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Have a Beach Zen Summer

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Beach Breakers | Coastal Considerations
May 4, 2008


Southern California coastal communities live and thrive according on how well they treat the natural resources that shape the very fiber of their cultural identity. As times have changed so too has the way people relate to beach and breakers, as has our understanding of coastal environments and how to preserve them.

Long in the making, a change in consciousness is turning everything and everyone an environmental shade of green. Everywhere you turn people are seeing the benefits of low impact living and high minded altruism.

Living healthier lifestyles requires fitness and fashions to evolve as well as accommodating new information and shifting priorities. Lucky for beach goers and the Southern California surf community social trends are embracing the ideals of simplicity and encouraging the less is more philosophy when planning a day at the beach with family and friends.

With an emerging sense of ecological stewardship taking hold on the beaches of San Diego County I figure I could be of service by providing readers with a clean and green beach-goers guide.

A day at the beach is always made better with a mindful acceptance of the present moment, the joy of spontaneous action, and letting go of self-conscious and judgmental thinking. When creating a clean and green beach-goers guide it seemed that if simplicity was in order, and I need look no further than Zen philosophy for guidance.

Hence Beach Dharma Theory was born.

Beach Dharma Theory holds that less is more. Simplifying a beach going experience, by bringing less to beach, increases the experiential wisdom derived from the interacting with surf, sand and sun. Dharma, one's righteous duty or virtuous path, is made easier with the knowledge that what's good for the spirit is good for the planet.

Beach Dharma Theory has 5 simple tenets:

Sacred Space Is Common Ground - Sharing is caring, restraint is respect.

Bring Less Experience More - Leave your baggage at home, too much stuff ruins the view. Toys are only something to fight over, carry, bother about and forget. Travel light.

Packaging Equals Pollution – Don't trash the coast, leave your litter at home. Practice low impact leisure.

Unplug And Enjoy - Life happens in real time. Listen and you will hear the planet whisper your relevance.

Leave Nothing But Less – Be a good neighbor, leave the beach cleaner than you found it.

Overflowing trash cans and cluttered beaches add little to the splendor of Southern California world class reputation. Basically all you need at the beach is a good sun screen, a bottle of water and a respect for others. Anything else you bring encroaches on the overall enjoyment of everyone.. A clean beach is a green beach.

Cultural ambassadors of California's better nature, the surfing set play a key environmental stewardship role in maintaining a healthy balance of ecology and economy. If that is not a virtuous path of enlightened activity one doesn't exist.

So when planning a trip to the beach for a day of fun in the sun, or moments of serious reflection, do the future a favor, tread lightly, carry less, and give yourself more time to relax.

We will all be the better for it.

Thank you.

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