“Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider.” —Paul Hawken
Like the comments for the last blog suggested, our individual power lies in our ability to relentlessly seek and shine our LIGHT! In the natural yin and yang of life, one is always up when another is down, and when I took the time to look closely, there were little lights glowing brightly all around me…
With some unexpected time on hand, I leapt at a chance to join my friend and fellow Patagonia ambassador, Crystal Thornburg-Homcy, and the Save the Waves Coalition http://www.savethewaves.org/, in Baja for a few days…The spirit of the weekend was fortified by a clean, overhead northwest swell. In between sessions at the rippable right-hander, the good people of STW had organized a beach cleanup with a local environmental group, so we piled in a pickup and headed over to meet the local faces that cared about Baja’s coastal health.
That’s where I met, Margarita Diaz. Margarita helped found the ‘Proyecto Fronterizo de Educacion Ambiental’ in northern Baja almost 20 years ago. She developed a concern for the natural world as a young girl growing up in Acapulco, where urbanization and development to meet the demands of tourism were quick to pollute, pave, and ignore their adverse environmental effects in the area. Her father had explained that their local beaches had been named for the ways that the sea turtles had used them, like ‘the basking beach’. Sadly, Margarita never saw turtles on those beaches. Now married with two lovely children of her own, she has another good reason to strive to protect the coast–her kids love the beach.
“For twenty years,” she told me, “I’ve been telling people the same thing (about protecting the beaches). Finally, people are starting to listen.” She smiled and went on. “In 2000, we had 15 people turn out for our beach cleanup. A few months ago, more than 3200 people showed up from Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate. “Young people are getting involved,” she said, and told me a story that had touched her…A 5-year old from Tijuana had made it to the beach for the first time in his life for one of Proyecto Fronterizo’s beach cleanups. Wading in the waves, he looked at her and asked, “Is that water out there the same water that is touching my feet?”
Margarita amazed me—sticking to her cause and uniting people against all odds to start a wave of awareness and change in her community…The cleanup amazed me, too…you can’t imagine how easy it was to scour trash from that beach and arroyo with 25 or so people!! I wanted to clean a few more! While good people seem harder to come by these days, the truth is that they are everywhere, and SO powerful when they come together. Thank you all for the light you shine on the world–Margarita and Manuel at Proyecto Fronterizo, the Rosarito Surf Club, and the Save the Waves Coalition!! Congrats STW on establishing the first ever World Surfing Reserve at Malibu just recently!
For a look at Margarita’s group, check out Proyecto Fronterizo de Educacion Ambiental at http://proyectofronterizo.org.mx/portal/component/content/frontpage