From Kelp Forest to Coastal Rain Forest – Kevin Whilden has Solutions to Climate Change.

Kevin at Rip Curl – the first surf brand to use his Deep Blue standard at an event; the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco.

Press play above, or listen on iTunes here and Spotify here.

Kevin Whilden is a Permafrost Geologist who as a child collected rocks everywhere he went whether playgrounds or Yellowstone Hot Springs or Catalina Island and even Antarctica in 1995 when he was a Graduate Student studying Periglacial Geomophology (WTF?).

Look, I like rocks” he says “because they tell a story that’s interesting. Geologists are essentially crime scene investigators.. rocks and fossils tell a story of the past in a way that helps us envision the future.

His curious obsession with rocks is something he suspects his son might be inheriting, saying “Today my son steals rocks from the neighbors yard here in South Bay.

Kevin’s partner Michael Stewart planting Mangrove Trees with friends in Biak, Indonesia.

It’s here in South Bay just up the road from El Porto and Manhattan Beach, the Southern Californian Beaches he surfs daily, that he helms Sustainable Surf with his partner Michael Stewart

In 2007 it was Michael who helped Kelly Slater become Carbon Neutral across his competitive career up to that point, and today, these two partners are enabling companies and individuals to do the same, removing carbon neutrality from the range of top shelf services previously available only to people in positions similar to Kelly’s – both in-the-know about current research on climate change, and having personal access to people like Michael and Kevin.

From Kevin: “Previously we were baffled that so few people were wiping their carbon footprints like Kelly had in ’07, and then we realized that most people just don’t have access to tangible solutions that are engaging and interesting.

The beginnings of a Mangrove Tree planted through Sustainable Surf’s Sea Trees Initiative. Photo: Eden

Enter Sea Trees: A platform for people and brands to wipe their climate impact while protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems – things like Kelp Forests, Corral Reefs, and Coastal Rainforests.

We discuss it all in this new episode of The Wire Podcast, specifically the way that one Sea Trees Token is equal to one ton of C02 emitted by an individual or company, and the way that each Sea Tree Token’s fee directly contributes towards a positive impact on climate change; ‘wiping’ the ton of carbon it represents.

Kevin is some of our favorite company over beverages (coffee in this episode) because of both his depth of conversational knowledge uncommon among surfing circles and his ability to convey it simply.

Fully Grown: Mangrove Trees sequestering CO2

Learning from him is exhilarating. About, for example, the stranger than fiction story of bottom dwelling Purple Sulfer Bacteria and why it’s exhalations of Hydrogen Sulfide Gas (a potent neurotoxin) could lead to an extinction level event – the stuff of science fiction novels, but an actual possibility according to Kevin.

However he’s optimistic and he’s oriented towards solutions.

He easily summarizes scientific papers and forest fire statistics and atmospheric properties from memory, and towards clear actions for avoiding climate catastrophe.

“Ten years from now when we look back at the evolution of less toxic surfboards, Sustainable Surf’s creation of the ECOBOARD standard will be viewed as a positive turning point in that journey. I think Sea Trees will be viewed as having just as much of an impact.”

– Mark Price, Firewire Surfboarsds CEO

Whether you’re intrigued by these topics or not this episode contains many related gems such as:

The ocean creature that can live for a hundred years in a ‘zombie like state”.

The “Ghost In The Machine” behind Kelly Slater’s boards for the past 20 years.

The first climate change induced bankruptcy (that you’ve probably noticed if you live in California).

Why California has lost 90% of its kelp over the past 15 years.

What ‘Solution Aversion’ means and how it impacts our ability to solve climate problems, and all kinds of problems.

How Kevin and his partner Michael enabled the elimination of board bag fees on many United Airlines flights.

The Sea animal that might dissolve in the ocean in coming decades from ocean acidification.

How Firewire calculates its carbon footprint as a company.

And most importantly: How and why we’re supporting kelp forrest conservation and regeneration in California, planting mangroves in Biak Indonesia, and supporting the conservation of the largest contiguous rainforest in the world (and how you can too).

Listen to this brand new episode on here.

Links and resources referenced in this episode:

Video: Greg Long for Sea Trees

Video: Sustainable Surf x Rob Machado

Video: Dr. Octavio Auberto

Book: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace – Wells

Book: Falter by Bill McKibben

Book: Nassim Taleb Incerto

Book: An Ocean Garden by Josie Iselin

Website: REDD+ Program

Website: Sea Trees

Article: Kelly Slater goes Carbon Neutral in 2007

Article: Solution Aversion

Article: PG&E Power Shutdown

Article: Malibu Fire

Article: Carbon Cycle and Mass Extinction

Data: Deep Blue Survey conducted by Sustainable Surf

And lastly the two segments of Firewire’s total yearly Carbon Footprint discussed in this episode, as an example of how total carbon footprints are analyzed across an entire business: