The Coolest Volunteering

I was fortunate to meet two contacts at two excellent marine conservation organizations a couple months ago after attending a public forum against offshore drilling. Choosing Facebook events to attend on a whim pays off!

That evening I met representatives from Surfrider and Oceana. My role with Surfrider will be writing articles to update and contribute to Beachapedia – an awesome resource I was not familiar with up to this point.  It’s a knowledge bank on coastal issues and topics, super easy to navigate, and containing great researched topics related to Surfrider’s campaigns.

Look for my first article coming up soon – on the topic of “Compost Tea” – it has been really fun to write!



AldoLeopold.Guthrie, J.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the beauty, stability, and integrity of a community, it is wrong when it tends to do otherwise.”

Happy birthday on January 11th to Aldo Leopold.


photo credit: by way of  “J. D. Guthrie (Forest History Society), flickr.”

Holiday Finale: Privilege

I had some other subjects I was going to write about for my last post in this holiday series. As 2016 wrapped up and my eyes are on 2017, I think a lot about how many people I am fortunate to have crossed paths with in this past year. I look ahead to new beginnings with a full time job in California beginning now in 2017. It’s been a privilege to live life and work dynamically and adventurously for the better part of the last decade, and now it will be a new kind of privilege and adventure from here on.

Turns out a friend and family family member of mine summed up what I thought about a lot this year. I thank Garrett Dimon for sharing his words and journey. Have a happy 2017, everyone, keep looking out for each other.

View story at

The Compounding Benefits of Privilege by Garrett Dimon

Holiday Series #2

This year has afforded me a lot of growth in many ways, one of which being my intention to maintain a responsible consumer life, buying what I need and can use forever, ideally, and less impulse buys of low quality food, drink, and goods.

A resounding need to support organizations I appreciate and love for the meaningful work they are doing for people and places across the Earth really affected me in the latter part of the year, especially in the last two months. I have enjoyed giving the small amounts I can afford to many incredible charities and nonprofits.

This year for my family’s Christmas gifts from me, I decided to pick a charitable organization for each of them and make a donation in their name and honor. I’m happy to share the organizations I chose here. Each of them are doing excellent work across the world to combat abuse of the environment and of the quality of life of people who have been pushed aside, harmed by volatile conflict, or have their way of life threatened by other external sources.

Room to Read “seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.”

Indigenous Literacy Foundation was founded and set up by members of the Australian Book Society and works to raise awareness and provide programs about Indigenous literacy issues and provide books to children in remote communities around Australia.

Doctors Without Borders: “Medical aid where it is needed most. Independent. Neutral. Impartial.” Because so many people around the world are suffering from senseless conflict that destroys families, communities, and cultures.

Surfrider protecting our salty playground, because, oceans.

Holiday Shopping, Seafood Edition

This is a three-part series where I will write briefly about a company I have chosen to make a purchase from this holiday season, in hopes that it inspires you to find your own retailers and businesses that give you high quality, affordable, and sustainably-sourced products for yourself or loved ones you shop for this season.

Company #1 – Salty Girl Seafood, Inc.

“Salty Girl Seafood is more than a seafood company – it’s a connection to the ocean, a relationship to where your food comes from, and a right to enjoy simpler, healthier ingredients on your dinner table. With every purchase, you’re driving positive change in our oceans and celebrating fishermen who harvest responsibly.”   -Salty Girl Seafood, Inc.

While doing some grocery shopping for delicious holiday meals with my mother last week, we went to pick out shrimp and crabmeat for her delicious dishes. I explained to her the importance of buying sustainable seafood. My mother, a talented chef, gave in to my advice several years ago to try to purchase only sustainable seafood in our house which eats this protein 2-3 times a week. Mom admitted that she doesn’t always know if the ingredients she is buying are fitting the bill for sustainability. Together, at the frozen seafood section in a Kroger, I showed her two packages – one that was designed to look like it was a sustainable, American-sourced choice, and one that actually was. After a quick examination of both backsides of the bags, it was easily seen that the one masquerading as a sustainable choice, had a misleading “Great American Seafood” logo but came from farm-raised Indonesian source. Without any more detail, it was easy to ascertain that this farm-raised seafood probably did not come from a closed aquaculture system – one that doesn’t pollute the open ocean with growth hormones, waste, and detritus – otherwise it would say that (celebrate that! market that!). The second package listed the ingredients as farm raised, sustainably-grown seafood from a company here on the Texas Gulf Coast. After putting one of these packages into the cart, we took a look at the canned seafood aisle, and I also pointed out the major difference in the single brand that actually followed regulations for sustainable seafood, and two other very popular brands that sourced the seafood in the cans from dodgy Asian markets that are not regulated and not inspected for sustainability.

This might sound like a lot of work, but these decisions were made in less than 5 minutes thanks to Seafood Watch, a smartphone app that comprehensively narrows down your possible purchasing options. And every little bit a consumer can stay informed and actively pursue responsible buying, helps ensure that a protein source for a large part of the global population remains available and accessible.

