The coast shapes community and community shapes the coast

I start this tangent quite emotional as tears run down my face. Tears of joy, though also of sadness as the corner of my mouth catches the salty droplets, which the taste resonates my emotions as it reminds me why I am here and writing.

The coast.

Simply as this tangent reads, ‘the coast shapes community and community shapes the coast’, I understand how the coast is formed by a dynamic system of interconnected processes while community is made up of the social fabrics within in response to interrelationships. Therefore together, coastal-community sculpts mutual overlapping characteristics that are dependent on their own inter-dependencies – both are just as powerful as each other.

So, why shed a tear or light on this relationship? Well, as of last week I handed over a coastal-community engagement program, which for four years became part of me as much as I was part of it. I invested my passion for both the coast and the community into the program and I do believe I touched people to want to take care for the coast. Planting one dune plant at a time, before my eyes I got to see pockets of our urbanised green-fringed interface transform into the healthier edge. The significance to me was seeing the community create this change while the coast brought the community together. Such an experience frames my thoughts and ideas of coastal-community and the substance of the relationship.

Martina and I spreading the BeachCare wordI believe this underlines the complexities of the coast and the importance of engagement for coastal-community participation. Astonishingly, it is incredible once you realise that the beauty of the coast that attracts us actually can bring out the best of us. I think that is why I am emotional, as I was the facilitator of that force and now have to step back and not be ‘part’ of the process. Being the face of BeachCare held responsibility, though more importantly, a vehicle to form trust, relationships, coastal-connections and a shared space for community participation. I will most definitely miss this essence.

Of no surprise I am now in a state of now finding my own coastal space. Re-defining my identity in a congested coastal community and network. I am now solely Naomi Edwards – evermore passionate about dunes and the coast, and fueled with more youthful energy to put my coastal tangents and actions out there. My enthusiasm has more to give.

I am Naomi Edwards – an individual that is shaped by my coast and my community.

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