Environmental Interest

Another summer has flown by here at Tiki and now the madness has subsided a little, it is time to reflect on the issues of the last few weeks. Its generally been a good summer of weather (apart from a bit of a hiccup in August!) The surf has not been much to write home about but now we are well into September, we’ve had some nice off-shore sessions in between the flat days.. and its still warm!

On a more serious note. As a company that manufactures surfboards and wetsuits, environmental issues are a topic close to Tiki’s heart. One positive piece of environmental news to come out of the summer were reports on the reduction of the ozone layer hole.

A new UN report found that the Earth’s protective ozone layer is finally starting to recover, after efforts in the 1980s to phase out CFCs and other destructive chemicals. Without the ozone layer’s protection, more and more people would be exposed to UV rays. Skin-cancer rates in many places might have soared, as they already have in Puentas Arenas, Chile, which lies under the existing ozone hole. Those UV rays could also harm crops and the marine food chain.
Fortunately, this potentially disastrous scenario never occurred on a global scale. Scientists uncovered the problem in time. And, under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, world leaders agreed to phase out CFCs. The latest UN assessment, conducted by some 300 scientists, has found that the ozone layer is just now starting to heal and should be back to its 1980 levels by 2050, though there will be ups and downs along the way.

On a less positive note, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have reached a record high. An instrument near the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii has recorded a long-awaited climate milestone: the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere there has exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in 55 years of measurement and probably more than 3 million years of Earth history! The last time the concentration of Earth’s main greenhouse gas reached this mark, seas were at least 30 feet higher, at a level that today would inundate major cities around the world. The planet was about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius warmer. But the Earth then was in the final stage of a prolonged greenhouse epoch, and CO2 concentrations were on their way down. This time, 400 ppm is a milestone on a far more rapid uphill climb toward an uncertain climate future.

Here at Tiki we are constantly trying to find ways to be more environmentally responsible. From relatively minor changes like converting all our carrier bags from plastic to recycled paper and packing our surf accessories in recycled card, to production on a bigger scale. All our wetsuits are now made from limestone based neoprene rather than the less eco friendly oil base. Our CLX and Feather Foil surfboard ranges use the more environmentally sound and recyclable polystyrene foam rather than Polyurethane. The Epoxy resin used on these boards over the traditional polyester resin, produces 75% less VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in its production and the bamboo used on the Feather Foils is all from a sustainable source.

The surf industry by its nature, unfortunately, is not the most environmentally sound of businesses in its manufacturing processes. In order for us all to keep enjoying the ocean and doing what we love most, both surf companies and surfers alike have a responsibility to move forward with an environmental consciousness. Generally, there seems to be better understanding and awareness of eco issues around the world, certainly since the 70’s and 80’s when environmental damage seemed to be at its worst. The improvement in the ozone layer proves that the globe, pulling together as one community, can make a difference and long may that attitude continue.