Surfing Soapbox: A year of global environmental activism

The year 2010 has in some aspects been one of my best and worst years all rolled into one. In retrospect, this year feels like two years rolled into one.

Spending 32 days on the high seas without setting foot on land was a year in itself but what a great opportunity I had to learn and experience. I was one of the first, of a crew of 13, to see the South Atlantic Gyre in person. A big thank you to Anna Cummins, Marcus Eriksen and the 5 Gyres Institute for giving me that opportunity.

I have met so many great people this year that have their hearts in the right place. That is nothing short of amazing. From raising money for the sustainable, green school in Costa Verde International located in Sayulita, Mexico, to spending the Fourth of July with all of the wonderful people who attended the "Save Our Sound" fundraiser in Gulf Port, Miss., to being named by the Patriot's Day Parade committee as Laguna Beach's "Athlete of the Year" — wow.

My only point is that people care and people are watching the things that we do. We can either choose to live our lives in a proper way that values one another and also gives back to our environment or choose another path.

However, I see more and more people getting behind the right and more important things in life other than shopping and watching reality TV. I see more and more beach cleanups every day (thank you, Zero Trash Laguna) with more and more people attending and making it nothing short of a great community-based event or gathering. Just last Monday the Pacific Edge hotel held an impromptu beach cleanup.

Even more special are the e-mails and texts that I get from kids around the world, who all want to be a part of the solution and not the problem. It is the next generation of kids that are really taking environmentalism into the next realm. If there is one common theme that I have learned from my travels this year, it is that given the chance, the people with their hearts in the right place will always show up for the right cause and circle the wagons. This gives us the hope of a better tomorrow and a better world that we can all enjoy.


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