by Taylor Soppe
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A connection with the ocean is inherent in most surfers, but Billabong freesurfer Dave Rastovich has taken his love of nature further than most. An active environmentalist, Rastovich has been selected for training by former US Vice President Al Gore at The Climate Project- Australia Asia Pacific Summit (A-P Summit).
Of the 2000 applicants from Australia and the Asia Pacific region, 300 were chosen to undergo training hosted by the Australian Conservation Foundation. Gore and a panel of experts from around the world will lead discussion on July 11-13 in Melbourne, Australia.
"I think anyone passionate about protecting the environment and the issue of climate change would jump at the chance to listen to and learn from Al Gore," said Rastovich. "Part of attending this summit is to become an advocate for climate change and to pass on the messages through my own activities."
The conference aims to spread scientific information and solutions for climate change, teaching passionate environmentalists practical ways to inspire change in their own communities. Part of the Climate Project, which aims to increase public awareness of the crisis at a global grassroots level, the summit will lead into the UNCCC Climate Change Conference which is coming up in December. Besides international conferences, the Climate Project hosts local presentations like the one shown in An Inconvenient Truth. One in seventy-five Australians has already seen the presentation.
Rastovich's commitment to marine protection earned him a seat at the A-P Summit. He founded Surfers for Cetaceans, an organization dedicated to promoting the protection of whales, dolphins, and marine life through education and interventions. "I feel climate change plays a large part in the issues I'm passionate about, especially the protection of marine mammals such as whales and dolphins," he said.
With his own organic veggie garden, a yoga regimen, and a goal to make surfboards more eco-friendly, Rastovich certainly lives in concordance with his message. "I hope to refine my ability to present solutions to environmental issues that our oceanic cultures face," he said. "I want to succinctly present the details of the issues which relate to surfers and to be a voice for coastal people conduit between this culture and mainstream society."