Honoring Mother Ocean
June is World Oceans Month. Surfers celebrate the ocean every time we encounter her. Our oceans nurture and renew us, so it is only right we should honor and respect them. We must continually focus upon what has, and may, become of them.
Our planet's seas may seem timeless and unchangeable, but that is not the case. Surfers don't just hear about changes in the waters of the world. We see and sense the alterations. We taste them. We experience them. We recognize that we can no longer afford to view the ocean only as a recreational resource provided to us free of cost. We should pay the rent for every visit and, more importantly, ransom her from the transgressions of our past.
Perhaps it is the discipline of physical oceanography, influenced by meteorology, that best defines all things surf, for the surface must be riled and water must move to generate waves. Although man has attempted to stabilize dynamic coastlines, and those physical alterations impact our shorelines, it is in the realms of chemical and biological oceanography where Earth's seas have suffered most.
Our oceans endure chronic pressures from continuing activities ranging from fossil fuel extraction to fisheries and disruption of ecosystems, and from degradation of habitats and introductions of non-native species. Massive replumbing of every continent's drainage system delivers constant pollution from inland sources. We have altered the composition of the sea, changing the ingredients in the vast mixing bowls that lap on every shore, and impacting static and motile biota from barnacles to blue whales, who seek only to survive in their watery world. Even our tainted atmosphere assaults the oceans. Our hand has left its grimy print on every facet of the sea.
Our world can't function if our only motivations are short-term profit or fleeting, immediate satisfaction, with no long-term vision or recognition of the value of our natural world. Our oceans can't endlessly absorb the repeated insults. We need to be proactive in educating ourselves, making and supporting choices that make sense, and conveying that mindset to others. We also need to exert some self-control and recognize that doing so is not necessarily the same as stopping progress.
It's not just a shame to despoil our oceans, but blatant disrespect. Dominion is not a free ticket to use everything — it is instead a gigantic and honorable responsibility. To those who aspire only to catch a few waves, I say ride, but know the true stoke impatiently awaits you. Paddle out, drop in, honor the past, celebrate the present in all its synonymy, and become inspired to accept responsibility for our collective future.
Today, a surfer stands on the shoreline and silently thanks Mother Ocean for providing him or her the opportunity to enter her waters. He asks what he can do for her. What is her answer?
Tom Fucigna Jr.