C’mon everybody, surf’s up!

Posted by on Nov 2, 2007 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Surferss Pic c/o Covello Covello

A couple of thoughts from top Surfing Dude, Pete Nilewide on the area of participation as a mechanism for bringing about change.

First, this fantastic participative petition for surfers to protect the marine world. Just as we’ve been saying: give people something to do together and they just might – show them what others like them are doing and they’re even more likely to….

Tempted to join in, myself (having fallen off a board or two in my youth). Maybe you want to join, too?

Second, the story of the Surfrider Foundation and how a human line in the sand can be much more powerful than written or electronic messaging in bringing about change.

As Pete says,

“The background is that one nearby stretch of beachfront is the most developed stretch in Australia. 3.5 kms of apartments on the beachfront. There is a long term erosion problem leading to concerns for the buildings. The owners want the government to build a seawall, but that will only lead to more erosion. Environmental groups have been campaigning for years with the only real option being councils and governments buying back the land. Environmental groups have used all the usual tools – petitions, lobbying, news articles etc. But their position was ignored and council was to build the sea wall. (Marketing ignored again!) Then one new guy said we have stop talking and start doing. They decided to put “a line in the sand”. The line being 3.500 people standing at the tide mark where the wall would be. A long line of people. People turned up to participate and the despite petitions of 5,000 or more people failing to gain any response the council could not avoid the issue of the participation of the smaller number of people. Seawall not built.”


The thing to remember is that large numbers of people gathered together – real people, not numbers or messages – are really impressive and influential.

For all the fancy numbers, reports and committee protocols, people respond strongest to people. People as a social object?

It’s our species’ specialist subject.