Archive for October, 2010

Ethics in Environmentalism, Citizenship and Stewardship

Monday, October 25th, 2010
A New Wave to Wipe You Out

A New Wave to Wipe You Out

A new wave is breaking.

There has been a lot of change afoot for me, and there were a few things I had been avoiding acting on.  Those subjects called for much research and thought. They have been on my plate repeatedly lately.

In one circumstance, I had to take a close look at an environmental group which some friends had created many years ago, for the purpose of preserving beach and ocean access. The group, Surfrider Foundation, has done an amazing amount of good work, and I have assisted it by various means, since its inception in the mid 80s.

The past several years have seen me sort of look the other way, (after I was politely ignored) in pointing out what I thought to be some rather serious misdeeds. I won’t get into those, because that is unfair.¬† I simply disagreed with the circumstances and events, which I was cognizant of having occurred.

After much consideration (months) I penned a manifesto of sorts and circulated it amongst my friends and colleagues, which may make me “the enemy” in their eyes. I dislike hurting people. So I tend to be very slow to act on some things. But that tenet (distaste for inflicting harm) just came back and forced me to do and say something. Many of these people are life long friends and confidants. I wanted, no, needed, to be clear.

Surfrider has joined with a Govt agency (NOAA)  and implemented actions which I see as completely opposite of those it started out with.

Here are two separate links from SR’s websites. They explain in the organization’s own words, a bit more regarding a current trend they are engaged in.

In fact, this is being endorsed by the President. Here is the link.

It reads as something good. It is not. If you believe it is, then you may want to consider that both the MMS and EPA (Govt agencies) were in charge of regulating the drilling projects on the Gulf Coast. I am assuming you now know the part they played in contributing to the disaster, and assisting in it, with the implementation of massive usage of Corexit. Some call it the “crime of the century”.

I disagree with assisting in this. On every level. Hence this blog. The ocean is something I take very personally, as I do regarding my obligations to my friends.

Keep in mind that I was right there when this group started, and have supported them in various ways throughout the years. That is a lot of support, and a lot of years.

I realized,  what has been quietly eating at my insides, is that what I do requires me to listen to everybody. When, as a result of listening, a situation arises that forces me to actually DO something, I am no longer a Photographer or Journalist. I have become something else. It is very uncomfortable for me, and I hate how it makes me feel. But to say and do nothing instead, is amoral when one believes a wrong is being committed against innocents. What is being acted on now by our Government, and being promoted by the Environmental Community, will alter the rights and freedoms of all future generations of ocean users.

Often, change and ethics shifts occur in the merest of increments, and one does not realize the ship has actually turned around and is heading the wrong way.

After many years of  informal efforts to input the process, I have found that the group is determined to keep people out of the ocean. Something I want no part of, in any way.

They believe it is for the good of the ocean. It may be.

Below is an excerpt from the manifesto which I sent to my editors, close friends and colleagues in August of 2010.

“My position basically, is that I want no Government regulation of my access to the Ocean or any of my activities in it, when those activities are already thoughtful, informed and benign, long term.

I believe that if you think Government is here to help the environment, that you are seriously misinformed. If you look closely at the recent episode in the Gulf, it points at exactly what one needs to realize: The system is not working. When something is broken, you do not give it more responsibility, weight and money. You stop.

As someone who has worked with the regulatory control system in the development of laws and regulations for industry in California, I think that this entire movement, to place a relatively healthy ocean under increased lockdown to the public, is a sham. It is regulating and controlling the wrong thing: YOU.

When organizations such as Surfrider were formed, it was written into the charter that they existed to preserve beach and ocean access. Someone may have rewritten the charter, as SR is now not only endorsing the MLPA, but has worked with NOAA to implement public access sanctions behind the scenes. One need only look as far as the banning of PWC’s in the Monterey Bay Santuary.

Here is another revealing link to a piece published by the San Luis Chapter of Surfrider. I am going to point out here, that they agree with surf rescue usage of PWC’s , but as this rule is applied in real life, the rescue community is NOT allowed to train or practice anywhere in the Santuary nor will be.¬† So the liability for the people behind the legislation should someone die as a result, is rather high. I will not bother to point out every one of a huge number of inaccuracies in the document as arguing is pointless at this time. I am done trying to push the square peg of reason into the round hole of prejudice and prurient interest

Modern Day OutlawModern Day Outlaw

It is my position that the current path in implementation of the MPLA and other future acts, are going to violate all of our Constitutional Rights, and in the long run take away the freedoms many of you have enjoyed as an ocean going clan.

