The climate is right for action

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Belinda Baggs has served a long apprenticeship.

Two decades ago she was one of the world’s best competitive longboarders with victories at national and international level. Then she doffed the coloured vests and became a surfing stylist - a timeless noserider and avatar for feminine grace - and also a travelling ambassador for Patagonia.

Surfing fame taught her media skills, but it was from within the Patagonia fold that she saw how those same skills could be focussed elsewhere, on a subject other than one’s self. The Pata stable is not just full of good surfers, but good surfers who stand for something. Mobilisers more than mouthpieces. The lessons were many as Belinda played a supporting role in various projects.

(Patagonia/Jarrah Lynch)

Late last year Belinda and good friend Johnny Abegg attended a climate conference in Queensland. Like anyone with an internet connection, she’s aware of the peril of unchecked greenhouse gas emissions, but she returned from Queensland shaken (“I was partly terrified”, admits Belinda) but also motivated to act on what she’d learnt.

A week or so later, Belinda called Johnny for a debrief and the pair were surprised to find they’d arrived at the same conclusion.

“I told Johnny, ‘I think we should start a group called Surfers for Climate Action’,” says Belinda. “Amazingly, he told me he’d had the same thought, he’d even registered the name Surfers for Climate.

They decided to stick with the more succinct Surfers for Climate and begin the not-insignificant task of creating an action group. For Belinda, her apprenticeship was over, and now was the time to make good on what she’d learnt.

The mainstream is full of climate action groups, but Belinda sees Surfers for Climate as filling a different role. “There are so many organisations out there already working on these issues,” says Belinda. “We don’t want to be in competition with them, however there are issues, conversations, that are exclusive to surfers and Surfers for Climate can be the vehicle for that.”

When it comes to other surfing environmental groups, and there are a few, Belinda admits linking up with them was a consideration. “We think we can all support each other,” says Belinda. To that end, the Surfers for Climate website includes an ‘Allies Hub’ which is a list of groups working in either specific regions or on specific causes. By pooling numbers they can help each other’s causes, and together they can also make a difference at the political level.

And this is where it’s all leading. Belinda makes no bones about the need for individuals to make decisions, admitting that taking stock of her own carbon footprint was a motivating force, however for lasting change they need to be more ambitious and force systemic change.

“The goals of Surfers for Climate are very clear,” says Belinda. “We have four, one of them being to make ministers representing surf communities take action on climate change.”

The other three goals are pragmatic, indeed they read as clear and sensible objectives, yet the science of climate change has long since left the building and it’s become an active front in the culture war. Considering the heat in the argument - boom, boom - are they prepared to face the various differences of opinion?

“Yeah, I am,” says Belinda. “People could point a finger at me and some of the things I do, but on many levels I’m making choices that I think make a difference, and also, for some matters, we don’t have much choice at all.”

“That’s just the way things currently are,” says Belinda about a world built upon a base of fossil fuels, before swinging towards an answer that justifies their movement, “but it’s the reason we’ve started Surfers for Climate: to drive change.”

To kick things along, a three-way collaboration between Surfers for Climate, filmmaker Jack McCoy, and one-time Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was released this week. 'Wine Dark Open Sea', with Belinda surfing, can be viewed here. Yeah, it costs five bucks, but all proceeds go towards 'Allies' Surfrider Foundation and Seed Mob, so you're not really paying to watch a video, you're chipping in for the cause.

Comments

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 3:15pm

I see the first objective is to get ministers to take action. Good luck with that, don’t be put out if 100% energy has a 10% outcome. But 10% outcomes at macro level are significant, even game changing. I wonder what the other pragmatic objectives are? This organisation comes at a good time. We have had the slow less “visible” threat of climate change for a while with some positive changes but much more needed. Then we had Covid which represented, like Climate change, an invisible but potentially deadly foe which was perceived as a more imminent threat. In Australia we have learned a great lesson with Covid. Taking Victoria as an example, and to a lesser extent even NSW letting in the boat, there have been a few cock ups which resulted in fast moving spread and damage. At one point in Victoria, people would have been forgiven looking at mathematical modelling that the situation was a deep shit possibly irreversible situation. But in the midst of this challenging situation people started to really cooperate, both government instrumentalities and the general public alike, and we were able to turn around a really perilous situation and bring new infection rates to zero. It’s really an amazing fact that we could do it! And it’s very encouraging and empowering if you ask me, that when people really decide to act they can actually transform situations. It really means we can do the same on climate; we sure can make a big positive difference especially if everyone does even a little bit. Even at the individual level so many people have realised this truth by simply putting in a veggie patch during Covid. They work with the earth a little bit and then, hey presto, it gives back food! No need for tractors, trucks and supermarkets- not at the individual level anyway. No need to even drive to the supermarket to pick up some lettuce etc.,so less pollution and consumption of resources. All of these small things translate into a different philosophical approach to living which to smaller or greater extents are good for the planet. And also doing something like looking after a little plant can help reinforce ones appreciation for the cycle of life.
This surfing climate thing is a great idea. I hope it changes things for the better. I suggest they might consider a little bush tucker section showing edible native plants that are found on our coasts. People won’t go out and necessarily eat them all, but it might help connect people to the plants and appreciate them more so they begin to understand those plants are part of a larger organic living habitat which is all interconnected and interdependent.

