– stripping surfing back down to its most elemental form

Our Habitat

Lately I’ve been questioning whether to continue with Phoresia or not. Not because I have something better to do, or I don’t feel interested in the topics, but because sometimes I get mired in an overwhelming sense of pessimism about the state of affairs around me. We seem to be headed into a future full of human conflict and environmental degradation that does little to inspire visions of a peaceful life.

We didn’t start Phoresia really to review products. Nor did we do it to get some sort of material gain or notoriety. David and I started writing and researching sustainable surfing products because we are interested not only in lowering our own personal impact but also in simplifying our lives. In our short years we’ve both learned that a simple life is more joyous. A simple life has given us room in our minds and perhaps in our hearts as well to enjoy nature and the personal relationships we share with our friends and families.

The term phoresy is used to describe a symbiotic relationship between two organisms; a relationship where one organism benefits from the other without causing it any harm. This is the essence of the idea behind sustainability. And the reason it is important is not because it’s ethical or the new “black.” It’s important because living by the principles of sustainability will guarantee that we have a peaceful future.

I just finished watching a conversation between Tom Brokah and Yvon Chouinard. You can see the video on Patagonia’s Cleanest Line blog (Cleanest Line post). The main topic is technology, but among other things Yvon addresses consumerism and the promise of the individual in fostering change. As for consumerism he says that we are no longer citizens of this earth, we are consumers. And consumers use and discard. With limited resources, increasing population sizes and demand for goods, we are bound to have a problem. So what are we to do?

Rosa Parks - BackdoorThe other important point mentioned above is that of the individual being able to affect world change. Chouinard refers to people like Rosa Parks, who perhaps single-handedly sparked what would become the civil rights movement in the United States. There is still plenty of room for grass roots movements to make real changes in society. Our government is not working actively towards protecting the habitat the WE live in. Earth. Large corporations are generally only focused on profit. They too are uncaring about our future. We must remember above all that like the fishes and pelicans that share our waves, we too are animals and we need a healthy ocean and clean air to survive.

I feel inspired by Chouinard’s words to continue exploring ways of making this little part of our world, surfing, more friendly to our habitat. Above all, I feel inspired to continue in my quest to cut down on my impact, to continue to ride my bike to work through the cold winters — braving bad drivers and frostbite. I will keep recycling and composting anything and everything we consume at home. I will buy local products as often as I can. I will take care of things so that they may serve me well and stay out of the landfills. I will try to live with purpose and awareness of my own impact.

• Category: diy, environment, interviews,

11 Responses »

  1. Please continue with the your work here. This is a place that I can go to for strength and to be inspired. I know that you guys are really doing this for the right reasons as opposed to some marketing campaign.
    Keep up the great work.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed some of the interviews. I am not a surfer but I love the thinking behind this.

  3. Brotha, as a sister who surfs, I’ve got one thing to say about the reference to Rosa Parks: y’all know she was a goofy foot!

  4. oh quit being so emo :)

    Phoresia ruelzzz!!!one

  5. Interesting about grassroots. That’s exactly what Surfrider is all about. Local communities taking control of their environemental destiny. Please keep up the great posts!!

  6. I am hoping that you, and David, continue your efforts with Phoresia. I find it both informative and motivating.

  7. I was moved by that interview as well, but not in a pessimistic way. I think there’s a change going on. Kids are telling their parents to be more green. That’s a good sign. Guys like Chouinard seem resigned to the “I’m glad I’m not going to be around in twenty years” attitude, but in a way he’s passing the torch to companies (and citizens of the earth) that are more motivated to face challenges utilizing technology in positive ways. It’s the non-luddite activists that will save our oceans and planet now…

    You picking up what I’m laying down?

    …people like the Phoresia dudes. Keep it up!

  8. I agree with Yvon’s view on the value/importance of grassroots initiatives. If you want to feel plugged into your community… then plug in. There are lots of options out there… Surfrider comes to mind but there are others.

  9. I saw the interview too. I also read “Let my people go surfing” I recommend it too all. I think the man is great.
    I agree the world does seem overwhelming at times (especially when trying to decide what fire to put out) but there are a lot more people like you out there than you realize; it’s just that so many have no voice. What you do here is allow more people to be heard. So don’t quiet down step it up!

  10. Please keep up the great writing and sharing of information. I find your commentaries informative and inspiring as well. Re the discussion about Chouinard and Patagonia though, how does a company balance its view on sustainability and reducing consumption with that of making a profit; b/c ultimately, isn’t that what Patagonia aims to do, make money? I buy Patagonia product and I believe in the message the company advocates, but it’s something that I find somewhat contradictory. I haven’t yet read the “Let my people go surfing” so perhaps some of this is flushed out by Chouinard in that.

  11. To add to Hound’s point: Patagonia’s message is great and certainly necessary, but I wonder how much of an overall impact Chouinard can have if the price points of the company’s surfing products are out of the reach of many – if not most – of his targeted customers? I’d venture to guess that Yvon has made more than enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his days; charging $400+ for a wetsuit seems a bit out of line with the “let my people go surfing” mantra – unless his people check the surf from the porches of their houses in the Hamptons. To me, the value of what Chouinard is doing is the potential for the other surf companies to get on the bus, and increase the quantity (and quality – from what I’ve read, the jury is still out on Patagonia’s suits) of eco-friendly surf gear, and drive down the price so that more surfers can afford it.