As a native, and as an American, I urge you, fellow leaders of your own groups and tribes, to do your own research and make up your own minds on the correct course of action for your groups and your families. That you study and not blindly follow, is the only way any of this will ever change.”

What Aloha Actually Says

What Aloha Actually Says

The Kumulipo. The reason this Hawaiian will not surrender his Ocean.

Here is the historic background to the Kumilipo.

If you think Government agencies like the MMS and EPA are efficient and good representatives of your group,  great,  fall in. I do not see it that way, based on my experiences in industry, as a waterman, a member of the Rescue Community, and a conscientious, sentient human being.

I cannot, in good conscience, endorse something I believe to be wrong on so many levels.

I believe we are at the edge of the dawn of a new era, and that it looks like more low benefit to high cost modus, which may cost future generations access to the beaches and oceans. Benefits? Yes there are some. Just not for you.

My answer is a simple “no”.

Below is a gallery of every day ocean activities. I endeavored to inject some History in the edit.¬† Some of these may become “illegal” soon. Some already are, in places where the MLPA has been implemented.

I anticipate Civil Rights violation lawsuits to arise. Dawn of a new age, where you will need legal representation to enforce your “inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Do those words sound familiar?

Every Ocean user and American needs to read this carefully. You will be stunned. I was. This is in it and is a reference to what tyranny our forefathers fled in coming to America. I was stunned.  There it was. History repeating.

“He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.”

Does that describe something familiar?

Agenda 21. What we see is possibly attributable to this.

The Story of STUFF. Informative enlightenment, in an entertaining albeit alarming story.

This is how we fix things. A related blog post by Seth Godin

Fact of the Matter: Inconvenient Truths

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
Ventura Palmset

Ventura Palmset

I got in a lively discussion on Global Warming the other day. More specifically Anthropogenic Global Warming.

It is a “given” that we humans have¬† the capacity to foul the Earth. It is also a given that the Earth by it’s architecture will cleanse itself.

In the civilized and educated Western world we typically endeavor to keep a clean house. Look around. PZEV vehicles are standard fare in our world and have contributed to a massive decline in hydrocarbon emissions from Automobiles. That is just one example in a huge list of things Western Culture embraces as a means of keeping air, land and ocean clean.

But we have a fly in that ointment, and ironically it is the “Global Warming” environmental chant so common in media today.

What you will find is a complete lack of understanding of the role of Globalism, Trade and Commerce among the proponents of that environmental group chant, which begins with a sort of chicken little fear mongering, that gets all of the uneducated to line up for the Kool Aide that can destroy Western Culture.

Tiny Bubbles of Light

Tiny Bubbles of Light

Seth Godin has this to say about a culture which has decided to stay deliberately misinformed.

Here is “The Deal” in a¬† nutshell. Our culture places a huge demand on durable goods. We used to make them here in the US. As the environmental movement acquired traction here, and a punitive method of regulatory control took effect, industry went overseas in order to avoid the additional expense and hassles that increased cost and decreased bottom line.

As a result, Western based Cities and Oceans cleaned up. Third world Cities and Oceans grew much worse.

Clean Wave

Clean Wave

The world is a space ship. Everything connects via atmosphere and is in turn moderated by weather. That is how the Earth maintains control.

The affect of the “Global Warmers” is actually promotion of a willful ignorance of weather, economic law, basic human greed, and puts control of hazardous effluent and exhaust into the arena of Third World entities.

Zuri Starr just returned from a tour in China, explained how dirty the place is, and how sick she became as a result of her recent time spent there. The same people who, in what I am pretty sure is a display of abject guilt, in ascribing to groups “fighting global warming” buy most of their durable goods which are MADE in China and other places with little to no ethical manufacturing process.

The net result is a huge dumbing down of Western Culture, environment and our power to effect positive and sustainable change.

Green Girl: Donna Von Hoesslin

Green Girl: Donna Von Hoesslin

It is evil.

One Volcano can spew more into the atmosphere than decades of industrial output. That is a really inconvenient truth.

Dr Ed Brenegar pointed out this very accurate essay, which explains why evil people promote ignorance, in the Servile Mind.

So let’s be honest.

Or not.

It is a big world.  Make a difference. You matter.

I like where Elliot Minor went in their endeavor to matter, at the direction of Tyler Swain. All Along.

Kool Aide fans click here. Your people are this serious. They made this.

