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Happy L. Ron Hubbard Day

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
February 27, 2003


"Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of it plain." — Aristotle

Here in Southern California "not quite spring" is still spring. Because of rain interspersed with beautiful blue skies, native species are getting a jump on bloom time. The birds and bees are digging it. With flora perfectly suited to a dry climate, a little precipitation goes along way in producing a riot of colorful renewal. Where native habitat remains, coastal residents can find clues to how best to live a life of balance. Native species just make sense.

Usually at this time of year I make a point of updating readers on the state of my suburban habitat revegetation project, (a.k.a- my front yard.) Efforts to restore native sage scrub are going so well I am thinking about writing a "How to" book on going native. But that would mean more time in front of the computer and less time enjoying splendor of native California. If only I could get the neighbors to go native as well.

I know some people are tired of me waxing superior over the fact that my xeriscaped landscaping requires no artificial irrigation sources, provides much needed wildlife habitat, and thrives without the use of herbicides and pesticides. But wax superior I will. I want everyone to know that going native makes financial and ecological sense. Thankfully I am not alone in my environmental crusade.

Last week I had the honor of being recognized by the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center International Surf Club and the Church of Scientology San Diego for my efforts in speaking up about environmental issues. Joining me in the moment was fellow Cry Out Award recipient Brad Roth of the Cottonwood Creek Conservancy. For those not in the know, L Ron Hubbard began his writing career in Encinitas in 1933.

And no, I am not a Scientologist, although I would be willing to play one on T.V.

Intended to highlight the environmental awareness integral to the writings of LRH, the award presentation was part of a beach clean up, and the launching of a commemorative surfboard destined for the Surf Museum in Oceanside. March 13th is L. Ron Hubbard Day, so the event also served as a birthday party, and one more reason to enjoy Moonlight Beach on a warm winter morning.

When I was first contacted by the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center International Surf Club, they informed me that I would be receiving a plaque recognizing my work as an "in your face" environmentalist. Always looking for an opportunity to preach the ecological gospel, I asked that instead of being handed a piece of wood with metal attached, more apropos would be to receive a native tree in recognition of community service. They agreed, and Brad and I were presented with small Quercus agrifolias.

Having decided to name the young Coastal Live Oak, L. Ron was planted in Leucadia, as part of a native landscape. Better than a ego trophy, or some other knick-knack requiring life -long dusting, the small tree is a gift that will grow into a large reminder of an honor received. I know it's a cliché but this is a gift that will keep on giving in the form of room and board for a host of native fauna. Every time I look at L. Ron I will be reminded to cry out for environmental awareness. As if I need a reminder.

Sadly, there is a disconnect in the environmental movement. When I suggested a live tree instead of a part of a dead one, the nice Scientologist surfer dude, reacted as if the thought had never crossed his mind. Although well meaning, most environmental organizations, fail to match their actions with their words. Mindless consumption and resource reduction is so engrained in our culture; even those committed to sustainable stewardship feel compelled to bestow unneeded trinkets on each other.

"Stuff" is part of the problem.

It my opinion a healthy environment is reward enough. I know Mr. Roth and the other members of the Cottonwood Creek Conservancy would prefer help in their efforts to restore the riparian birthplace of Encinitas. Plaques are nice, but corporate donations would go a long way in making environmental efforts easier, as would a busload of energetic volunteers. Beach clean-ups and creek preservation are a treat when accompanied by spring like weather and a friendly smile.

Give the gift of nature, it's what L. Ron would want.

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