Saturday, October 6, 2007

California Coastline


November 12, 2007 - This evening I surfed alone near where I grew up as child and easily lost myself in the rhythms of catching waves and paddling through the backlit breakers. Subtle connections such as this are my primary motivation for being outside, but sometimes they catch me by surprise, as if some primordial being inside me is more cognoscint of them than my conscious self.

Despite this connection with the ocean, I have to admit to feeling somewhat unresolved as to how we, as humans, have influenced a place that in many ways is our lifeblood. We clearly love our coastlines, but like a pack of surfers scrambling for a single wave, we are dealing with a resource that is finite. And yet unlike a wave, the sea is sending us signals that all is not well.

Consider the decline in marine species that were previously abundant, such as tuna and swordfish. Also troubling are the increased incidences of red tides, brought on by agricultural and domestic run-off that flows into creeks and tributaries and then instigate a "bloom" of growth along the coasts - a bloom that although essentially natural now occurs so frequently that it disrupts marine ecosystems (and tonight gave the water the look of amber ale). And perhaps worst of all are the offshore platforms, there because of our increasing demand for petroleum energy.

Of course, in many ways the same means that provided me with a childhood at the beach and the experience I have had in the ocean have been at a cost, whether it is due to my family's beach house or the gas that I burn to drive to the beach. I am a part of the problem. As I consider my role as an environmental photographer, and a soon to be father, I need to give back more than I take away.