Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Art illustrative of a disaster much nearer home!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Non TransparentSea

The TransparentSea Voyage was such a great concept: an awareness campaign aimed at highlighting coastal environmental issues, with particular attention given to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and the waters they inhabit.” (http://transparentseavoyage.com/) It has also been a tremendous disappointment. Its organizers and participants squandered a wonderful opportunity to shed light on major problems facing cetaceans and humans along the Southern California coast. Instead of doing so, the voyage went from groomed beach to groomed beach (El Capitan State Park to Mission Beach in San Diego) and party to party at exclusive, elite, and affluent venues (Malibu Inn, Mission Bay Yacht Club), and promoted clean ups at relatively clean beaches. The TransparentSea Voyage appears to have been a project to raise funds, not awareness. Awareness would have meant exposing what is, perhaps, North America’s worst ongoing ecological disaster. Instead of picking up a few cigarette butts and Starbuck’s cups at the Malibu pier and at Mission Beach, the crew could have helped collect TONS of debris and plastic just before winter rains wash them into our beautiful ocean. (http://www.wildcoast.net/media-center/news/398) Instead of “peddling” through the relatively pristine waters off the Palos Verde Peninsula, they could have sailed in front of a California river mouth were, during the rainy season, hundreds of millions of gallons of water contaminated with human waste and industrial pollutants flow onto our ocean EVERY DAY, sometimes for months on end, washing those tons of plastics and debris out to sea. (http://www.sccoos.org/data/tracking/IB/ - check it out after a rain event) Instead of observing dolphins and blue whales living in clear and fairly healthy water near San Pedro, they could have seen a large pod of resident dolphins surfing and eating in the perfect, empty waves of a classic surf spot – empty because of the often putrid and chocolate brown water. They could have seen whales swim through this same fetid plume, which extends miles out to sea when the river flows. This unbelievably gross water has driven the local surfers from the lineup of a classic reef break, a reef that is also a proposed MPA! (http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/20070102-9999-lz1s2surf.html) (http://www.wildcoast.net/media-center/news/270-tijuana-river-mouth-marine-protected-area-status-goes-into-effect-oct-1) Unfortunately, dolphins and grey whales can’t avoid the pollution like surfers do. This area is, basically, the Taiji Cove of the Californias. Dolphins certainly don’t suffer the quick, bloody death here that they do in Japan. They merely pass their winter months in an ocean filled with plastic waste, sewage, chemicals, and disease. Grey whales navigate these same poisoned waters twice a year on their annual migration. Who knows what effect it may have on them? The TransparentSea Voyage was informed about the problems this area poses to the ocean, humans, and cetaceans. It was asked to go there for a look, a couple of hours tops, on a tour that would have made their jaws drop. They didn’t come, apparently being too busy at glitzy venues, raising funds, and hobnobbing with the “elite”. This “cove” is the Tijuana River Valley, the Tijuana River, and the reef break known as the Tijuana Sloughs. It needs the kind of international exposure a project like TransparentSea can bring. Once again, an opportunity presented itself. Once again, the surfing community seems to have spent its time partying in beautiful and affluent places filled with beautiful and affluent people capable of giving large beautiful donations, instead of focusing on real problems. The TransparentSea Voyage was such a great concept. It was such a great disappointment.

Hi Jeff

We at S4C appreciate your passion and opinion for what Transparentsea did not accomplish. We have a long list of how to make this campaign better in the future and your input has been noted. Please continue to spread the word about the issues that the Tijuana Sloughs face as these are legitimate and something that needs to be addressed on both sides of the border.

Also please remember that our group are passionate volunteers who do campaigns like this because we feel its extremely important to do what we can for the oceans and the creatures that live in them, and not because of any "elite" or "exclusive" opportunities that appear to have presented themselves.

One of the goals of our non-profit is to inspire others as we have been inspired by other like minded activists over the years. You are clearly moved by the Transparentsea concept and very passionate about your local area and we applaud that effort...

We hope that in the future you will use those passions for the positive and not as a loud speaker to cut down our initiatives because it didn't meet your goals. We would love to help in any way we can going forward, but ask that you not use this platform to trash our efforts as the Sloughs and your local beaches have been trashed over the years.


justin krumb | S4C USA | www.s4cglobal.org |

Hi Justin,

Thanks for such a prompt reply. I would like to point out a few things that might help you wrap your mind around my passion. The issues regarding the Tijuana River are international in scope. Two-thirds of its watershed lay within Mexico. The assembly plant industry (“maquiladoras”) in Tijuana, which contributes so much of the industrial pollution, is made up of companies from, among other countries, Japan and Korea. The foot print of contamination extends far beyond the confines of Imperial Beach and the Tijuana Sloughs reef, extending for many miles to the north, south and out to sea. Industries directly impacted by the plume include not only tourism and sport (surfing, diving, fishing), but also commercial fisheries on both sides of the border. The United States military commandos (SEALS) abandoned the area for training because of health issues. The United States Border Patrol receives “hazardous duty” pay when assigned to the area. As I stated in my initial letter, cetaceans are also quite heavily impacted, since they feed in and travel though the plume. This has been an international issue for many years, since before I was born’ I’m 62. It has been ignored all this time, perhaps because it is occurring in a “lost” corner of California or is viewed by many as too hard to deal with and impossible to solve. Personally, I’ve been involved in efforts to preserve the estuary, clean it of debris and silt, educate the public, and solve the sewage and contamination problems for over 40 years. Our activism here, is neither self-serving nor self-promoting. We have labored in obscurity all these years and now seek help in bringing this problem into the light of day. Our activism is altruistic and grassroots. We seek to solve this real and immense problem, not pay lip service to it through glitz and glamour. Our hands are dirty and our backs are sore. You were contacted through San Diego Surfrider with anticipation and informed of the severity of the problem and the importance of shedding some light on it. Surfrider San Diego was informed that TransparentSea and Mr. Rastovich were “100% on board” for a tour of the Tijuana River Valley and willing to learn about its impact on the ocean environment. Neither TransparentSea nor Mr. Rastovich followed through and fulfilled their stated obligation to come. Our offer of a tour still holds. We would be very happy to have you and your TransparentSea crew witness the “Taiji Cove” of the Californias. Don’t forget to bring a camera. Please let us know when you will be here. You can contact us through San Diego Surfrider.