When I was a child, learning the alphabet and to count seemed to be a huge academic achievement. Later on, I surprised myself by excitably excelling in figuring out those damn derivatives in senior to species population estimates at university. Come to think of it, together, my parents, siblings and patient schoolteachers, paved a wonderful foundation path for me to continue to learn and even achieve tertiary qualifications. An educative experience that has opened my world and allowed me to walk and talk with some of the best scientists and leading experts to help me understand complex equilibriums to world issues at large.

Who would have thought many years ago I’d end up undertaking multiple chemistry subjects, or even political development and human rights courses at university? Not I, especially considering my polarised dream of becoming a ballerina, professional violinist and a pilot all at the same time; geez I am far from an overachiever (joke)! Though, they are professions I continue to admire for the passion and shear determination one has to invest to be the best.

So, I have a collection of certificates that prove my ability to research, analyse and conclude complex issues. Or quiet frankly experience in touch-typing, which allows me to get my verbal diarrhea out there, from my screen to yours. Simply as ABC-123 and then DEF-456 gave me the confidence to be my best; maybe after all I don’t have comparable achievements with my childhood ambitions. Really, come to think of it, I’m still the same lanky girl with fuzzy hair and an oversized smile that loves a good yarn.

Where does this leave me in the big wide world? From having a weird obsession with coastal dunes, I’ve ended up in coastal management – surprise, surprise, I’m stuck with sand between my toes. A field that requires multidisciplinary, creative and adaptive skills, yay! As well as patience and the ability to turn frustration into a laughing matter to mitigate stress levels that could turn any shade of youth into wirily white hairs.

I really have no intention for this tangent (hence a tangent), however, what I am trying to chip away at is raise awareness about the nature of the field. It calls for all folk to be engaged and contribute, and boring or not, it is serious stuff. Especially considering that my local stretch of coast is one of Australia’s most significant tourism assets and bearing in mind the state of the beaches, it’s fringing frustrating to read and hear about the lack of interest from the State Government to manage their land. Or even read that the Queensland Premiere compares our beaches to the Brisbane River – as in the Gold Coast Bulletin today. Mmm!

So, on a local community front, it is encouraging to see prominent Gold Coasters hash tag fix our beaches to raise awareness about coastal issues. Further, me, myself and I, with other coastal youngsters personally contribute to the birthing of youth action for coastal sustainability. More so, hear about an alignment of national coastal organisations in the pipeline to promote coastal advocacy from the east to west, and north to south.

Where does this leave you? Most likely, now, sooner or later you’ll be standing on the edge of an eroded beach thinking, I thought hash tagging would bring back the beach? The truth is that we will only achieve a real outcome when we integrate all campaign approaches and part of this includes breaking barriers with every politician and decision-maker to ensure they get the message. The message being – we need a three-tier-government approach to protect, enhance and manage all of our nation’s coastal frontline.

This seems simple, right? When broken down it’s just like learning ABC-123; challenging at first though once understood, goals and dreams can be achieved.

#ismyhashtaggoingtofixthebeach? Maybe, if #kevinrudd #caresforthebeach…

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