Diversions For Difficult Times

As our community grapples with how to navigate a pandemic and all the disruptions in its wake, things look very different for most of us right now than they did even a week ago. You may be a parent who suddenly has kids at home who still need access to education resources and school meals. Or perhaps you are working from home for the first time and are spending a lot more time alone than you are used to. You might be a caregiver to someone in an at risk demographic, or may be at risk yourself. Your job, your routines, your stress level, and your family are likely impacted in some way. Whatever this moment looks like for you, there is no doubt these are unprecedented times.

The Coastkeeper office is temporarily closed while the staff works remotely to ensure we are doing our part to reduce chances for community spread of COVID-19. We understand that not all workers have this flexibility, so we are taking our ability to do so as a responsibility to do so. We’ve postponed our beach cleanups for a while, we’ve moved meetings into digital spaces, and we are adapting the best we can. Throughout it all, we are continuing to work hard to preserve human and environmental health by protecting clean water, fighting pollution, and advancing climate change mitigation strategies for the San Diego region. We are just doing so from our living rooms, surrounded by pets, while learning how to use Zoom.

It’s hard to avoid being inundated with news of the virus. While it’s absolutely important to stay up to date as new policies roll out and new data emerges that will help us protect ourselves and each other, there also may come a time when you find a diversion is in order.

In that spirit, the Coastkeeper staff has gathered up some of our favorite environmentally minded podcasts, books, tasks, and other recommendations, which we humbly offer to you should you be in search of something else to occupy your mind for a bit. If you have anything to add, feel free to use the comments to do so.

Staff Attorney Patrick McDonough recommends a podcast.

“The episode ‘How to stay zen in an ocean of plastics‘ from the One Ocean podcast has a lot of tips for how to keep a calm mind when faced with a daunting, globally scaled challenge. One thing it focuses on is courage, which I think applies to our current situation with COVID-19 as well. It takes courage to stay home and do what’s right despite reaaaally wanting to go out into the world. This is a good podcast in general, but this episode in particular really resonates right now. If you really like that one, another great episode is How an Australian surfer led Harvard to go green.’”


Education Manager Erika Bjorkquist recommends catching up on environmentally minded projects.

I have a ton of jars I’ve been intending to repurpose as food storage containers, but I haven’t gotten around to prepping them yet. I plan to soak them to remove all of the labels, weigh them and etch the tare into the glass or write it on the lid, and get them ready to be filled with leftovers, bulk goods, pickles, and more. I also have a bunch of old climbing rope that I’m planning to use to make upcycled dog toys. I love dreaming up projects like this but I don’t always feel I have the time to implement them. Staying in in the evenings gives me the opportunity to do so.”


Education Specialist Shannon Subers recommends a cute video, a compelling book, and an important podcast.

“Here’s a cute thing that happened at the Shedd Aquarium… they’re letting the penguins explore the aquarium since it is closed due to the virus. It’s truly delightful. Check it out hereOn a completely non-virus note, I recommend the book Deep by James Nestor, which is all about freediving and humans’ draw to the oceans. You can also do your part to support local businesses by picking it up at a San Diego bookstore like The Book Catapult, which has it in stock. I’ve also really been getting into the podcast Outside Voices, which talks about representation of POC in outdoor recreation.” 


Programs Director Kristin Kuhn (hey, that’s me) recommends a book.

“Okay so, full disclosure, I just got this book so I haven’t read it yet. But next on my list is The Falcon Thief by Joshua Hammer, which follows the story of a man who makes his (illicit) living stealing, smuggling, and selling wild falcon eggs, and the detective who tries to stop him. I first came across this story via an article in Outside Magazine called “The Egg Thief,” written by the author of the book. It’s a wild, bizarre, compelling, frustrating story of wildlife poaching and human obsession. With the wildlife trade under a global spotlight right now as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it also feels well timed.”

We will add more recommendations to this page and the rest of the staff responds to my email! (Nudge nudge)

~ Kristin