Sporting your jandals in support of Surf Life Saving

Today, the first Friday of December, is National Jandal Day down under in New Zealand. If you’re not a Kiwi or an Aussie, you may not be familiar with the term ‘jandal’. Well, depending where you’re from, jandals may be called flip-flops, thongs, slip-slops, zori… Basically it’s your classic, open-toe, flat-sole sandal with the Y-shaped strap between the toes, often worn at the beach or other informal situations.

Jandal Day raises funds for Surf Life Saving.
Jandal Day raises funds for Surf Life Saving.

Jandals have a long history, worn by the Egyptians as early as 4000 BC, as well as by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The modern-day jandal is styled on the Japanese zori that was popular with American soldiers returning home after World War II.

The term ‘jandal’ is, in fact, short for ‘Japanese sandal’, and in New Zealand it really is an integral part of the culture – Kiwis love their jandals, in summer at the beach, but often even in winter, when it feels like every uncovered part of your body is about to freeze off, you’ll see some staunch Kiwi bloke sporting his jandals, seemingly oblivious to the cold despite a somewhat bluish hue around the toe area.

No matter what the rest of your attire, jandals are compulsory beach wear!(© All Rights Reserved)
No matter what the rest of your attire, jandals are compulsory beach wear!
(© All Rights Reserved)

National Jandal Day is a fundraising event for Surf Life Saving – a pretty good cause in a water-locked country made up of two islands, where almost all cities and towns are by the seaside. Funds raised through Jandal Day are used to train life guards, sponsor beach patrols and fund beach safety education programmes delivered to over 40 000 NZ school children each year.

Wherever you are in the world, why not slip on a pair of jandals / flip-flops in support of Jandal Day. Those in some northern hemisphere locations may be well-advised to remain inside with your jandals, to avoid losing a toe or ten through frostbite, but for those of us in the southern half of the world, rocking out in your favourite jandals at this time of year, with work winding down and the summer holidays approaching, is almost compulsory.

Locally, donations can be made by texting “SURF” to 4483 to donate $3 (and you get a song by young artist Jamie McDell for your efforts) or by donating online.

World Oceans Day

It’s World Oceans Day, our annual opportunity to honor the great oceans linking us all, to celebrate what the ocean provides humanity, and also to appreciate its intrinsic value.

World Ocean Day is a day for celebration, but also a day to start spreading the word on the importance of protecting the ocean for future generations
(© All Rights Reserved)

The theme for World Oceans Day 2012 is Youth: the Next Wave for Change, which firstly acknowledges the role the youth plays in the future of the ocean, and secondly reiterates the importance of everyone playing their part in securing the future of the world’s oceans for our youth.

One of the initiatives undertaken as part of this day is “Wear Blue, Tell Two“, an information sharing initiative where everyone is urged to dress in blue and to share with those around us two facts about the protection of the world’s oceans.

So, to do my bit (yes, I’m wearing blue jeans and a blue sweater, I promise!) herewith my two messages about our oceans:

1) The havoc caused by climate change
The ocean absorbs the majority of the heat added to the earth through climate change, resulting in a warmer ocean, which negatively impacts on the coral ecosystem and affects the life cycles of many fish species. This warmer water also decreases upwelling, which means that less nutrients reach the surface water, harming many marine ecosystems. Furthermore, the Poles are melting at an alarming rate, affecting polar marine environments and causing the ocean levels to rise, resulting in the loss of critical coastal habitats. It is also estimated that 10% of the global human population lives below 10m above sea level, which means about 700 million people are directly threatened by a significantly rising sea level. Not a pretty picture… And we haven’t even touched on the impact of the chemical changes in the oceans as a result of increased atmospheric greenhouse gases, or the changes in the ocean currents and the effects this is having on the earth’s climate.
(Source: Five Effects of Climate Change on the Ocean, http://www.conservation.org)

2) What we can do to help
Despite the doom and gloom of my first message, all is not irretrievably lost. Each of us can contribute our little bit to help the environment. By merely living more socially responsibly (recycling, reusing, limiting our carbon footprint) we can help slow global warming, which directly impacts on the wellbeing of our oceans. And there are numerous local and international initiatives we can get involved in. For example:

  • Conservation International runs an initiative called “Save a Mile” where you can make a donation to support initiatives focused on ocean conservation
  • The World Oceans Day website hosts the “Blue Planeteer” awareness drive, where you can volunteer to perform simple online tasks, such as tweeting about World Oceans Day or emailing a blog.

These are just two small online examples – if you live near the sea your local aquarium or nature centre may well have their own initiatives going, so ask around and get involved.

So spread the word on World Ocean Day – wear blue and tell two!