-SUP Radio

Paddle for the Planet’s “Ceremonial Paddle”

Wherever I go, this “Ceremonial Paddle” goes with me!

Bob Purdy Holds ceremonial paddleI had two Whiskey Jack Paddles that I got a few years ago when I had my store. I was saving them for the right time and occasion that would arrive at some point in the future. That occasion finally presented itself back in January this year. I was invited to speak at a rally that was organized by “Idle No More” which coincided with the joint review panel review for the proposed “Northern Gateway Project”. For those that do not know, Enbridge wants to build a pipeline from the Alberta tarsands to the port city of Kitimat in B.C. that would carry heavy bitumen. The tarsands are arguably the dirtiest project on the Planet, and the Northern Gateway project would see a further expansion into more widerness areas. Their proposal is to then offload the bitumen onto super tankers for export to China through the Douglas Channel, the Hecate Straight, then into open water, which are known and acknowledged as some of the most turbulent waters on the Planet. The joint review panel was set up by the federal government to hear testimony for or against the project after which they will submit a report with their findings. 80% of the population in B.C. opposes this project, myself included.

I found out after I received the invitation that I would be speaking right after Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, who leads all First Nations in British Columbia. I had not yet met him, and asked the organizers if I would be able to make a presentation to him. First Nations have taken a strong lead in opposing the Northern Gateway Project and I wanted to express my gratitude for all they are doing to steward the “Land”. I also wanted to publicly show that I, as well as other nonindigenous people support their efforts. My idea was to present one of the two paddles I had to Grand Chief and ask him to sign the remaining paddle for me to begin using as a “Ceremonial Paddle”.

I received permission from the organizers to make the presentation, and the next step for me was to make sure that both paddles had the right “Spirit”. On the morning of the rally I got up early and took the paddle I would give to Grand Chief for an outing on Okanagan Lake here. The rally started at 9 a.m. which meant I had to paddle early, 5:30 a.m. early, in the dark (this was late January). As it turned, out the wind was howling as well, 20-30 km/hours worth. I paddled from Cedar Ave Park, a controversial waterfront development in Kelowna to the mouth of Mission Creek, an important part of the Silyx Peoples traditional territory. A one hour paddle took me two. I was blown backwards on several occasions, had many near falls, and when I finally finished, I was satisfied that the paddle I was gifting to Grand Chief and the Okanagan Nation would have the intended “Spirit”.

Before I went to the rally I signed the paddle that I was giving to Grand Chief “Standing Together” from me on Day 758, January 28, 2013. Like everywhere the joint review panel went there was a good crowd on hand to let them know this is not a popular, or responsible proposal. The difference in Kelowna was we citizens were not allowed to witness the hearings, in fact spectators were banned from what is supposed to be a democratic process.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip Signs ceremonial paddle

Grand Chief spoke eloquently, and reminded us all that we only have one Planet to live on. He encouraged us all to consider the consequence of our daily actions to “Mother Earth”, and pointed out the many negative effects the Northern Gateway Project would have. I vaguely remember my name being called to come up and speak, and I approached the makeshift podium with two paddles in my hand. I remember thinking, “I wonder if Grand Chief thinks I am going to club him to death. I don’t often get nervous when I speak, I was definitely nervous on this occasion. Words must have come out of my mouth, I heard the crowd encouraging me on. That, or they were wondering if I was going to club Grand Chief to death!

Grand Chief was very respectful and listened to what I was saying. When I announced that I had a presentation for him, his expression changed, and I remember seeing this big smile light up his face. He either figured out I really wasn’t going to club him to death, or maybe realized that one of the two paddles I held was a presentation for him. I presented the paddle to him and asked if he would sign the one I had so that I could carry it with me on my travels. His was the first signature on this  paddle, and I am honored to carry a small part of his “Spirit” with me everywhere I travel!

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 7.37.44 PM

Since January that paddle has been to many events with me, and has gathered the “Spirit” of many people along the “Way”, along with a few more signatures. Literally thousands of people have contributed something to the ‘Story of the Paddle”, and I carry the “Spirit” of each and every one to each and every place I go! Like “Grains of Sand”, all of these people, as well as people I have not yet met are “Standing Together” to “Change the Way we live on the Planet”! This “Ceremonial Paddle” gives me strength when I need it, and is a symbol of the “Changes” we can and must make in order to pass on a healthy Planet to future generations!…


Choices- Standing Up For The Planet By Bob Purdy-SUP Radio

Bob Purdy Standing Up For The PlanetChoices.  We make a bunch of ‘em every day!

I had a whole big thing put together about how to make choices, and decided it was all crap. So, instead I made the choice to write about stuff we already know. We already know we have messed up the Planet on a pretty massive scale. We already know that we have social challenges. We already know that our obsession with making and saving money makes us do things that are out of character.


My question:  If we know all this, what are we going to do about it? What are we going to do differently to tackle the stuff we already know? How are we going to solve, oh let’s say “Climate Change”? Is it possible to stop fighting with each other and turn battle grounds into playgrounds (Thanks for that one Hajime)? What about the distribution of money on the Planet, can we find a way to be more equitable? Bear with me for a minute. Speaking of Bears, Grizzly Bears in British Columbia, Canada, where I live are still being hunted for no other reason than to be mounted as a trophy in someone’s game room, but I digress. It appears to me that the answers to the questions above will determine the survival of our species here on Planet Earth.

The choices we have made in the past, by design, or by accident, have not been good ones. Don’t take my word for it, just go outside and look around where you live, is it in the same condition as it was ten years ago? If the answer is no, and the evidence suggests it is, then we need to start making better choices. Consider this, all choices that we make have a “Ripple Effect”, good or bad.

A life of choosing to eat donuts has a “Ripple Effect”, literally and figuratively. Couch Potato’s do not enjoy the same health benefits as the physically active. “Paying it Forward” sets off an entirely different vibration than “It’s all about me”. Simply put, the choices we make today define the life we live tomorrow. Some choices are forced on us, others are voluntary. Some choices we make are good ones, others, not so much. Sometimes choices are easy, often they are not. Not making a choice is a form of making a choice. Choices can be made individually or as a group. Love ‘em or not, the choices we make today, or don’t make, set off the chain reaction that future generations will inherit tomorrow!

Changing the Way we live on the Planet” begins with the choices we make, which are based on our “World View”. If the environment is something that is valued, choices will reflect that “World View”. If economics are in the driver’s seat, choices take on a whole different look. Because we are so prolific, every choice we make, every day, shapes our World and everything on it.

DonutSo what will it be today, the donut, or the Apple?…Apple

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