The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
Last week a group of us gathered on our local beach for Hands Across the Sand—an international event in which participants hold hands at the water’s edge in silent protest against drilling for oil and gas and in support of clean energy from wind and sun. As we begin the transition away from dirty fossil fuels, it was a great reminder of how people can come together to build the community of change.
Any event takes the work of lots of people to make it happen, and there’s great joy in seeing people work well together in all the little parts of a larger action. For the Hands event I was part of an advance team that arrived early and staked our claim to several beach pavilions and put out the signs marking the location. We then relaxed for a bit and enjoyed the crashing waves of a windy spring day.
The next group of volunteers came with more signs and food and beverage—staples of most any successful event. More people filtered-in throughout the morning, and we made sure to try to greet those we didn’t know so that they would feel welcome. A solar panel was setup as an iconic backdrop for the event that gave a big “YES” to clean energy.
Our good friends from Sassafrass–a popular Gulf coast folk duo—arrived to sing their very special songs about protecting our natural world. And these were special songs indeed, as lyrics flowed through phytoplankton, dirty coal, white pelicans, and tar sands.
About 60 people came—less than in previous years when the devastating BP oil tragedy was fresh on minds. But they still came, preserving an annual event that keeps the dangers of dirty energy in mind as energy companies move closer to seeking permission to drill off the Florida coast.
And they ate, talked, shared stories of environmental activism, and enjoyed the Gulf view from the shade of the pavilions. They made new friends, shared information, and strengthened bonds with those they already knew.
A spirited contingent from our local Democratic women’s club kept things lively, and an environmentalist family arrived with a toddler in tow—the next generation getting ready for action. The owner of a local solar energy company who always supports our events was given the stage to talk about the burgeoning revolution in solar energy. He told us he was a Republican and he hopes that’s OK with everybody. I reminded him that it takes people from every place on the political spectrum to transition our society to our clean energy future, so of course it was OK.
I had the honor of being the main speaker. I spoke about how we can transition our homes and neighborhoods to a clean energy future by building right-sized housing and bringing our daily needs nearby in communities that are made safe and pleasant for walking and bicycling.
A few minutes before noon we all walked together onto the beach, many carrying signs advocating for our clean energy future and warning against dirty fossil fuels. We gathered in a line a few steps from the edge of the Gulf. At noon we reached out to those on both sides of us and joined hands—a simple and beautiful act that brings people closer in a way that humans have done for thousands of years.
With joined hands we stood silently in quiet contemplation of our beloved Gulf and the need to transition to a clean energy future. There were young and old, musicians and artists, a county commissioner, paddlers and surfers, business owners, Democrats and Republicans—all in perfect unison.
My favorite moment came when an African American family enjoying a day at the beach rose from their towels and joined hands with us. It was a great reminder that as the many ethnic groups gain full access to the opportunity that made America the land of plenty, they are able to expand their concerns beyond the basic everyday ones to the longer term need to maintain a living planet.
After 15 minutes we released hands and let out a celebratory cheer. Everyone was smiling and festive as we walked back to the pavilions and shared more ideas about how to move our community forward.
While next year’s event is a year away, we will continue to build bonds and raise awareness about ending our addiction to dirty fossil fuel energy and moving to a cleaner and better future. And the memory of how we came together and worked together to join hands will sustain our hard work to build the community of change.
Bob Purdy brings “change” to World Paddle for the Planet Day
This week, Leslie and Christian connect with another wonderful advocate for clean
water—Bob Purdy—known to many in the stand up paddleboard world for his over 1000
consecutive days of paddling, and as founder of World Paddle for the Planet.
Bob shares what motivated him to action, the challenges and successes of his efforts,
and his excitement for next week’s World Paddle for the Planet Day–this time on The
Bob refers to himself as as a “Standup Paddlesurfing, Elder in Training.” He’s a
passionate paddler and environmentalist who uses paddling to help reach people with
his message of hope. One of his favorite words is change—recognizing the need to
change our relationship with the planet, and that change happens “one person at a time,”
according to Bob.
His passion is infectious and his message hopeful:
The Planet is asking us to “Change”. Look around wherever you live and assess the air, water
and land. Assess the culture you live in. Is it healthy? If not, ask yourself what you could do
to create health! I encourage you to grab hold of “Change” and make a difference! Give your
time and energy if you can. If possible donate to an organization that you resonate with. If all
you can do is smile, do that!
Bob donates proceeds from his efforts to the David Suzuki Foundation, a non-
profit organization that uses science to advocate for solutions to issues like climate
change, ocean pollution, and loss of habitat. David Suzuki is a Canadian scientist and
environmental advocate who is internationally famous for his environmental work and
familiar to many Americans from numerous programs he has hosted on PBS.
So come meet Bob in-person at World Paddle for the Planet—October 10 – 14 beneath
the sunny skies and white sands along Lake Powell in Panama City Beach, FL. And
before that, join us this week on The Paddler’s Planet to learn more about Bob Purdy’s
quest to use paddling to help protect the natural environment that sustains us all.
Enjoy the podcast now
You can also listen on Stitcher Radio and iTunes
Hey there this is Leslie Kolovich and I invite you to take a listen to some of my best informative shows about sharks. The following 3 shows help us understand the crucial importance of sharks in our oceans. I believe education is key to understanding just about everything we fear most. It’s Shark Week and we will be bombarded with horrible images that turn the shark into our enemy. I urge you to get past what Hollywood will place before you, try to understand and use common sense. Sharks are to be respected and play a very important role in our oceans.
Enjoy the show with 16 year old Sara Brenes who is very passionate about saving sharks. She tells us why in this very wonderful interview with The Shark Whisperer
Also, enjoy the show with Dr. John Carlson discussing his research with the National Marine Fisheries Service, including shark tagging in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. John Carlson
If you get a chance go on Amazon and look for the Book “Sea Salt” by Stan Waterman. Look for the 90 minute segment on Discovery’s Shark Week called “The Man Who Loves Sharks”. This interview I will cherish for life. Stan Waterman
It is my hope that these fantastic people will give us all a new outlook, a sense of urgency to stand up and do something about the terrible situation our shark population is in. Fear is brought on by not using our inner spirit to question, to learn, and listen~ Leslie Kolovich.
Thank You Surf Blueridge SUP for your continued support to SUP Radio Show
I had the opportunity to see this film on the big screen last night in British Columbia and was moved beyond words. Please watch this poignant film and let me know how it makes you feel. Lets all Stand Up together NOW! For more information, go to www.mountainsurfadventures.com.
Congratulations to West Coast Reporter Kristin Thomas for being chosen as a Featured Athleta Athlete. Kristin is an amazing all around woman, mother, wife, businesswoman, friend to everyone and SUP Elite Racer! SUP Radio is Super Stoked for Kristin Thomas! What an great ambassador for Women of SUP!
Check out her story on Athleta Featured Athletes!