Death Destiny

Deaths Destiny

High Art

Saturday, October 16th, 2010


There is a friend of mine, Joe Cardella, who has coined a phrase: “Art Saves Lives”

When looked at sideways you can truly understand that statement.

However, approach it with logical pragmatism and you will in fact, experience NO magical transformation in your life at all.

The reason for this is because the human heart establishes parameters that allow for a daily experiential flow that keeps everything in a predictable array of experience.

What this does is to allow for order.

It has long been said that genius borders on madness.

Well, high Art endeavors to lift Man into the realm of the Divine. It does so by enabling, via lateral thinking,  a skirting of the modus that keeps us locked in to the established rythmn of society and culture.

Is that a good thing?

Of course it is. Because it will implant the light of hope.

We all need hope to survive.

My Art is life, and all about encouraging people to embrace it.

This week I have Art showing at Couch in Santa Barbara on Ortega Street. The show is entitled “Gaviota Nude” and is an homage to the Chumash settled coastline where I grew up. The gallery owner is Michelle. Go see it if your are in Santa Barbara. It is inspiring.

I also have work showing at J’s on Main St in Ventura, and Betty B in Ventura as a part of the Ventura Artwalk.

Shows are something rather new for me. Though I have been in some rather prestigious venues around the world, I have at the behest of my friend and colleague, Robb Havassy,  and my girlfriend Donna Von Hoesslin, begun to show more. Why? Because it can help people.

Think of me as your neighborhood evangelist. But I am at your door to tell you that there are a wealth of experiences awaiting you.

Jesus will save your soul.

Art can save your life.

Build it.


The gallery below was shot in the Seychelles, the Maldives, Hawaii, and at home, in Ventura, California.

If you would like to purchase work, I hate to say this, but I really sell nothing. I am always away working. But any of the above three venues can help you, OR go to, Waveriders Gallery, Pi Studios, Corbis Images, keyword David Pu’u, or by contacting Donna at Surfchick @ Soon you will also be able to see my work via Coastal Classics at any surfshop near you on apparel, and fine canvas and plexiglass strata prints.

Friends and Heroes

Friday, October 15th, 2010

I got to have lunch with a friend of mine this week, who I follow pretty closely, but due to our busy schedules, I rarely actually get to sit down with. As he and I shared our passions, pains, frustrations, joys and aspirations over a light meal at our favorite Taqueria, I told him how inspired I was by  his knowledge and persistence in the living of his life and what to me is one of the strongest examples of selflessness I have experienced in my Community.

Paul thanked me, and to my surprise told me that I was one of the few people who seemed to always take notice. “How could anyone not?” was my thought, as I crunched on a tortilla chip and home made salsa, brought to our table by Lily, who with her husband Juan owns and runs the homey place many of us like to frequent.

Paul Jenkin is the champion of water in our Community of Ventura. An expert on watersheds, he and I have a few mutual friends whose dedication to making the world a cleaner, more sensible place, actually created a very large Environmental group which continued on after their passage. If I ever do not understand the implications of a solution to an environmental or community problem, Paul is someone who I turn to for enlightenment.

He dedicates his life to his wife and son and all of us here in the broad world.  I have watched and endeavored to help in anything Paul sets his hand to. I know without reservation that in so doing, I will have done the right thing. Because Paul, on top of being educated, informed and passionate, is the most consistent person I know. He is as tenacious as the dawn which pushes back the night. One of those bright lights who quietly and persistently separates bullshit from the flowers, and plucking the solution like a sole rose, will hold it up, and make sure everyone sees it.

Of course that does not make him too popular with folks whose business is hiding beneath careers built upon layers of fertilizer. But Paul quietly and respectfully persists. Here is his latest blog entry. You should read it. Everybody needs to know Paul. He not only develops answers, but correct solutions. Big difference from the inauthentic and insincere plying of influence one sees in the Environmental movement designed to manipulate a result that is motivated on branding for influence and money.

Santa Clara River Estuary

Santa Clara River Estuary

In looking around at who I have in my life, I have recently come to the realization that every single one of them is a hero to me. Soldiers in the war of life that are willing to not just get dirty in the trenches, but do so willingly and consistently, so that the next generation has a better legacy. People who will not just stand and fight and take a bullet, but are smart enough to take out the one who is firing the bullets.

It seems we are all in a battle these days. With income streams crashing, and line items many of us grew up taking for granted fading away, everyone has new and challenging struggles, in just maintaining an acceptable level of existence. Politicians with six figure salaries, Government jobs which heretofore offered the promise of long term security, all of that which was once considered necessary social architecture, is being examined for the first time and being held up to the light of public scrutiny.

Ventura City Twilight

Ventura City Twilight

For the first time in my life, I am seeing people step forward and simply, ethically and steadily, begin to ask the right questions.

It really gives me goose bumps to look around me in my community and see everyone holding a rose.

Ventura Film Society: Beginnings

Ventura Film Society: Beginnings

But that is why we will succeed.

All of us need heros.

Look around.

You matter.

Daily Good is something my friend Jeff Parker pointed me towards. It comes to you every day and is a good read over your morning coffee.

Seth Godin, as always, is in perfect sync with my community today.

An organization where you will find a global assortment of heroes is One Percent for the Planet.

Thanks to Joe Cardella for sending this along once again. Stand By Me.

Click on any of the images in this blog for a little back story.

No Matter How Dirty it Gets

No Matter How Dirty it Gets

Community Leader and Activist. Helen Yunker

Community Leader and Activist. Helen Yunker

Pre Parking Meters. Before City leaders ruined the view.

Pre Parking Meters. Before City leaders ruined the view.

Ventura Pier, a good analogy of structural integrity.

Ventura Pier, a good analogy of structural integrity.

California Street Sunset

California Street Sunset

Perceptive Kindness

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

There are many ways one can approach a project and the people who will be involved. I learned early in life, that it is always best to be kind, and accord respect to people, and that frequently, the ones whose appearance may not betray it, are really the ones in charge. But beyond that, it really is just the right thing to do.

Seth Godin has this to say, in his blogpost entitled: “Getting Smart About The Hierarchy of Smart”

A classic example of something appearing unassuming, would be Donna Von Hoesslin’s little Ventura storefront, which goes by the name of Betty B.

Betty B on Fir

Betty B on Fir

Donna’s company is based on a Global Commerce model. She has been before some of the largest leaders in the US retail trade, and been pursued as a designer and supplier by some very prestigious business entities. You would never guess that, were you to walk into her cozy little shop.

In 2007 the National Retail Federation invited her then, wholesale only company,  to be a part of The Big Show in NYC. Betty Belts was named as part of a select group of businesses to be a part of XO7  which was subtitled as the Store of the Future, the brainchild of designer Richard Russo of Hybridia Design.

When Richard rang me one day and asked if I could contribute, I was tipped off by his low key approach. I had NO idea of the scope of this man’s project or his ability as a designer. But I liked what he had to say, how he said it, and agreed to send him some stills and footage to use. Later as I stood in X07, I was stunned to see my work integrated into Richard’s fantastic design. Mary Osborne went surfing right by on hmm, I dunno, 200 LCDs ? In the Concept project, along with Betty Belts were companies like Toyota, LL Bean and other giants.

Mary Osborne Surfing through X07

Mary Osborne Surfing through X07

It was with equal parts irony and glee, that when Donna balked at getting her little store of the future merchandised and up (huge pressure) in under 24 hours, that Richard turned to me and asked: “Well what do you think?” My response was “Hell Richard, I have assembled innumerable retail locations, lets do this.” So he and I slammed the concept together, as Donna tended to the myriad other aspects of the show.

We both had a lot of fun designing and assembling  the Betty Belts store merchandising, on the fly. And we made the store opening deadline. The funny thing is, that the other larger companies had staff. But Donna only had Richard and I. Pretty telling when you step back and realize that the man in charge of everything, and the guy who built much of the imagery, were there in the retail trenches and having fun. If one were to walk in, you would assume we were the hourly workers. I know we cracked better jokes, though some of the NYC teamsters were pretty hilarious.

Donna and the Betty Belts Store

Donna and the Betty Belts Store

X07 saw Donna approached by all of the big vendors. Now here is where it gets interesting. She turned them down. All of them. On principal. And then she went on her way, and shortly after, opened her little shopfront, in addition to her wholesale business. Now to look at Donna, one would never realize how many families she supports on Bali, nor see her thoughtful and ethical approach to business. In fact, one may be inclined to see her as a sort of ethereally minded tree hugger. But again, appearances can be deceiving. She is where she is, by design. Many talented people are like that.

Donna Von Hoesslin

Donna Von Hoesslin, Surfer, Business Owner

I tend to lean on my Christian background a lot. It has saved me countless times. One Bible verse always seems to turn up,  and in fact, has made my career by placing me before great men and women, who have often turned out to be collaborators and benefactors when I really needed one.

“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”. (Hebrews 13:1-2)

But of course, I was just practicing perceptive kindness.

That is how I met Donna.

My own angel.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.