Barrelrider

Robwilliams's picture
Robwilliams's picture
Robwilliams commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 5:20pm

Environmental change is up to those of us who care. It won't happen overnight but all efforts big and small add up.
Attitudes change and momentum grows. Keep making it a priority and it will become harder for leaders and councils to ignore.
Environmental neglect can't be swept under the rug as easily as it used to be. Hold governing or invested parties accountable.
Work within your own space and ability to be the change you want to see. Environmental concern is not just for greenies as they wish to make out. A healthier world is a better world. It starts with you not election promises.
Turn off a light, share a ride, recycle, invest in cleaner energy, grow some vegies. use less water. Get in touch with science and explore your local environments. Be environmentally aware and cellebrate the fact you want change for the better. Be it your life time or the kids growing up. Positive action is always better than no action or attempt at change for the better. Nurture the world in which we live and prosper.

Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 5:00pm

I know a woman I grew up with, she lost her house to a bushfire last year, blames climate change for it even though her next door neighbour lit the fire and has been found guilty of arson
(He got 2 years suspended sentence)
This woman is the biggest virtue signaller U will meet, turns out she burns her rubbish and has been for twenty odd years, she is not taken seriously anymore in this town, people smiling at her gets her triggered every where she goes
If U are going to talk the talk Belinda, then walk the walk or U won't be taken seriously by anyone sensible

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 6:36pm

lotto is worried about belinda bag being taken seriously because...?

Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 7:47pm

I see U edited/deleted your original comment,il answer your original comment anyway
I know said woman personally
She is a great person.mother, member of the community. She is clearly not mentally unstable or suffering from mental health issues
She reacts to people in an aggressive way cuz she has been caught out being clean lazy with her rubbish and is now not taken seriously for her concerns on climate change
I was getting off the bus and I should have waited til I posted comment
I applaud Belinda for doing this with her life and it's good that SHE knows she will have criticism and finger pointing from various corners. If she does get to speak on a national platform at some stage she hasnt got some goose pointing out this or that about her which is not a good look and taking away the message

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 8:11pm

I guess even if she’d done something like that ( and I have no knowledge), in a way it doesn’t really matter because everyone has screwed up sometimes. What’s more important is that she wants to do something good now. In a way it’s better if you’ve screwed up, because you have your own negative experience and you can weigh it up against the positives and make an experiential choice and those choices are often very solid. Sometimes it makes great people! You know, that adversity, those mistakes etc. Yassa Arafat was a great example- he was regarded as a serious terror dude, but later won peace prizes. Screw ups give people depth and can make them great people- it depends what you do with them. They shouldn’t be a disqualification - they are often the best qualification!!

Barrelrider

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Saturday, 14 Nov 2020 at 5:55am

Climate action?

Nah, let it rip.
Without freedom what do we have?

tidak_bagus's picture
tidak_bagus's picture
tidak_bagus commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 8:38am

a head up your arse

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Saturday, 14 Nov 2020 at 8:33am

I don’t like that photo of her surfing though. It looks too ‘Patagonia’ contrived .. like it’s saying ‘look at me I’m a timeless art piece’ type thing. Her expression is too serious and the stance is too ‘classic contrived’...
To me it’s like an unhappy signal - I’d much prefer to see someone with an expression of surprise or joy or awed engagement on a wave - even a kooky face is fine as long as it shows passion - even a ‘oh shit am I gonna make it face’ or a ‘oh shit maybe I’m gonna fall off face’ but a serious face surfing just doesn’t do it for me and looks unnatural to me...I’ll bet there’s better photos of her surfing- I’d hope so.

Barrelrider

Jaspo's picture
Jaspo's picture
Jaspo commented Saturday, 14 Nov 2020 at 3:06pm

thanks for posting this, stu

dayzoff's picture
dayzoff's picture
dayzoff commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 8:38am

Amazing how once you can’t catch planes all over the world indulging your passion for travel, surfing and burning through mountains of consumables in the process, that you then find a new cause.......!!!!!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 10:55am

Yeah the pic from the drone looking down has been grating on me for a few days...
Every board there is urethane foam, urethane resins, or perhaps epoxy and styrofoam or extruded styrofoam core. How you gonna recycle that? Acetone (nasty) to eat the foam, then what? We have not progressed much from when Luke Egan with broken board was on screen in the Jack McCoy film and the words

We need an alternative
To Petrochemicals

came up on the screen. What was that, late 1980s? Early 90's?

