In all honesty, I live a very selfish lifestyle. Maybe it’s because I grew up an only child or perhaps it’s the way I am wired. In fact, most of us are wired to look after number one. Enter the ego.
Yep, there it is again, peeking out from the inner realm of my existence. The ego hides behind the “I” and “me” in those declarative thoughts and statements about my identity. It is what drives many of my actions and thoughts. I’d suggest it’s the same for you.
According to Sigmund Freud, the ego is the part of our personality that mediates the demands of reality. It is the thing calling most of the shots. It’s the voice inside your head that gets pissed when someone snakes you on a wave. Essentially, it, the ego, drives the anger bus and controls any emotion that has to do with self-preservation or feelings of insecurity.
The ego is in control. True dat (sic).
What does the ego have to do with being, or not being, ecologically minded? I know that is what you are thinking. My answer: pretty much everything.
Here is the deal, contemplating a worldview beyond our tiny existence is the first step towards learning to care about something outside our selfish sphere. I know, it’s a bit harsh, but there is just no beating around the bush with this one.
Isn’t it me against the world?
It sure feels like it sometimes, and that feeling usually leads to the selfish venting of greed and envy.
My wave. My beach. My break. My city. My country.
But is it really?
If you take my wave, I might punch you in the face. If you insult my country, I might go to war with you. If you come to my local spot, I might call you names and chase you out of the water.
It is difficult for the ego to reject this identification with “my belief” that these things are inherently mine and not yours. Yet we seem to shed greater responsibilities that require a bigger calling, a deeper resolution—a truly selfless expression.
Whose planet is it? Whose ocean is it? Whose trash is it?
“Not mine,” echoes the ego.
I am not sure where this is all leading us but it’s not looking good. One result of the ego’s insensitivity is the island of trash in the pacific ocean. The Environmental Protection Agency reports, “The primary source of marine debris is the improper waste disposal or management of trash and manufacturing products, including plastics (e.g., littering, illegal dumping).”
Nobody knows how large trash island is exactly, some estimate somewhere between the size of Texas and as large as the entire United States. Either way, it’s not a good thing and “we” are all responsible.
A folk etymology claims that the word aloha derives from a compound of the Hawaiian words alo meaning “presence,” “front,” “face,” or “share;” and ha, meaning
Although this all appears insurmountable, we need to stay positive and know that every day is a new day to give a damn and to silence our ego and embrace the aloha spirit inside all of us.
I always knew that aloha was a magical word, but not until researching its meaning did I come to understand its significance.
Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. The word aloha derives from the Proto-Polynesian root qarofa. It has cognates in other Polynesian languages, such as Samoan alofa and Māori aroha, also meaning “love”.
Affection. Peace. Compassion. Love.
A folk etymology claims that the word aloha derives from a compound of the Hawaiian words alo meaning “presence”, “front”, “face”, or “share”; and ha, meaning “breath of life” or “essence of life”.
Presence. Front. Face. Share.
The ego is shaking in its boots at the utterance of these words.
Breath of life. Essence of life.
Ok, now we have entered another realm—one in which we have affection for each other in and out of the water, we feel peace while surfing and compassion for ourselves and our fellow humans (and animals). We love to pick up trash when we see it. We don’t throw trash on the beach.
We are present to this world and watch the swells of the ego arise with sensitivity. We face our responsibilities from the front (head on) and share everything we are and have.
We breath in life. We are the essence of life, and we understand that everything is also made of this essence.
Aloha or ego.
Which do you choose?
I’ve made a list of five ways that we can all be more ecologically-conscious surfers in 2017. This is also my personal New Year manifesto.
You would think that that the following suggestions would come naturally to lovers of the sea, but it seems that we surfers need a kick in the boardshorts now and again to help remind us of our duties as stewards of the ocean.
1) Do a Mini Beach Clean-up of Your Home Break
After every surf session, grab some trash and put it in your home garbage can or find a receptacle near the beach. This is your home away from home, so take a little time and help keep it tidy.
2) Share A Ride To The Beach
I know, we are all busy and your wife has requested a Trader Joe’s run after your surf session. You can come up with a hundred other excuses why you need to go solo, but try to make a rideshare work.
3) Buy Eco Surf Gear
You all know I had to throw this one in, considering I do own an eco-surf company. However, though this is a tiny plug for Wave Tribe products, I’d like to encourage you to buy from any company that is producing more eco-friendly surf gear.
From surfboards to board bags, there is a nice selection of eco-goodies these days. Don’t forget those surf T-shirts either—cotton is a gnarly crop and buying organic clothing is a wonderful step in the right direction.
4) Use Less Wax + Buy a Wax Comb
This recommendation is a combo judo move: First you should consider purchasing a non petroleum wax. Most of the wax companies have an eco option these days. Consider combing your wax on a regular basis. You’ll find that using a wax comb on your old wax will create a nice surface that doesn’t require further wax application. Using less is always a great way to help the environment.
5) Be Kind & Share Your Waves
I know, you’re thinking, what does that have to do with ecology? I have a theory that the happier and kinder we are to each other the more considerate we will be to the planet. It doesn’t make sense that we can be jerks in the water and then think positively about our oceans. Ecology starts with yourself and your “inner ecology,” the way we move through this world— understanding that ride is the most important wave in our life.