If you’re like me, you’ve had plenty of conversations over the years about either global warming or climate change. But only recently did surfers become part of the conversation. Facing the imminent destruction of their waterways, surfers are becoming increasingly active in sounding the alarm about the obvious toll of climate change.
While everyone around the world is at least indirectly experiencing the effects of climate change – especially through noticeable changes in weather patterns – surfers and other recreational water users may be among the first to be directly affected by the change in climate. With the looming threat to their precious waves and beaches, don’t think that surfers are just sitting around waiting for the next big wave. According to an activist group of surfers called Surfers Against Sewage,
Recreational water users…will feel the effects of climate change more directly than most other people. Rising sea levels will interfere with surf spots causing some to disappear altogether; episodic storm events will cause severe and unnatural coastal erosion; intense bursts of rainfall will drive land-based pollutants into the sea; and freshwater inflow due to glacial melting could interfere with ocean currents and radically alter coastal water temperatures.
Surfers, in agreement with the vast majority of climate scientists, believe that cutting down on the burning of fossil fuels and finding ways to create clean renewable energy is essential to solving the problems of global warming. Fossil fuels, when burned, release greenhouse gases into the air that are now being directly attributed to increasing the earth’s temperature. That, along with the fact that fossil fuels are not sustainable, pushes our need to find new, healthier, sustainable outlets to producing energy.
Not surprisingly, the surfer dudes have a favorite sustainable energy source that they are promoting. Surfers Against Sewage supports creating ways to use tidal energy to “generate clean, safe, renewable energy and thus contribute towards combating climate change.” Since tides are a direct product of the gravitational pull between the moon and the earth, tides are predictable and endless, meaning that tides will always occur and are therefore a sustainable, renewable source of energy.
While there are different kinds of converters with the potential to turn tidal waves into energy, Surfers Against Sewage supports the development of tidal stream turbines for this purpose. Tidal stream turbines act similarly to wind turbines, and are deployed in vast arrays to do the job of converting tidal movements of water into energy. Although little research is currently available, experts predict that the turbines will do less damage to marine ecosystems than other converters such as tidal barriers and tidal lagoons.
Of course, there are substantial costs involved in developing the energy converters to create tidal energy, and the technology is still very much a work in progress. But, because fossil fuels are known to be a finite resource which cause substantial damage to the earth when extracted and burned, Surfers Against Sewage believe the tidal stream turbines to be the “most versatile and potentially the least environmentally impacting scheme.”
So the next time you are engaged in conversation about global warming and climate change, bring up the surfers. They want to solve the climate change problem as much as anyone else. Clean energy, dude. With the power of the tides, we can all hang ten.
George Zeed lives in Grants Pass, Oregon and works for Impact Battery. An avid outdoorsman and environmentalist, he writes about topics related to all kinds of recreational vehicles and accessories. He is also the “go to guy” for information when shopping for a great selection of motorcycle parts & sunlinq from Impact Battery. Photo by The Pug Father