Dunno about the leggies in the pic, but the Patagonia wetties are probably a step in the right direction.

The point being, be the change you want to see.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 1:17pm

Patagonia? Seriously? Suckers.

onetimeonly

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 1:23pm

So not even the Patagonia wetsuits are clean green and good for the world and children smiling? Devastated.

Trashman's picture
Trashman's picture
Trashman commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 10:03am

Climate Change. Since 1910 1.44 degree temperature increase. Cause?

Industrialisation and the reliance on burning fossil fuels. Followed by bash, bury, burn of short life products. In the EU when waste reached 780 kilos per person sustainability became a key discussion for Legislators, industry, community and business. Landfills closing. (Plenty of land in EU for landfill) Incineration being phased out. Reuse and repair, in country manufacturing for long life. Decisions made to become the worlds leading 21st century Circular Economy (rather than the current Australian economy - 19th century and linear) The bad news is Australia is North of 3000 kilos per person, operates the largest landfill in the Southern Hemisphere (NSW) and is planning to build the largest high volume incinerator, that will simply destroy sophisticated products and materials in an increasingly finite world.

Any one who has benefited from learnings and is genuinely planning and acting to negate the looming catastrophe deserves appropriate consideration.

Times up folks.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 1:15pm

All the obvious flaws aside (resin/neoprene/planes/wax/lithium batteries for camera/print media issues etc etc, this is yet another shameless non profit. A good little earner for those who do not actually want to work for a living.

onetimeonly

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 1:30pm

js, there's also going to be a very noticeable rise in these non-profits in the near future. It will tie in with the Great Reset information campaign launched by the WEF. The public opinion efforts are going to be very big.

Now it may make for a better world, but one aspect of the GR is that they want governments to pledge 30% of the land of their countries over to some sort of off-limit 'wildland' use. (Bojo in UK has already pledged) I see this as a point where surfers ("Hey, my favourite break is within that national park") are going to get really pissed.

dayzoff's picture
dayzoff's picture
dayzoff commented Monday, 16 Nov 2020 at 2:00pm

Anyhow everyone is busy saving the human race from a virus at present while big Pharma use up tons of chemicals to produce the vaccine we all need. We can get back to saving the planet one day but first job will be fishing 50 billion surgical masks out of the oceans!

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 4:22pm

Climate change is driven by population, too many people on the planet equals an imbalance of wants v needs which puts pressure on resources (our population is already closing in on 8 billion). The industrial revolution was the catalyst of this population boom which is causing excessive use of fossil fuel resources creating the current emissions catastrophe! Any species that grows too large for its resources hits a point of no return (tipping point) & nature takes its course by reducing the population back to a manageable point. We are beyond the point of no return as stated by several imminent sources, check out 2040 a Nat. Geo vid on You Tube or Planet of the Humans (37min condensed version) for an indication of what we are all facing in the very near future!

Horas's picture
Horas's picture
Horas commented Wednesday, 18 Nov 2020 at 12:41am

Yawn

Horas

Logical's picture
Logical's picture
Logical commented Wednesday, 18 Nov 2020 at 10:17am

Climate Change is the greatest mis-direction HOAX ever launched.
WHY ? Oligopoly corporations want to make a fortune out of the upcoming exponential growing population.
Knowing full well the environment just busted at the seams with current 7 billion humans.
Let alone 12 billion humans in 40 years time.
But a global back lash against population would mean - NO GROWTH PROFITS,......NO SHARE PRICE INCREASES.....NO MORE LARGE EXECUTIVE BONUSES.....
And the Churches are along for the ride fearing a back lash against population explosion would trigger more abortions and contraception to meet population reduction targets by mainly 3rd world countries. Abortion and contraception are huge NO NOs by all Churches.

And renewables / CO2 does not address De-Forestation, animal extinction, pesticides bleaching the reefs, insecticides wiping out Bees and other insects, oceans full of plastic, rivers full of heavy metals etc etc

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Wednesday, 18 Nov 2020 at 1:05pm

Please do not mistake non profits for charities. The people involved in these 'businesses' create a cause. The people who run them are allowed to pay themselves a percentage of the take. Often this is a healthy sum. It is merely a business move. In the USA many who complete their Harvard business degrees start a non profit to gain a slush fund of money to finance their start ups.

onetimeonly

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Friday, 20 Nov 2020 at 5:59pm

To elaborate on the above post for those who are interested. On the news tonight the Boomerang Alliance, a non profit come charity is critical on the NSW Government's plastics policy. On the ASIC website we find their latest (2019) spreadsheet. Operating revenue $315,000. Main expense, wages, $280,000. CHAH - CHINK.

onetimeonly