This supermarket adventure, coupled with the recent news by NOAA about seafood imports, inspired me to finish off some stocking stuffers from Salty Girl Seafood, Inc., a company grown from a graduate student entrepreneurship project at the Bren School of UCSB in Santa Barbara, CA. I remember hearing about the project from a friend a couple years ago, and I’m happy to include them in my holiday shopping list now. Check them out for yourself, they have a promotion right now for delicious, smoked seafood ready to ship! Or if you’re a local Californian, check your Whole Foods to see where they’re carried.

This Notion



“This notion that “science” is something that belongs in a separate compartment of its own, apart from everyday life, is one that I should like to challenge. We live in a scientific age; yet we assume that knowledge of science is the prerogative of only a small number of human beings, isolated and priest-like in their laboratories. This is not true. It cannot be true. The materials of science are the materials of life itself. Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how, and the why of everything in our experience. It is impossible to understand man without understanding his environment and the forces that have molded him physically and mentally.”

~Rachel Carson, in her address of receiving National Book Award, 1952.

Superior Views for Superior Moments

Weekend Warrior Edition #1 (in no particular order) of several had so far.

Thanks to some adventure buddies, Marc & Anna, I have had a good run of weekend fun lately – most recently, the Porcupine Mountains in Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Last week Minnesota, this week Michigan, next week…Montana? sigh…I wish.

We were chasing down fall, and a recent solar storm which stirs up the Aurora Borealis activity, but we only found a little peek of fall and some super clear skies, yet no light show. We camped the first evening within hearing Superior’s waves crash on a beach 40 feet below our tenting ledge. Hiking in the next day past Union Spring – and what do you know – a true spring bubbling up. Dreams of jumping in for a soak were quickly doubled back on after touching the water. Like ice. We found a superior camping spot, with superior views, for superior moments (copyright, Anna) with a wide open view of the Lake of the Clouds Basin and some trees working on poking their reds and oranges through on leaves. In one photo below, you might be able to peep the Bald Eagle soaring above the tree line. The next day, we woke up to estimated 40 mph wind gusts and impending rain, which soaked us on our hike back. Already dripping, why not go to a waterfall anyway? And then, since you’re wet and have made it back to the car, WHY NOT just go jump in Lake Superior? I know, that’s what I said!!

A quick run, dive into, and stumble out of the shores of Superior rounded out our trip. Turns out, the air temperature (about 65 F) that day warmed us right back up instantly after exiting the water, which I estimated (based off years of Pacific hydro-temp-guessing), was probably in the high 50s F. If you’re into Polar Plunging yourself, check out my last photo – this is what one should have ready upon exiting your plunge. At the least. Note the bandanna – 10/10 recommend an actual pack towel instead:)


The Opportunity for Education

Recently, I was in a city riding in a Lyft driver’s car with a good friend. We started chatting to our driver immediately, and soon learned he was from Ghana and had been living in the US for 6 years. He was a fisherman at home in his country and we talked about what kind of fishing he did-local species, shallow water along the coasts-but he told us that Koreans and other Asian fishing vessels were coming to fish out all the big fish like tuna. He kept telling us that living in America  was great – and the work that Americans do is really really good in his country. I told him I had a friend who was about to go to Ghana for Peace Corps and he excitedly talked about how American and other international groups helped get wells drilled for freshwater for a lot of cities and towns in Ghana. It was quite the process for him to apply and receive a visa to immigrate to the US, but he persevered and now he is happy with his family and a recent home purchase – his first ever. “Opportunity…there is so much opportunity here in America,” he said.

It’s about that time for one of the greatest opportunities our country affords us who are eligible citizens.




There is so much more to these elections than just the big and shiny in-your-face from what the media wants you to know. Liberal, conservative, or somewhere in the middle radio/print/digital/TV/cable: if it were up to them you’d hear about the Presidential candidates ALL the time, and only 2 out of the 4 at that.

THERE IS MORE, people. Propositions, referendums, ballot issues, and ALL THE OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS BESIDES PRESIDENT. Before you give me the “I’m not voting for either of them,” spiel/speel/schpeel (sp?) – please consider the other officials just like the two you’re refusing to vote for, who are already in office or who will get elected by sheer money spent on media.

If everyone who is on Facebook clicking and scrolling away would commit to reading one piece of background news on a voting issue for their state, or about one of their elected representatives, what the voting record of an incumbent really is….imagine the FORCE of educated voters we would have in the Nation.

One of the best sites I’ve come across recently gives me the information I want easily and concisely and it’s only about ONE issue – the ocean. Heal the Bay is an “environmental non profit dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy, and clean.” They made a shortcut voter card so voters can know the ballot issues in November, with propositions directly related to the health of the ocean and surrounding watersheds.

For all my California voter peeps, especially, check it and know your ballot: 

Have you found any excellent voter ballot/issue resources for the upcoming election? Please share in the comments below!

Back from Retirement…soon!

How time flies…it has been all of 2016 since I have blogged last. Rest assured, I have been on many the adventure, with many the friend and good vibes. I will be working to reconstruct some of those adventures here in the coming months. Thanks to those supportive readers (hey, Mom!), and I will join you back here very soon. But until then…some eye candy scenery of some of my favorites this year.