Wanted: a radical coastal leader!

source: rgbstock.com

                                                          source: rgbstock.com

This tale of a tangent builds from the very same conversation I have with my dad almost every time we catch up. Having the upmost respect, love and admiration for each other, we always end up agreeing to disagree on the contrasting ideologies between Science and Christianity.  Though today we broke through a barrier I just have to share…

As I am neither an Atheist nor a practicing Christian and my dad being far from an Atheist and Scientist, we never seem to agree on the fundamentals of creation. Though when asked the question whether I believe in God and Jesus, I sense a sigh of relief from my dad when I say, “yes” to both. As there has to be some kind of higher spiritual power and why not believe a bearded radical walked the planet 2000 years ago, right? It’s just my Science background tends to somewhat outweigh the mythical prophecies of the bible. Truth speaks for itself as a fact is a fact – Science is factual, while Christianity is a way of life.

Now, I don’t want to start a debate or discredit anyone’s beliefs. Your life is your life and I give immense credit to those that live by giving. Though the question my dad begs me to answer each time being a believer of God and Jesus – why can’t environmentalists, scientists and even crazy dune conservationists believe what the bible says about creation? As I’ve stated, a fact is a fact, my fellow peers have proved evolution through natural selection time and time again. You see it seems so simple to understand evolution on the pure basis that species act on opportunities to be more efficient and effective. Therefore, those that earn the ability to rise above outlive those that struggle. Aha, just like the battle of David and Goliath – I think we can draw some similarities…

Nevertheless, being a stubborn Libran, I’d much rather spend my time figuring out how all camps can live and breathe together, which now brings light to the point of this coastal tangent.

As I am no philosopher and having only found two white hairs, I am far from a position to answer a question that has raged war in every corner of the world. Though what I have found a position on, is the lack of ability or willingness for all camps to relate to cultural diversity or fundamental similarities. Whether you believe in the big bang theory or the flick of God’s creation wand, both principles give birth to creation via the powerful integration of mass and energy.

If this is true and you agree to some extent, the boundaries, rules and laws set in stone by higher power still to today give us a way to go about our everyday lives  – i.e. legislation. Whether you live by textbook facts or biblical theories, what I think we all need to understand is the fundamental principle of power. More so, how power is neither created nor destroyed rather simply transformed. Therefore, you and I have the same power.

And I see the misuse of power every day in my field within the coastal management. Some people think they have more power based on their hierarchy, while others feel powerless for the same reason (e.g. decision-makers vs. community members). Being immersed in the coastal community network it breaks my heart when community conversations end up being taken as a mere tick in the box process. It’s bullshit!

To bring this into context in regards to God, Jesus, o and creation, what I am trying to explain is that when the power of coastal communities is misused locally, the next and last step is the cyclic disintegration at the gates of State Government. This belittles the ability for coastal issues to rise up and become real opportunities – and actual coastal creations. Please remind me how our coast lacks constitutional power, yet defines cultural similarities for 86% of Australia’s population?

Where to from here? Whatever you believe in or live by, keep your prayers alive in hope for a radical leader to walk barefoot along our beaches, be baptised in our ocean and be one of us. We need a radical coastal leader to show us how to better manage our coast before it’s too late.

I surf: coastal community awareness

"power from the ocean, waves and coast fuel my passionate tank", me

OK, this one is for my surfer buddies. As the early morning sea breeze blows through my window, I wake with the sun drenching my room. A new day has begun with seedlings growing and stories waiting to be told (wise words from a dear friend). With words like that ringing in my ears repeatedly, it’s an easy call to say why I’m always stoked in the morning. Plus, the sound of the sea in the distance also repeatedly excites me to get down there and immerse myself in the salt-drenched air – sometimes submerging myself in the rolling ocean.

That’s my point, only sometimes as I don’t need to be submerged in the active wave environment to get what you get (or so I assume) – energy. Or maybe my childhood nightmare of nearly drowning at Surfers Paradise was enough to keep my feet on dry sand – no wonder I stopped at the dunes – ok, bad joke or justification from an obsessed dune girl.

As usual, the actual point of this tangent is letting loose. So, to bring it back as the title says, “I surf: coastal community awareness”, trawling through my Masters I have tried my best to fish out what I mean by such. I consistently argued that with the right intentions, coastal community awareness is a process that provides diverse opportunities for coastal communities to be/become informed about the coastal zone. Where drivers, who have the ability to understand ‘community’, carve the token for this process. More so, simply have the knack to relate to your coastal stoke.

I’d like to think I have the knack of feeling your stoke, so I’m going to take the claim that I can surf – I surf coastal community awareness on the back of your stoke for the ocean, waves and coast. I’m not sure if this really makes any sense, however, for those that know me I am sure you can make sense of it. You know, I am always stoked thanks to your stoke.



Can we fix paradise?

I feel like my mind has been pulled, poked and pushed in recent weeks. What to think, how to act and even control myself from not screaming and quite possibly shattering my coastal career in a professional sense. Luckily, I’ve been busy – super busy – working hard on a cool national coastal outreach plan (so what this space). Though, today has brought this tangent to mind, and simply as the title states, “can we fix paradise?”

The first part of this tangent is about the choice of words to describe a coastal management action. Stating that we can fix an issue is partially the overall problem as I don’t believe we can fix the coast nor should intend to do so. Coastal management is about finding a balance between the land and sea interface (amongst much more). Though, nevertheless, I think we need to be careful about the choice of language we use to ensure public perception of coastal management is not damaged or even more so, lost in translation to the point that no one stands up anymore.

The second part allows you think for yourself through the series of photos below. Yep, the bulldozers are back on the dunes, trucks along the beach and now sand bags in hope of holding up Gold Coast’s glitter strip’s reputation – before the king tides next week, which could quite possibly wash away today’s efforts, and the need to uphold Surfers Paradise as a destination for the upcoming school holidays (we can’t let those Southerners down!).

To me, today’s $800,000 worth of efforts show that we still have the mentality of managing the coast like a sand pit and do not see the benefit of community engagement (did you receive a phone call or a knock at your door) – see my tangent from March.  Though don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for most of the actions this time round. But hey, bite size responses that aim to protect unsustainable management ain’t going to achieve a balanced system.

Once again, I’m a little mouse on a treadmill going know where… enjoy the photos and let me know what you think.



The sand stockpile pit at the northern end of The Spit, which is three football fields in size and was once covered with coastal vegetation. The dredged sand from the Broadwater is being stock piled here and then trucked to where it is needed most – the Surfers Paradise Foreshore development is the drawcard for coastal restoration at the moment.


On lookers




'Another sand stock pile zone’ in the foredunes


Sand bags placed along the foreshore – this photo highlights the lack the integration between coastal engineering and dune management. The boxed in dune has limited the capacity for the beach to build up in a more natural sense

Isn’t this photo ironic - this photo says it all!

Isn’t this photo ironic – this photo says it all!