Too much energy or too much optimism

IMG_7151I must admit I have overflowing energy from having not let out a tangent for a week or so. Matched with optimism, I have made myself sit still for bit to tangent some thoughts. So, bear with me.

It is just I or is life really, really good. In the last fortnight not only have I felt like I’ve achieved more than in the last year, I’ve been working with some incredibly inspiring individuals leading legacies I wish our forefathers implemented yonks’ ago.

First up, is about one of my work mates, a young and sometimes too witty budding scientist. I’ve had an interesting experience working with Joel Hayes for the last year on coastal community outreach projects. It has been challenging, fast and creative, and all at the same time. Working in coastal community engagement presents many tricky situations, especially with minimal resources. Which brings in creativity to get over the line and still deliver deadlines within tight time frames. Just when we’ve felt like we are breathing, we are still only treading water to keep our buoyancy afloat to stretch our outreach capacity along Gold Coast’s beaches. Though, at the end of the day we pinch ourselves ‘cause not only are we working on some really cool projects that we are passionate about, we work with dedicated community champions and along amazing beaches, which makes a coastal life evermore blissful. Joel adds much to that equation, as we recently accepted the Australia’s Cleanest Beach award on behalf of the many involved in keeping Currumbin the cleanest. Awards like this don’t happen overnight. But hey, all those long nights, early mornings and turning challenges into fun pays off. Cheers to passionate perseverance!

Second is about one of my amazing friends Jordyn De Bor. She is an inspiration and her dedication for raising awareness about plastic ending up in the ocean matches my passion for dunes. She has partnered with another amazing individual – Tania Potts – and have co-founded a community bag share project called Boomerang Bags. From idea to idea, they’ve created immense community strength to combat the use of single-use plastic bags. With little expected in return, we all owe them much appreciation for putting their ‘life to a little less plastic’ passion into action.

Next up, is about this dude I only just met the other week. Mr Ryan Adams, Co-founder of Keep It Surreal. Simply speaking, he is stoked on positive community change. I instantly got him and knew with my enthusiasm for organising initiatives and his ‘Yeskandoo’ attitude (sorry that’s a well worth pun) we could achieve what we have both been keen to do – launch Responsible Runners Gold Coast. Yes, within a fortnight we’ve organised Responsible Runners Gold Coast, attracted media, found needed resources and now will be promoting fitness and clean beaches. As of next week we’ll be ripping and cleaning up The Spit!

So, you see. Where there is an issue, there is an opportunity and each of these salty souls recognise that. They are community catalysts, creating opportunities for you and others to get involved and combat coastal issues. From dune, beach, ocean and community health, by connecting we’ve been able to collaborate even further – ideas, energy and stoke.

Too much energy or too much optimism? I think both and for a good reason.

Coastal connections

Coastal connections at Friends of Federation Walk has created strong community presence at The Spit.

I am going to take the assumption that you have a connection to the coast or have a distinct memory that connects you to the coast. If not, close your eyes for a moment. Take a deep breath and then open your eyes and imagine being me for a moment. Live through my coastal connection – if you dare.

The reason I am tangenting about coastal connections is due to the fact that I believe the coast has an incredible ability to create connections. Connections that carve a sense of community, build relationships and interactions. Especially when coastal awareness ripples, it is as if community connections peel to create perfect sets. Sets of awareness waves to only create more coastal connections.

I have come to realise this and where I can promote it, as this profound process has the ability to equalise you and I. You see, when I have sand beneath my feet, who you are or what you do almost becomes irrelevant to me. Rather, being a coastal community practitioner, your connection to the coast is what is most important to me.

Secondly, whatever we believe in, we do have a common belief. By acknowledging this soon truth prevails to unveil that our common belief is that the coast is important.

I have seen this process create new connections and waves of awareness. More so, a sense of community, build relationships and interactions. Word of advice, don’t think you are no different (or more powerful) to him or her down on the beach.

We are only coastal humans.

Art meets science or is it science meets art?

Coastal awareness about beach litter through art: 'Can't Sea Through This' by Elysium Greene and Naomi Edwards - exhibited at SWELL Sculpture Festival.

Raising awareness about beach litter through art: ‘Can’t Sea Through This’ by Elysium Greene and Naomi Edwards – exhibited at the SWELL Sculpture Festival (2012).

I’m been wanting to let loose on this subject for sometime now. Especially having a father who is an artist and a mother who randomly pulls together cute, outrageous outfits. Creative flare is definitely in my genes, which brings me to splash out this tangent.

Back in 2003, I clearly remember flicking through the QTAC booklet trying to decide on what I’d like to study at university. It was actually quite overwhelming trying to decide on what I’d essentially like to be. Though, my love affair for Bilbies founded my first preference for environmental science. Which interestingly, if it wasn’t for such love, I probably would have ended up pursuing an arts bachelor. Or even social work, as both my mother and sister are social workers – when I was a kid I used to attend disability equality marches with my mum (yay for the NDIS/DCA!). Anyway, such fields that wouldn’t have been of surprise to my family. Though, not much further down the track I did find myself studying arts.

Nevertheless, today, here and now, although my science bachelor and arts masters’ certificates collect dust, the applications and skills I’ve learnt certainly haven’t. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to integrate the elements of science and arts being a science communicator. Where I can scientifically integrate my creative flare and love for colour to adapt my engagement strategies when communicating about coastal science and management. For instance, relate the layering of dune species across dunes to the golden rule of thirds – being the fore, mid and hind dune zones. Or even distinguish the diverse shades of blue to help define rip currents and sand movement.

So, as we see the world in colour, our world really is art at its best! Hence, brings me to try my best to answer whether art meets science or science meets art?

You see, when investigating science there can really only be one answer to explain what is happening in the big wide world. Statistics prove this, such as whether a relationship is significantly or insignificantly different (ah, the p vaue will forever haunt me!). Though, sometimes there can be the odd shade of grey to make things difficult; which, in my opinion paints welcoming tones to blend and mix-up the binominal regimental nature of science. However, such a concept brings me to ponder whether or not this very way of proving or disproving a hypothesis has plagued limitations for the general and science communities to be more integrated. Especially when comparing the diversity of relationships one can conceptualise in the arts world – right?

The diversifying nature and needs of science should bring wide-attention to this very subject. Being a science communicator, it is important to apply integrated and challenging ideologies to engage all folk about the what, when, where, why and how. In recent years I’ve been able to achieve this via solely integrating the arts into my science outreach, which has directly benefited my capacity as a coastal community engagement practitioner. Just how I explained this before.

Honestly, I really don’t think I can significantly prove that science is finally meeting the arts world in one tangent. Or maybe shades of grey are clouding my expected regimental take on the world to prove this tangent. Though knowing what works for me is important to continue to discover fresh, engaging approaches for science communication. Mmm, as I was one not to colour within the lines, I’ll let you make up your own mind.