Surfers talk climate
As the travelling Climate Convo roadshow has made its way up the east coast over the past two weeks there’ve indeed been several interesting climate convos, but maybe none more so than an exchange between Zali Steggall, federal member of parliament, and Heath Joske, surfer. While they inhabit very different worlds, they found some common ground on, of all matters, sewerage.
Sharing the stage during the Climate Convo event on Sydney’s northern beaches, the subject of ocean outfalls came up. Zali’s coastal electorate was once notorious for being home to the North Head sewerage outfall, which in a strong southeast wind would pump a brown tide of effluent straight up onto Manly Beach.
Back in the early 1990s, surfers rallied hard to get the outfall extended out to sea which cleaned up the beach, but while discussing the old outfall, Heath offered another, more progressive solution to the problem.
“You could pump it over to my place if you like!” Heath lives down in the Great Australian Bight on a few hundred dry, sandy acres that he’s spent the past few years regenerating. Heath is genuinely perplexed why, on the driest continent on earth, you’d pump all that water and nutrients out to sea.
But that’s been the theme of these conversations: problems and solutions in challenging times.
Screening climate solution films like Patagonia’s Never Town and Damon Gameau’s Regenerating Australia illustrate not only the path forward but give vision to a future we can all be part of. Photo Jarrah Lynch
Talking to Belinda Baggs, Patagonia Ambassador and co-founder of Surfers For Climate, she’s seen the shift in surfers’ relationship to climate change. “We all know it’s real. We’ve all felt it – either fire or floods. We’re passionate and we care. But there’s a lot of confusion and not a lot of encouragement.”
Alongside the Surfrider Foundation, Surfers For Climate strung together a series of events titled Car Park Cinema & Climate Convos, starting in Torquay and heading north to the Gold Coast, gathering local surfing communities together to bring clarity and some conversation.
Screening climate solution films like Patagonia’s Never Town and Damon Gameau’s Regenerating Australia, followed by a panel of passionate surfers, the events, as Belinda puts it, “have renewed hope at a time when there’s not a lot of good news to talks about. They’ve opened people’s eyes to the fact that we can be this powerful force as we come into the election.”
The Sydney Northern Beaches event featured social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley as moderator alongside (left to right) Clarence Bruinsma of Indigenous-owned nursery Bush to Bowl, Brendan Donohoe of Surfrider Foundation, Tom Stapleton of Make Your Mark Super, Sam Elsom of Sea Forest, Tim Silverwood of Ocean Impact and James Griffin the NSW Minster for Environment. Photo Jarrah Lynch
Each panel discussion has had a different moderator, from Patagonia’s Dave Rastovich to actor and activist Simon Baker, and each has had a different focus.
In Sydney... It’s going to take all sides of government to scale climate solutions.
In Byron... Changing conditions turn us into better versions of ourselves.
In Yamba... Just do something!
Today, change your super.
Tomorrow, get a surf in.
Next week, vote climate first.
The final leg of the Climate Convo series is on the Gold Coast this weekend featuring special guest, the legendary Paul Kelly.
Get your tickets for the Gold Coast event here.