Jake Moss, making GREEN priorities.

I crossed paths with old friend and custom surfboard shaper, Jake Moss, while bouncing around San Diego. We exchanging greetings–small talk over a basket of raw figs–and then suddenly Jake’s eyes lit up.

“I’ll be right back,” he said, disappearing quickly out of Seth and Helen’s house where we’d spontaneously rendezvoused…

He returned a few minutes later with a lovely key-lime green twin-fin under his arm.

“Check it out, this board is made out of about 85% recycled or plant-based renewable materials.” He said, passing it over to me.

I turned the board in my hands, admiring the lovely bamboo fins while he continued to tell me about it…

“The epoxy blank is made from 100% recycled and reconstituted packing scraps from department stores. NO CFC’s are released during the building process and 80% less VOC’s are produced compared to regular polyester board production. The resin is a zero VOC, 75% plant-based epoxy (made from pine sap and rapid-renewable, plant-based oils which are a biofuel byproduct). And the fins are hand-made from bamboo and reinforced with natural fibers…”

I was blown away…

He had devised this all on his own and out of pocket…Listening to him talk about it, it was easy to tell he’s not only an craftsman and artist, but a passionate environmental scientist, too. This was by far the ‘greenest’ surfboard I had ever heard of?! He then set the board upside-down on the polished cement floor and said, “and they’ve got 3 times the strength and flex of regular polyester boards.”

At that, he stepped with all of his weight directly on the center of the board…

I cringed.

But the board just flexed under his weight. The only thing that cracked was a little smile on Jake’s face. He stepped off, “They also the reduce waste and energy consumed in extracting, transporting, and refining new materials…”

He’d done his homework! I was so stoked on Jake’s ambitions, that we met up a few weeks later to talk more about his ‘greening up’ his shaping room. That led into other topics I’d been mulling over during my time in California:  Easy things that we can do in daily urban life to make it healthier, happier, and more eco-friendly? Here’s what Jake and I came up with:

1. Make good consumer choices: try to buy local, natural products, made by eco/socially-responsible companies, try to buy products without excess plastic packaging (check out the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s addition to the 3 R’s!), and/or packaging that is recyclable. If you eat meat, choose sustainable seafood and/or organically and free-range meats and poultry. Look for fair trade products! The slightly higher costs of these products are offset by their good effects on you and the Earth!

2. Grow a garden or plant edible landscaping! Jake’s got a bustling garden box in his backyard in Solana Beach. And if you don’t have the space or time for that…then go enjoy your local farmer’s market! You can get locally grown products that taste WAY better than ‘store-bought’ ones. It feels good to know where your fruit and veggies came from and to get to know the growers. The positive human interaction has value too!

3. Eat healthier and Don’t waste food! Share entrees with your friends, cook at home, and try to be conscious of what you’re putting in your mouth!

4. Bring your own shopping bags and ‘to go’ cups and containers! I was absolutely horrified by the amount of waste that Americans produce daily and think NOTHING of…plastic shopping bags are ridiculous! We’re going to be buried alive in disposable coffee cups and ‘to go’ food containers! Plus they take energy and resources to make and dispose of…Bring your own and feel good about it!

5. Walk/ride a bike/skate/etc whenever possible! It’s not only good for the environment, but it’s good for your body and mind and to increase your connection to your community! A boring drive to the market could be transformed into a joy ride with fresh air on your face as you glide past traffic lines and don’t deal with parking spaces! Integrate exercise into daily routines rather than get in the car and DRIVE to the gym!?

5. Get involved in your community! This is a venue small enough that you CAN have a significant impact. Jake has plans to get involved in a local community center in Solana Beach, where eco-minded people can get together and share information, visions, ideas, interests, offer classes, etc. Communities are a place to give and receive inspiration, ideas, and positive energy! The good guys gotta stick together!

6. Stop buying fancy household cleaning products! My mom recently switched to using only vinegar, ammonia, baking soda, and occaaaaaaaaaaasionally bleach to clean the house. It’s crazy how many toxic chemicals those products have in them and how we’ve been brainwashed to think that they clean better than simple, natural cleaning agents. It’s less expensive AND less harmful to you and the environment, and they work great!

"Either I'll find a way, or make one." --Anonymous