Proliferation of happiness

snapper rocks

I have the best excuse for the limited tangenting in recent times and it isn’t about not having any tangents in mind. Rather a proliferation of coastal community groups being founded, whom I find or they find me. Working in the coastal community space has many advantages (as I dare not to complain), actually more pros than cons to link people together or create a process to link people together or link people resources to pool the bits and bobs to do coastal management.

For instance, I put up my hand (or rather as someone referred to it as put my life on the line) to do a presentation this week in a much-divided community to talk about coastal science, management and dunes (of course). For those who live on the Gold Coast, I am sure you can recall the very successful protest walks along Tugun Beach late last year in an effort to open the north to south public access way that has had years of neglect for one reason or another. As I am not one to get hung up about what he said, she said, rather turn an issue into an opportunity, I’ll move on from the gossipy nitty-gritty. Above all, I just wanted to use this as an example for you to get the gist of what I do during business-to-non-business hours, leaving my tangents within.

So, why the lack of tangents?

Unfortunately time has gotten the better of me in the recent months to attend to those and beaches in need. Days have been leaping from the calendar and now in March it is as if January and February marched too fast before March (o, what a pun). Anyway… excuses, excuses.

As from now, I am going to use this space to tangent about some very exciting research I am working on in my spare time (yes, I do have some time left over and always leave the best for last). I am working with two amazing colleagues at Griffith University about re-defining the definition of beach. This is to form the basis of a PhD application (and yes, I am going to apply).

Why? Because I want to put my practice into theory to create what I call a ‘Beach Happiness Index’. I want to research people’s happiness at the beach and look at the relationship to beach health and overarching coastal management strategies to the ecological footprint of coastal management – damn those concrete blocks and fossil fuel guzzling dredges!

First stop – to tangent about the definition of beach to redefine it as… (can’t let too much good tangenting out at once).

Best to watch the happy coastal space!

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.